Saturday, March 17, 2007

Courts Kill Rob Anders Conservative Acclamation Nomination in Calgary

I will do a more thorough posting on the Rob Anders court decision over his recent Conservative constituency nomination process in Calgary West once the decision is on line and I have read it. That should be early next week I expect. In the meantime media reports do not auger well for the CPC in being an open and transparent organization.

Political parties have so much influence on our politics in so many ways, it was nice to see a group of party members take their complaints about the propriety of the Anders acclamation nomination to the Courts for rulings. Political parties are so very unrepresentative of the general population and are too often run like private clubs, especially at the constituency level.

They should be, and be seen, more as fundamental democratic institutions and therefore they must have more transparency and accountability then currently is the case. This is a glaring democratic deficit in our system that may need a culture shift towards more citizen engagement instead of a strictly legislated solution.

The Anders “acclamation nomination” reported comments from the Court decision underscores this need as Judge Hawco says:

“The party did not follow its own rules with respect to setting the date for the nomination meeting or with respect to conducting a fair and effective candidate selection process,”
“I am satisfied that the decision of the panel was not correct and that its decision must there be set aside. As a result, the acclamation of Mr. Anders also must be set aside and a new nomination meeting and process must be set in place.”

At least the Judge didn't say "they broke every rule in the book" although I have not yet read the decision so I can't say what the full implication of this judgement is yet. If this Party cannot be fair and reasonable within its own ranks to its own members, can we trust them to be fair and reasonable to dissenters? Can we trust them to be fair and resonable at all especially since they want to rig the judicial selection process in order to politicize the courts? They disbanded the Court Challenges Program because they could not see any reason why a government would pay for lawyers so people could challenge them on Constitutional and other issues. That attitude is dangerous to democracy and devastating to dissent.

Is that the kind of party and the kind of elected representatives we want in a free and open democracy? Is this the kind of political culture that Canadians will consent to be governed by? Character counts. Quality character and a competence to govern for the benefit of the people is not being well demonstrated by the Harper Cons these days. Instead we see the Harper Cons overwhelmingly preoccupied with positioning for power.

Good government is about meeting the needs and preserving the rights of the citizens’ and not about partisan pandering for power Mr. Prime Minister. Good governance starts at the political party level. I expect Leader Harper will want to be sure this nomination mess in Calgary West is cleaned up and quickly.