A tale of two conventions

For political junkies, it’s either a dream or a nightmare: two conventions, almost two thousand kilometres apart, for both the government and Official Opposition parties. How do you keep track of all the tweets, decide which speeches to watch and when? Will CPAC simulcast in split-screen?

In Winnipeg, thousands of Liberals are gathering to debate matters of policy and the party constitution. In Vancouver, thousands of Conservatives are doing the same. That’s where the similarities end. When one looks at what’s on the table at each event, some clear distinctions emerge in terms of the direction — and the challenges — facing both organizations. And the decisions delegates make could have a big impact on their parties’ chances in the next election, and beyond.

From an organizational standpoint, the two parties are moving in very different directions. The Liberals are proposing to open up their party on the membership front, building on the free ‘supporter’ category they test-drove during their leadership race three years ago. Under the party’s proposed new constitution, ‘committed Liberals’ would be able to register without paying a membership fee. Conventions would be open to all, as opposed to selected delegates, and participation online would be encouraged. And the 18 constitutions of the party’s various subgroups, such as women and youth, would be scrapped in favour of one umbrella constitution.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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