By the numbers

Yesterday was the membership sign-up deadline for the federal Liberal leadership race. According to The Toronto Star's Linda Diebel, the party "isn't expected to release the results (of that membership drive) for a couple weeks." But, according to our operatives, in British Columbia the number of Lotusland Liberals stood at 19,665 last night - with some counting still remaining. That means there's been at least 10,000 sign-ups since mid-June, when the party's West coast membership was 9,515. Meanwhile, there's much talk that Gerard Kennedy and Bob Rae's campaigns are the sign-up leaders in this province. Although such musings have been pooh-poohed by their competitors.

21 Comments

I heard Iggy didn't get above the 500 mark in BC. The bizarre timing on that Sukh Dhaliwal endorsement makes a little more sense now. Maybe signing new members up to the party is a sacred cow Iggy wants to kill.

Interesting about all these "new members". How many of them will be actually participating in the leadership process? Since the delegate selection process is a "bus them in" excercise
and only a few actually are accredited to go.

The federal Liberals don't have a one member one vote system.

How many will actually volunteer in the next federal election?

How many will be wanting to volunteer to phone and to drag signs through the mud to put those up?

Not many.

guess the bc cats weren't easy herders for iggy. Iggy certainly isnt doing as well as the media seems to think, but 500 could be a figure to intentionally earn themselves some underestimation. Iggy did better than that, be sure of it, and his rural voters give him stronger delegate potential. All the more motivation to battle harder.

Looks like kennedy's guys signed up over 4200 people. His Indo organizers Prem Vinning, Jatinder Sidhu, Amar Randhawa, Parm Bains and his Chinese crew lead by Raymond Chan did all out organizing

Rae's guys Ujjal Dosanjh, Herb Dhaliwal signed over 3000. Mason Loh helped with the chinese community.

Iggy had a very late start and Dion was no where to be seen

Bah! Lies.

Looks like Ignatieff's guys signed up over 4200 people. His Anglo-Saxon organizers John Adams, Skip Williams, Nancy O'Reilly, Trevor Owen and his Southern European crew led by Chip Martina did all out organizing.

Hey Sean maybe you can get the exact numbers from Kim Haakstad's replacement. It's none other than Mark Grant, the EA to Shirley Bond!

the reason iggy announced Sukh on the day of the cut off was to draw attention away from the reality that his bc effort has come up flat in terms of new recruitment and everything else.

based on your information Sean, it appears that BC has become a race between Kennedy and Rae.

"The federal Liberals don't have a one member one vote system.

How many will actually volunteer in the next federal election?"

Posted by Gritman on July 5, 2006 05:51 PM

You're absolutely right. I am particularly puzzled why the Liberals are going with an old-fashioned delegated Leadership Convention when every other party is trying to get beyond that, to something more along the lines of "participatory democracy", to borrow a line form the late Pierre E. Trudeau.

Your second question is just as good. These are instant bulk members, Basi-style memberships or Dosanjh-style memberships if you will. Just read the contributions of the other posters, they are all people from various immigrant communities who have been signed up by ambitious men who are labour contractors by day and political contractors by night. If the Liberals are "Canada's Party" as they like to say, then Tammany Hall is Canada's model political organization. According to the Liberals that is.

When one gets right down to it, just what has a academic who spent most of his life in the glorious US of A suddenly get the urge to run for the leadership of the Liberal party?

From the little I've read about the guy, he should be more comfortable in the Harper gang. It's unfortunate in our poliical system that since buying votes with a drink or two, is no longer standard practice, one buys instant members. It's not just the Liberals playing the game, other parties seem to do the same.

Let the games continue but if the Libs don't get their spit together soon we will end up being part of George Bushe's team

Anyone who is a party member in BC knows that Dion is really really strong out here too. Clearly Kennedy, Rae, and Dion are all very strong, and going to take most of the BC delegate spots.

But, I have heard Volpe was suprisingly good at sign-ups too, even without Sukh Dhaliwal.

And that the rumoured 500ish Ignatieff campaign sign-ups above are true. Maybe lower. But, he doesn't really need BC anyway - he is doing fine in Central Canada.

what happened to Marissen's machine? Dion was a utter failure in membership signups in BC. I guess when you burn so many bridges, its bound to catch up.

DL said: "When one gets right down to it, just what has a academic who spent most of his life in the glorious US of A suddenly get the urge to run for the leadership of the Liberal party?"

You should realize that Iggy spent only 4-5 years in the US when he was teachign at Harvard. Most of the time was spent teaching and reporting around the world.

One member one vote systems are the most easily open to fraud ( family pets voting over the phone, pin fraud, dead poeple voting) and provide the most boring, uninspiring conventions. Bottom line is that some institions in Canada are worth maintaining. Delegated conventions are one of them.

The Liberals are smart to keep their delegated convention. Besides, there is nothing wrong with recruiting new people to a political party, regardless of their ethnic background. How else do you get someone meaningfully engaged in our democracy? Not everyone can afford to sit around a university poly sci classroom and listen to some professor pontificate.

