Filed under: Democratizing the Liberal Party
1. The Martin Campaign’s decision to exclude, as much as possible, new party members in 2003. It worked great for their campaign; it was a long-term mistake for the party. It prevented new members from entering who then help shape party renewal at policy conventions.
2. The Martin Campaign’s attempts to eliminate all potential leadership opponents. Liberal MPs were actually told that only MPs in ridings that elected 100% Martin delegates would be considered for any appointments. Preventing new members prevented party renewal; pushing out opponents prevented the grooming of potential candidates to replace Paul Martin. And that’s exactly what happened in the next leadership race – there were no candidates that large sections of the party could really, really warm up to.
3. The Purge that took place after Martin won. To be clear, all new leaders do this. Trudeau did it, Turner did it and Chretien did it too. But former leaders did it where it was necessary; where someone could be an asset and would clearly be loyal they were kept. But the Martin Camp got giddy with their purge and pushed out all sorts of people who would clearly be loyal to Martin and could win ridings for the Liberals. Those ridings are no longer Liberal. I think a decade of being the runt of the litter made these people explode once it was their turn to run the party. It was sheer madness.
4. The Gomery Inquiry! Absolutely nothing productive or useful resulted from that inquiry. Nothing. All it did was taint the Liberal Party.
5. Disloyalty to Dion. All leaders face disloyalty and how they handle it demonstrates their leadership abilities. But the disloyalty to Dion was of a particular kind that was ruinous to the Liberal Party. You see, those who were disloyal to Dion in most cases felt justified because Dion was a mistake. These people did everything they could to undermine Dion so that the mistake could then be fixed. And the reason they thought it was a mistake was because the establishment of the Party never supported Dion in his successful leadership bid. It was the grassroots who put Dion into power and it was the grassroots, in the opinion of our precious establishment, that made the mistake. All their disloyalty was doing was trying to fix the mistake.
6. Ignatieff, but enough said on that.