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Ontario Young Liberals: Want free booze and free hotel accommodations for yourself and your friends?

…well then, apparently all you have to do is vote for the “OYL Beyond” slate of candidates at the Hamilton AGM, as detailed by Jamie Callingham over at his blog. Heck, you don’t even have to be an Ontario Young Liberal to go: as long as you’re friends of any OYL’ers who go to this party, you get to go too -as long as you vote for their slate.

Background Info: What Jamie is showing is the invite he got in his email making him aware of a Facebook group that got put up. I should make it clear that Jamie has endorsed the OYL Roots candidates slate – the rival candidate slate of that wishes to reform some of the OYL’s processes, as well as make it less subordinate to the Ontario Liberal Party.

This Facebook group was put up a couple of days ago. It was public for a few hours, and then it got changed to “hidden” so only invited people would see it. However, before it was hidden, and alerted to the fact of its existence, screen captures were taken of this group at Facebook, and someone involved in OYL politics was kind enough to send them to me. I thought I’d post some of what was found here (you’ll need to click on the screenshot images twice to get the full screen view):

screencap3.JPG screencapkerr.JPG screencap2.JPG

A real drunkfest by the looks of it. The interesting thing about this is that one Shawn Kerr is an invited guest and that according to these captures, he’s confirmed his attendance at this event. I’m told that Shawn Kerr is the current OYL Policy Director. I’ve also been told he’s a supporter of the “OYL Beyond” slate of candidates. He did not make this Facebook group, but he not only is aware of it, and confirmed he’s attending it, he’s listed as the contact person with his email address being listed for further details. That would mean to me he was not only condoning this event, but helping with its organization. You’ll note that at least 100 people were invited to this “event” at the time of the screen capture, and before it was hidden from public view. Who knows how many more have been invited since.

And what is the actual event we’re talking here? Why, its the Hamilton AGM, where the voting on these candidates will take place. Further to that, I was a bit puzzled by the “bring your friends” part of this thing. I mean, I could understand why the organizers of this would want to entice OYL’ers to this shindig – they’d be crucial votes at the AGM, but why invite “friends”?

Well, I asked around to my Liberal acquaintances who are knowledgeable about the workings of the OYL, and I’m told anyone under the age of 26 can sign up to be an OYL member and go vote at the AGM as long as they take out a federal or provincial Liberal membership before March 3rd and find a friendly riding President willing to appoint them as a delegate. The jist of all this is that each riding President gets a certain # of delegates, and if they go unfilled after a certain meeting, the riding presidents can fill the vacancies with whoever they want as long as they are a Liberal member in good standing; the members don’t even have to be from their own riding.

So basically, this appears to be asking OYL members who are “OYL Beyond” supporters to bring out their friends, and with the incentive of free booze and hotel rooms, get them signed up as “instant Liberals”, put them in as delegates, and tell them to vote for the slate that the organizers want them to – which is in this instance the OYL Beyond slate.

In essence, what these folks are saying is this:

“I know you don’t care about politics. Shawn’s candidate team that he supports is in a bit of trouble though. Come out for a free weekend. We’ll pay for your hotel and delegate fees and booze. All you have to do is vote for who we tell you to.”

Lovely. I thought that vote-buying (and vote-buying with liquor) had vanished from Canada with the advent of the secret ballot here, but apparently not. I’m also curious about where exactly is the money coming from to pay for all this free booze and free hotel rooms. I am told that delegate fees alone for the AGM are $60 per person. If all 100 people who were “invited’ in this Facebook group went, you’re looking at around $6,000, not including the free hotel rooms or the liquor. I’m not up on how the OYL apportions money or finances for this type of thing, or if this money the OYL Beyond slate has, or what. If someone would like to clear that up, I’m all ears.

Does the OYL current leadership and/or the OYL Beyond candidate slate support this type of activity? Will they disavow and condemn this blatant vote-buying with free booze?

In Crashing The Gate, a book written by Marcos Moulitisias of the very popular American liberal blog Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong of MYDD.com, It details how “ineffective, incompetent, and antiquated the Democratic Party establishment has become, and how it has failed to adapt and respond to new realities and challenges.” It talks about how the grassroots/netroots can challenge the politics-as-usual crowd. I’d suggest to all who read this that it sounds like from what I’ve seen that the OYL could use a crashing of their gates and a changing of how things are usually done.

UPDATE: Apparently the screen caps weren’t expanding for some people. That should be fixed now.

11 comments to Ontario Young Liberals: Want free booze and free hotel accommodations for yourself and your friends?

  • Of course, the senior party does that, always has, always will, especially when things like leadership or AGM elections are at stake. Now, I’m not saying they bus them in and then they walk in and vote and leave, but they definitely get stacked at delegate meetings. And lots of people get help paying for transportation and hotels and fundraising for delegate fees. All perfectly legal and above board.

    It’s just more subtle. They call it "organizing", or "getting out the vote." But, seriously Scott, you are a wonk, and so am I now. Reality is most members of the party don’t give a damn about policy, never have, never will. They join because a neighbour or a relative asks them too, or because they want to meet someone famous or get a job reference for a resume. Maybe they are lonely and want to do something at night so they don’t have to go home to to an empty house.

    Or maybe they just want free booze. Not everyone is as high-minded as you and I. 😉 I just wish other senior Liberals would admit it and stop acting like the Young Liberals are any different from them.

