Last weekend, I threw my hat back into the political arena. Not as a candidate, but as a delegate representing my riding of Westmount/Ville Marie (which I think is now called Westmount/NDG) at the National Liberal Policy Convention here in Montreal.
Basically it can be explained like this.
It's a biennial convention, so Liberals have two years to debate various policy proposals in each riding. Each riding then chooses which are priorities and they present these in their regional meetings. Here they are debated again, reworded, rejected, amended, etc. and presented again (some, not all) to a provincial meeting of Liberals. They go through the same process yet again, and then these proposals go to the national meeting, the one I attended.
All of the policy proposals from across Canada end up at this national convention. The proposed policies also originate from four other commissions - Aboriginals, Seniors, Women and Youth. (So I can vote for issues concerning women as well, and seniors when I reach the age of 65.)
At the convention we discussed, debated and voted on about 100 or so policy resolutions, from fracking to daycare to transportation reform and so on.
We prioritized that further, voting for the top two in every category and ended up on the fourth day in a plenary session with 32 policy resolutions.
These final 32 now become official party policies. They are expected to be supported by every Liberal MP and the leader, Justin Trudeau, in the next election. The rest of the policies (70-something) are still on the table, and members can adopt those as well. History has shown that most if not all will be represented.
How cool is that?
So the next time you're tempted to complain about how your community is run, join your local party, any party, and get involved. You CAN make a difference.
I also wanted to listen to our new leader, Justin Trudeau. I was really pleased to hear his vision for Canada, and that he is also tired of the negativity we've all grown so weary of. I like him. I used to work for his father's principal secretary, and I remember when he was born, so it was really a bittersweet moment to see him standing on stage and addressing the 3,000 attendees. I left feeling there really is renewed hope for this country.
And in other news... My mother phoned to say she saw my picture in the Toronto Star. Unfortunately it was me holding up my voting card in support of the dying with dignity policy. Why couldn't it have been for better daycare? Or support for bees?