As i understand it everyone who shows up at a Liberal riding meeting must be a member in good standing and must show a valid piece of government id to be able to vote.

Besides, most conservatives wish they had "conserved" their delegated system as well. Unfortunately for them they threw it all away in order to get the reformers back in the tent.

"One member one vote systems are the most easily open to fraud ( family pets voting over the phone, pin fraud, dead poeple voting) and provide the most boring, uninspiring conventions."


Depends on how its set. The Conservatives had used a one member one vote system twice, and did not use pin numbers, but rather a system close to the same system used in elections (i.e. identification required, signatures and member verification.

It worked pretty well compared to the old pin number system used by the federal Liberals.

With good proper controls equating that used in federal elections but adopted for the party system, it can work very well.

"Bottom line is that some institions in Canada are worth maintaining. Delegated conventions are one of them."

Disagree. If there's going to be encouragement for people to join the party there must be a better way for them to have a say in what direction the party goes and that includes election of the leader. Otherwise it's a waste of effort since only a few who make it through the power plays at the delegate selection meetings and have $3500 to throw around can go.

Granted the one member one vote system does produce a snazzy spectacle on the CBC or CTV as does the traditional conventions, but the priority should be to widen the means for ordinary members to get involved.

Most non party people don't sit through an entire
afternoon watching a political convention anyway.


Dion and Volpe are tied for 3rd behind Kennedy and Ray.

{Iggy spent only 4-5 years in the US when he was teaching at Harvard. Most of the time was spent teaching and reporting around the world}.
Sorry to show my ignorance as to where the guy had spent most of his working life. Somewhere else it seems.But since the news says today that Volpe is coming on strong and your guy Iggy is the one to beat. Might get interesting as Steve Harper, Georges new friend are doing kissy kissy down in Washington, for the Liberals to get someone in the group that the party members can support. My God, I've lived through Dief who shut down the aviation industry by scrapping the arrow, and buying nukes, even against the advice of the military,and most everyone else. Joe Clarke who had trouble counting his caucus and made the mistake of believing people would accept a sharp increase in gas prices, and Lying Brian the crooner with Regan who really got us into some messes. Let's see a combined opposition to this latest character. Steve what's his name,

"I've lived through Dief who shut down the aviation industry by scrapping the arrow, and buying nukes, even against the advice of the military,and most everyone else. Joe Clarke who had trouble counting his caucus and made the mistake of believing people would accept a sharp increase in gas prices, and Lying Brian the crooner with Regan who really got us into some messes. Let's see a combined opposition to this latest character. Steve what's his name,"

You obviously lived through the delightful years of excessive spending by the Trudeau government,
the National Energy Program, Six And Five, the insanely huge budgets, the regular strikes by the postal workers, the excessive patronage..

What a legacy our party has.

Who would want to go back to all that junk?

Time for someone new.


Yes I got stuck with six and five as so many others got stuck. My pension shows it. I am interested in your comment about those awful postal strikes. After leaving the military I ended up working for Canada Post. My military pension after 22 years was pretty small. The place Lying Brian Mulrony scabbed. The union I belongs to had one strike in 19 years.
Patronage is still alive and well. who took the latest per dieum increases? All MP's that's who. Who is setting up a system to have each new employee go visit Ottawa at tax payers costs to have a look at the place. Harper isn't about to change many old practices, just like Manning was never going to get a taxpayer paid haircut, or live in Federal digs, nor allow his folks to do pensions. You forgot to mention Trudeau and the guy who started unification way back when. But even Deif didn't suck up to the US of A as Steve Harper has been doing.

Unfortunately, your numbers are flawed because of two facts:

1) Not every membership form that is submitted is a new member, many of them are renewals.
2) Does that count online membership forms?

" ... Might get interesting as Steve Harper, Georges new friend are doing kissy kissy down in Washington, for the Liberals to get someone in the group that the party members can support. My God, I've lived through Dief who shut down the aviation industry by scrapping the arrow, and buying nukes, even against the advice of the military,and most everyone else. Joe Clarke who had trouble counting his caucus and made the mistake of believing people would accept a sharp increase in gas prices, and Lying Brian the crooner with Regan who really got us into some messes. Let's see a combined opposition to this latest character. Steve what's his name,"

Posted by DL on July 6, 2006 08:24 PM

Here is the kind of tired argument one tends to get from far too many Liberal partisans. It's really a kind of formula driven rant that they believe acts as a substitute for having anything real on offer. You see a lot of this kind of thing on Rabble.ca/babble where the resident Liberals are always peddling the Jim Laxer line from the recent Walrus piece, that the NDP was too hard on the poor little Natural Governing Party during the last election, and now look what you've done!

Talk about pathetic, the mighty have fallen might far to be resorting to arguments like these.

Memo to Budd Cambell. "Here is the kind of tired argument one tends to get from far too many Liberal partisans. " If you are trying to slag me I can tell you that I'm not a Liberal, but would rather vote for the Rhino party that Conservative/Reform?Alliance. and as it was how in the last election, the majority of Canadians seem to have the same sort of opinion. Let's see how the next one turns out, eh.

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