    As for slamming instant Liberals—be careful, besides the fact that instant liberals is often used as a code word for ethnic members of the party, some instant Liberals stick around and do lots in local ridings, but can’t afford to go to conventions because they have no money. What you call an instant liberal just may be someone who had always voted Liberal, always taken a sign, and always showed up to the MPs annual picnic, but only joins the party when someone gives them the money because they haven’t got a spare $10. And convention fees? Those are a dream to someone who is truly poor.

    We have no idea what someone’s true motives are when they show up, maybe they are just drones, or maybe they were like me 20 years ago, too poor to afford a fee, but damned willing to pretend to do whatever it takes to get in on the fun. As Senator Arnie Vinick on the West Wing said. "If you can’t drink their booze, take their money and then vote against them, then you’re in the wrong business."

  • Scott
    I’m glad you’re bringing up the issue of vote-buying and "Insta-Liberals".
    When I was in the Quebec provincial Liberals, there were "Insta-Liberals" bussed in for the Quebec Liberal youth conventions. Every year. You, the hard-working, dedicated Liberal member, had your policy vote overridden by the votes of hundreds of Insta-Liberals whose only interest there was the party. They were basically bussed in for the t.v. cameras.
    I didn’t mind losing a vote fair and square. But I hated having my vote over-ridden by people who didn’t give a damn about the party (i.e. the political party!)

  • Does the senior Liberal Party do that at their conventions where they have votes or annual general meetings where they have votes, or elections for certain spots?

    Actually, yes they do. I recall the LPC(BC) convention a few years back, an MP showed up unexpectedly with a bus load of insta-Liberals. They voted the slate, got back on the bus, and went back to Vancouver. I don’t know if they were tempted with free booze or anything else, but they certainly weren’t there to debate policy.

    This kind of crap starts with the youth, and it carries on into the senior party. Today’s young Liberal is tomorrow’s middle-aged Liberal. It’s learned behaviour. That’s why it should be loudly condemned whenever it occurs.

  • Aurelia:

    The issue isn’t serving alcohol.. but the fact they’re bussing in "instant Liberals" to get them to vote for the slate they get told to with the promise of free booze is the issue.

    Does the senior Liberal Party do that at their conventions where they have votes or annual general meetings where they have votes, or elections for certain spots? If it does, then I’d take them to task as well. The fact is that if you look at these screenshots, this is the "2nd Annual Team Kerr Pissup", which means to me that this bussing in of instant delegates to help with a vote and with booze as an incentive was done last year as well.

    It isn’t just about this issue either. From some of the email I’ve gotten, there is other stuff I’ve been told about going on at the OYL with regards to the AGM that I would love to discuss, but that I can’t at the moment til some more nailing down of facts is done and some people willing to step forward and make public what they say to me in email.. I’ll say though from what I’ve seen, the culture has to change at the OYL and some reforms needed. The gates need to be crashed, and big-time, and hopefully, a majority of OYL Roots candidates get elected and will do just that.

  • I’m not brushing it off Scott, I’ve seen too many kids with alcohol poisoning to do that, I just think it’s high time we all stopped pointing fingers at youth wings and the OYL in particular, and started pointing fingers at everyone else. The senior party serves up so much booze at conventions it’s a joke. I went to a senior party event a little while back and couldn’t get anything non-alcoholic, even pop. And yet—how many people drove home from that event? Lots I’m sure. Could the party get sued for letting people drink and drive after leaving the establishment, probably yes since lots of bars have been sued and even lost their liquor licenses. It’s more than likely. The whole thing is stupid. I’m just waiting for someone at some event to have criminal charges laid and everyone will stand back in horror and point fingers and blame the youth wing.

    And yes, I do believe it is unfair to blame the youth wing alone or the Liberal Party alone and allow others to get away with this, which is kind of the problem whenever the youth wing does anything, and why the OYL got unfairly tarred and then shut down so many years ago.

    I’m a parent, if I swear like a sailor in front of my kids and then they do it too, I have no right to punish them for imitating me. It’s hypocritical. So let the senior party clean up it’s act first, and then they get to point fingers.

  • "Everyone else does it" shouldn’t be used as an excuse to brush aside stuff like this, Aurelia.

  • Actually Scott, secret ballots are why this is so risky as a strategy. In my experience, the guys who do this risk having everyone not show up cause they are too hungover, or not remember which name to tick off cause they are still drunk the next morning.

    That said, this is regularly done by the senior party, libs, tories, ndpers, Bloc, all of them, they just do it more subtley, like with phone calls and personal conversations. Nothing in writing… As an example, haven’t you ever seen an NDP or a Bloc meeting where buses of union guys pull up to vote? Tory’s leadership convention vote will be the same, but both sides’ll use other groups instead of union guys. And the Libs? Allll the time, just not on Facebook.

  • Just checked into it… they should work now.

  • I can’t get the screen captures to work, either.

  • Scott, I can’t get your screen captures to come up.

    Not sure how much I’d worry about this. The youth organization for the CPC is no different, and the NDP’s is only slightly better.

  • anon

    This is a great post on a topic Jamie Callingham raised yesterday: http://rugbyjamer.blogspot.com/2008/02/this-is-not-cool.html

    This kind of stuff is the reason why everyone laughs at the OYL, the YLC, all the youth.

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