Thursday, December 2, 2010

Leadership changes we need

The time has come to turn over control of party leadership elections to Elections BC.    What I would like to see is a fixed leadership vote for all political parties every four years.   The vote would be held one year before the election and all party leaders would be up for selection on the same day.   I have not thought all the details of the how, this is more about the why for the idea.

At the moment, once someone is a leader of a party there are very few mechanisms to remove them as leader.   Yes, the party executive can remove the leader, but I do not know of any party executive that could realistically vote against their leader.   The only real option to remove a leader is a caucus revolt as is happening in the NDP and more or less was coming among the BC Liberals.

A caucus revolt is a very negative and damaging process.   It can cripple a party for years to come, or in the case of Social Credit effectively destroy the party.   We do not need more conflict in politics and especially not among people that should be allies.   The current focus on leadership issues in BC takes away from the real issues of politics in the province.

If there was a mechanism by which there is a way to remove the leader of a party, many of the internal political problems in BC would be removed.   It would also mean that people with leadership aspirations would know when they would get a chance for the top job.   There would be no need for the sort of war we saw federally between Martin and Chretien.

The more I think about, the more I think this is what is needed to improve the political parties and by extension the political process in BC.

Thinking out loud about the mechanisms, here are some points:

  • The elections are run by Elections BC but must be paid for to some extent by the party
  • The date would be one year before the general election and if no one stands against a leader, there is a Yes/No vote on their leadership and if they lose, a new vote is held three months later for the leader
  • There needs to be a system of leader by-election if the leader chooses to resign

More and more of what have been internal processes of political parties have to be made open to the public.   All people fund the parties through the tax deductions the parties can issue and the money they get to operate their caucuses in the legislature.   They are part of the political process and therefore need to be open to the public.  
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