Second Ballot Support

Following a brief discussion with Bob Rae and individuals in the Rae organization, I’ve made my decision to support Bob Rae on the second ballot, if and when Ken Dryden is eliminated. My decision is based on the overall commitment to First Nations issues specifically, and due to his previous history and experience in working in partnership with First Nations. He’s made a number of great overtures to our First Nation organization, including a lengthy dinner with National Chief Phil Fontaine and my boss, Grand Council Chief John Beaucase just this past week. Although he did not commit specifically to re-introducing First Peoples into the Constitution, by virtue of the resolution it will now be worked into modern Liberal Policy. If and when the Constitution is opened up, this resolution is on the books – which was my specific intention. It may not be Rae’s priority right now, but it will be something that the leader will have to integrate into our Party’s future plans. I want to say Bravo to Mr. Ignatieff for his commitment to recognizing our Nations. You’ve reached out to the Metis Nation and wholeheartedly gained their respect and support. I also want to applaud Mr. Dion’s couragious environmental policy. I hope that whoever is leader will take a strong look at Mr. Dion’s ideas which need to be fundamentally supported by our Aboriginal Peoples Commission.

Constitutional Debate…

This time, I’m referring to the constitution of the LPC. Yesterday, I voted for an amendment to continue with the current practice of electing our leader by Convention as opposed to the one-member-one-vote. This is what makes us uniquely Liberal, now that the Conservatives and NDP have opted for a de-centralized vote. This decision also allows for a forum for candidates to meet with and speak directly to their electorate. The one-member-one-vote proposal effectively ensures that any candidate would never have to visit or meet with aboriginal electors in the electoral district. Also, these conventions are really exciting and fun. At least, our people will not be able to integrate into, and effect change directly at the microphone and face-to-face. Next challenge, the need to subsidies for First Nations people to attend the Convention. At $995 a piece, plus travel – it’s pretty steep.

Constitutional Debate 2…

I failed in an effort to persuade the delegates to vote in favour of a motion to amend the Liberal constitution to allow for voting of non-resident members of an Electoral District Association. I am a non-resident member of the Nipissing-Temiscaming Federal Liberal Association. The reason for this is because my home of Nipissing First Nation was arbitrarily, and mistakenly cut-in-half by the Electoral Boundary Commission. I have always been an elector and supporter of the Nipissing riding and have never had anything to do with the Nickel Belt riding. I think many other First Nations are in the same boat. We have many historical linkages and alliances with centres away from our home communities. We should be able to choose which organization we support. Unfortunately, the Convention did not agree. I guess I will have to vote for my candidate in East Sudbury – NOT!