I have rarely been a member of any political party, at least until last year when I realized what wonderful work Elizabeth May was doing on behalf of all Canadians and so I joined the Green Party. But that was last year. As of this month I am no longer a Green Party member.
Elizabeth May is still amazing but she needs help. She can’t save us alone. Our country and our environment need help. Most importantly, right now until March 3rd we have a very unique opportunity to offer that help but we all need to get on board. Rick Mercer perhaps says it best, with levity, in his rant about the Liberal Leadership Race:
What Rick Mercer doesn’t talk about is the benefits for Canada in supporting Joyce Murray’s campaign as it fits well with the urgent care that Canada needs for our democracy, sustainability and stewardship of the environment. I’m pretty new to this whole political scene as an activist. More on that is coming in future posts but right now I’m motivated and excited by what Joyce Murray is offering up by way of creating some real change for Canada.
Many of us already know that our democratic system is not representing Canadians well enough. That Stephen Harper could have been elected as Prime Minister of Canada with a majority government with less than 40% of the popular vote, and with less than 23% of those eligible to vote actually voting for him, is just wrong. The system needs to change and it needs to change fast before this government, or quite frankly, any other government with a minority-earned-majority continues to follow the self interest of so few, ignoring the need for a more just, sustainable and equitable society.
As Rick Mercer says, this may well be a one time opportunity. Sure, one needs to sign up to the Liberal Party, but only as a supporter. One does not need to join and it costs no money. Any one of us can still be free to join any party after the Liberal Leadership election. To be eligible as a supporter one only needs to meet very limited criteria. This includes the following:
- either be a member of the Party or
- (a) be at least 18 years of age;
- (b) support the purposes of the Party;
- (c) be qualified as an elector who may vote in accordance with part 11 of the Canada Elections Act or ordinarily lives in Canada; and
- (d) not be a member of any other federal political party in Canada.
The Liberal Party purposes are a little less clear. The web site for registering asks one to agree to what is essentially the preamble of the Liberal Party of Canada constitution. It states the following principles but I had to assume they are the purposes I am required to agree to:
The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to the view that the dignity of each individual man and woman is the cardinal principle of democratic society and the primary purpose of all political organization and activity in such a society.
The Liberal Party of Canada is dedicated to the principles that have historically sustained the Party: individual freedom, responsibility and human dignity in the framework of a just society, and political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all persons. The Liberal Party is bound by the constitution of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is committed to the pursuit of equality of opportunity for all persons, to the enhancement of our unique and diverse cultural community, to the recognition that English and French are the official languages of Canada, and to the preservation of the Canadian identity in a global society.
In accordance with this philosophy, the Liberal Party of Canada subscribes to the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons under the rule of law and commits itself to the protection of these essential values and their constant adaptation to the changing needs of modern Canadian society.
The Liberal Party of Canada recognizes that human dignity in a democratic system requires that all citizens have access to full information concerning the policies and leadership of the Party; the opportunity to participate in open and public assessment of such means, and such modifications of policies and leadership as they deem desirable to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and general well-being of Canadians.
To realize this objective, the Liberal Party of Canada strives to provide a flexible and democratic structure whereby all Canadians can obtain such information, participate in such assessment and militate for such reform through open communications, free dialogue and participatory action both electoral and non-electoral. This Constitution sets forth the institutions, systems and procedures by which the Liberal Party of Canada, in co-operation with its provincial and territorial associations and electoral district associations, works to implement these ideas on behalf of all its members.
In my opinion, these are pretty general and vague. They aren’t hard at all for me to support as the basis for a civil and democratic society.
As per my previous blog post, I have withdrawn my membership from the Federal Green Party and am now registered as a supporter for the purpose of voting in the Liberal Party Leadership Election. At this time I believe that I will be supporting Joyce Murray, and only Joyce Murray, as leader. I’m taking this vote very seriously and so am also doing the ground work to really, really research who Joyce Murray is, what she stands for, and whether or not she deserves my vote. In fact I’m learning everything I can about all of the candidates and I will be voting for the candidate who I think will put my concerns at the forefront. I want a Liberal Leader who understands that we need to oust Stephen Harper first and foremost; a leader who understands that the politics of our diverse nation has to be about cooperation, not just now but forever down the road. I want a leader who understands that we need electoral reform so that we will never again have a minority-elected-majority. I want a leader who cares about our environment and about sustainability, and yes about economic development but not at the expense of the health of our citizens and not solely for the benefit of the corporations. I want a leader who is honestly respectful of diversity including our First Nations. Someone who values women. So far, the only candidate in the running who seems to be the kind of leader that I can support is Joyce Murray.
As a newbie to this world, I’m going to keep on blogging so as to report on what I’m learning. If you have video clips or articles I should check out to help me in my research, please comment and let me know. I’d appreciate your comments and opinions. Even more, I’d love for you to get involved if you aren’t already. Please join me in being a liberal supporter. Help make a difference.