This weekend, over 3,000 Liberals are gathering in Ottawa to vote on a new Party president and executive, debate constitutional amendments, and discuss ways on how to make Liberalism relevant in Canada again.
While party members reconnect, debate, and ponder, millions of other progressive Canadians will be shoveling snow, driving their kids to hockey, gathering at coffee shops, paying a visit to their house of worship, and some may even pick up a newspaper or visit a website to read what is taking place in the nation’s capital.
Some will care. Most will not.
Ever since I joined the Liberal Party, I have quietly complained (and with some embarrassment) about how complicated the entire political party process was. In addition, I have often wondered why most people seemed content with accepting the status quo - a detached and out of reach political apparatus that merely speaks of reaching out to the grassroots, the average Canadian, yet does very little to actually engage them.
If Liberals are really serious about renewal, all of this will change.
This weekend, Liberals have a unique opportunity to make the Liberal Party of Canada matter again, and this involves (like it or not) becoming more accessible to average voters. With one vote, delegates can effectively offer Canadians a chance to have a meaningful voice in the affairs of the party and more importantly, in the choice of Canada’s next Liberal leader.
In addition to issues of fundraising, choosing attractive candidates, taking policy positions, and choosing what it is we actually stand for, Liberals must first do one simple thing before we are relevant again: stop pretending that the only people with answers are those currently in Ottawa.