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Warning: More internal Liberal stuff – OYL Beyond forms.

As you know, I endorsed the OYL Roots slate in a blogpost a few days ago when discussing the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Hamilton and the scheduled elections for the Ontario Young Liberals. I find it only fair to mention that the rival slate has formed their own group, and it’s called OYL Beyond. They also have a Facebook group you can check out.

I said before I was endorsing the OYL Roots group because I liked their statement about taking the OYL back to a time where it had more autonomy and it was aggressive in pushing forth policy endorsements that the main Liberal Party may not have come around to if it wasn’t for the Young Liberals being very aggressive and very progressive (ie on same-sex marriage and opposing joining the US missile defence system). I’m going to be gently critical of the OYL Beyond group here and say I find their mission statement to be in contrast with the OYL Roots folks very general and very vague and a bit fluffy. I mean, it’s great you had an amazing Summer Fling in North Bay, but I’d kind of like to hear a bit more substance then that.

I also take issue with some OYL Beyond supporters coming here and elsewhere saying that the OYL Roots group is “negative” and going “backwards”. With regards to the “backwards” charge, it isnít going “backward” in my view, they wish to go “back” to the days when they were an effective organization at having their voices heard on policy. As for being “negative”, there’s nothing negative about pointing out how things used to be and how they feel things were better at that time then they are now. Ironically, I’d say that charging the OYL Roots group with going “backwards” is being “negative”.

With all that said, I have a word of advice to both groups in the OYL, for what it’s worth. Don’t get too publicly bitter with your rivals, win or lose, because you’ll have to work with each other after the elections. We don’t need a carbon copy of internal squabbling as has been the case at times in the big party, when the goal is to beat Harper. Both slates need to remember that, particularly when there is the possibility that you’ll have a mixture of the 2 slates elected to the various positions.

Layton making overtures to Dion on Afghanistan position.

Well now, this is an interesting turn of events. Rather then bash the Liberals over their Afghanistan position, Jack Layton and the NDP have decided diplomacy is the better way to go, and are making overtures to Dion and appealing to him to support their opposition to not extend the Afghanistan mission:

NDP Leader Jack Layton made a personal appeal to the federal Liberals on Wednesday, urging them to accept his proposal to put an end to Canada’s military combat mission in Afghanistan. Layton spoke briefly to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion outside the Commons to convince him not to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s efforts to extend the mission beyond […]

Keep sticking to your position, Stephane.

So, there’s been all sorts of media stories today about how the Liberal position on Afghanistan is now muddled and how there is supposedly is infighting amongst the Liberals over what position to take. Not surprisingly, those assertions come from the National Post and Chantal Hebert.

However, Mr. Dion has come out and denied there is any change in the Liberal position on Afghanistan:

Stephane Dion says the Liberals will not budge from their insistence that Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan end as scheduled in February 2009. “No, no,” the Liberal leader said flatly when asked if his deadline for ending the mission is negotiable. “The combat mission must end […]

On being too clever by half.

Ok, maybe it’s just my biased self thinking this, but it appears those of a more objective nature are thinking the same thing, if not outright saying it: I think the strategy to bring Health Minister Tony Clement in after Linda Keen testified about the circumstances of her firing from the Nuclear Safety Board totally backfired.

Keen was as sharp as a tack and very knowledgeable with her replies, while Clement just droned on the same tired-out and overused line the Conservatives have used about “needing to save lives” and looked clueless when cross-examined by the Opposition. I think this is a case of some PMO Conservative strategists concocting up […]

The Canadian military is still obviously ticked at Harper.

I don’t think its been even 24 hrs before “sources” – no doubt in the military – leaked this to the Globe and Mail:

The Canadian Forces are holding insurgent detainees at their Kandahar Air Force base rather than turning them over to Afghan authorities, are taking fewer prisoners and are quickly releasing some of them. The information, provided to The Globe and Mail by sources, answers questions about Canada’s new policy for handling detainees that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other ministers repeatedly refused to provide Monday, citing the need for combat operational secrecy.

I guess the military either doesn’t think that this thing needs to be kept a secret, or else there are still quite a few angry military folks over Sandra Buckler’s comments that no one from the Armed Forces informed the government of the change in detainee policy of not handing them over to the Afghanistan authorities. The best part of this whole schmozzle: Harper is quoted in the House yesterday as saying he will “never” say how many prisoners are kept or where they are kept. Well, a day later, we now know where they are. It’ll be interesting to see if these same sources are angry enough to say how many prisoners we’ve got as well.

[email protected]:23am: Cam from Peterborough Politics (and indirectly Jack Layton) make a great point in the comments section:

Jack Layton pointed that out best yesterday…when he read that press release from the United States Government, which announced how many they had detained in Afghanistan that day, where they were captured and where they were being held. If the Bush Administration feels that itís alright for his citizens to know these things, then what possible reason would the Harper Administration think that they could keep these kinds of things from Canadians?

The Bush administration, which hasn’t exactly been known during its reign of being forthright and open with information, is releasing more information about this then the Harper Conservative government is? That’s not a very high standard to meet, and even the Conservative government is failing to meet it. As another of my commentators, Mark from Section 15 says in comments as well:

Harper’s claim of need for secrecy is nothing but an excuse to avoid discussing the underlying issues. Big suprise there.

No, it isn’t a big surprise. I believe the military folks have seen they are being used as pawns in this political game, and have decided enough is enough.

I’m checking that blogpost twice to make sure I read it right..

Jason Cherniak and I don’t agree on everything when it comes to policy and strategy where it pertains to the Liberal Party. I think it would be fair to say Jason is on the centre-right for the majority of issues in the Liberal party, while I’m definitely on the centre-left (that is my perception of our views on certain things). Jason also is much more connected to the Liberal Party insiders, whereas I still would be looked at as one of those people as almost observing from the outside, and one of those “irritating bloggers” to boot.

However, judging from his title, even if he kind of doesn’t come out […]

An endorsement of the OYL Roots movement.

Despite my “conversion” to a Liberal in December 2006, and taking out a Liberal Party membership, I really still haven’t gotten involved in the internal goings-on of the party. I know a lot of the people involved in the workings of the party, but I still feel like an observer looking in, rather then being involved in the internal politics of the Liberal Party (which to be honest is probably a good thing). I don’t often talk about aforementioned internal Liberal Party goings-on, because the people who find it interesting is probably a small number, and it hasn’t interested me, to put it bluntly, and there are other Liberal blogs who you can visit if that sort of stuff excites you.

I’m going to change that up a bit today and talk a bit about a bit of a movement going on in the youth wing of the Liberal Party – specifically amongst the Ontario Young Liberals (OYL). There is going to be an Annual General Meeting in Hamilton very shortly, and it involves amongst other things electing candidates to the various positions of the OYL. That movement I was talking about earlier that has formed to put forth a slate of candidates is called OYL Roots. Their website is still in the early formative stages, but this section here should explain why this group has formed and is putting up candidates for election:

Before many of us were involved with the Ontario Young Liberals, the OYL was much different. Instead of being subordinate to the senior parties, we were partners. The OYL Roots team wants to get back to that relationship. Back in the day, the OYL had a voice, we used it, and the senior party listened. We fought for progressive policies and ensured that they were present in our partyís platform and implemented once in government. The Young Liberals are responsible for many of Canadaís most forward thinking initiatives. When same-sex marriage was a taboo subject that few people would touch, we stood up and fought for it. When ballistic missile defense was about to become a reality, we made our voice heard and argued against it. We advocated aid to Africa, championed environmental reform and pressured senior levels of government to decriminalize marijuana. These are some of the Young Liberalsí proudest moments. Together, we can return to these days.

More from their Facebook group:

Simply put, we want change. We want to bring the OYL back to its roots, when it was a progressive, forward-thinking collective that challenged the status quo instead of conforming to it. The OYL used to be a force for positive change not only in Ontario, but across the country and at all levels of the Party. We can be so again.

As I said, I’m not totally immersed in the internal workings or goings-on of the Liberal Party, particularly the youth wing, but I remember well those resolutions on same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana by the youth wing, and I was (at the time a left-leaning not part of any party voter) impressed. This group says the OYL has strayed from that position of pushing for forward-thinking progressive policies and is instead conforming to whatever the main party advocates. I don’t know if thats true or not, but if it is, the Liberal party needs to have some prodding and pushing from those on the progressive side of the spectrum within the party that want to challenge the party with new ideas. It’s never a good thing when a party’s ideas and philosophy gets stale, so a little poking internally is a good thing.

Also, I look at the slate of candidates, and while I don’t know all of them personally, there are a few I have an association with from their blogging, and who I believe are pretty smart and thoughtful folks. Specifically, those would be Justin Tetreault, Danielle Takacs (both whom still blog) and Zac Spicer. I think these folks and people of like mind and ability on their slate would be very able persons to help run the OYL. I haven’t always agreed with them on certain positions they’ve taken (electoral reform in Ontario comes to mind), but overall, I like the positions they’ve advocated, and I think they and their OYL Roots team would do some good things for the OYL if elected.

As I said, advocating progressive ideas to a centrist party sometimes afraid to rock the boat is a good thing. At the very least, having ideas brought up to debate and discuss is a good thing. Therefore, for what it’s worth, I endorse the OYL Roots group and applaud their efforts in seeking reform to the OYL. I can’t vote for their slate of course, but there will be a lot of Liberals who read this blog (or at least read this piece through the Liblogs aggregate) that can, and I urge you to consider well the reasoning behind the formation of this group, as well as the quality of the candidates, and support this slate when the AGM in Hamilton happens.

Reflections on a Sunday evening

I saw 2 “reality TV” shows that made me kind of sad for the folks who appeared on them, and the many more like them.

The first one was on the popular TV game show “Deal Or No Deal this past Friday. The contestant is a young woman from Kentucky who is about to graduate out of college. She auditioned for the show and was accepted because she wanted to win the million dollars (or whatever the best deal was she could get) so she’d be able to buy health insurance so she and her husband (who was in the military) could afford to start a family. She was […]

Want to quiz John Manley? Here’s your chance – he’s on at 4 pm on the radio.

Would you like to ask Mr Manley why his final analysis in his Afghanistan Panel report seems to mirror every conclusion he came to when he wrote a policy report as a private citizen back in October? Would you like to ask why no one who was critical of the current mission in Afghanistan allowed on the panel, or various other disturbing questions that seem to indicate the outcome was a fait accompli?

Well, thanks to Jennifer Smith at Runesmith’s Canadian Content for passing along the info that John Manley will be on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup and taking calls at 4 pm EST today. I suggest if any of […]

Issues to campaign on.

Just a followup to my last post – if the Liberals want to list issues to campaign on and to give as reasons to go to the polls and bring the government down now, here is a good list supplied by my friend Jimbobby, which I liked so much I’ve made it into a posting (shortened a bit):

– A PM that continually lies to Canadians and to Parliament is a winning issue to go on. – Ministerial incompetence in multiple ministries is a winning issue to go on. – Embarrassment of Canada on the world stage is a winning issue to go on. – Canada blindly propping up […]

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