Among the five proposals that candidate Justin Trudeau made earlier this year, the now Liberal leader's stance on open nominations stood out the most for me. "If elected leader, I will ensure that in 2015, every candidate for the Liberal Party will be nominated through an open nomination process. I will not appoint any candidate, in any of Canada's 338 ridings."
He continued, "The goal is to build a truly representative party, made up of citizens who are engaged at the grassroots level, so they can bring Canadians' voices to Ottawa." If the Toronto Center by-election nomination is any indication, Trudeau is making a wrong early start in the fulfillment of that promise.
The Toronto Centre nomination for the right to replace Bob Rae as a Liberal MP comes to an end this coming Sunday at a downtown public library. In the spirited nomination battle are three vastly different candidates vying to win the nomination. These candidates include the great community activist Todd Ross, the vibrant Diana Burke and the well accomplished Chrystia Freeland.
In a race that everyone assumes would eventually go to Freeland, it's a surprise that two great candidates came forward to contest it. That they actually did is the biggest surprise of the race as the conclusion was known by most awhile back. Freeland is set to be nominated without putting much work on the ground to earn the privilege with the help of the party's establishment.
The Rhodes Scholar is also the preferred candidate of the new leader, Justin Trudeau. Freeland, fresh from New York, has relied on big name endorsements and has spent more time raising money from rich donors rather than selling membership where, in an open contest, it should matter most.
The other candidates, a Metis and a Jamaican born, are veterans of local activism and bring great diversity in a party that is lacking much. To their credit and the surprise of the party establishment, they even managed to make the race competitive by fulfilling the slogan of Justin Trudeau, Hope and Hard Work, before the party made the process impossible to attain a competitive edge.
As the race was intensifying as to who would sell the most membership, the party, like a third world dictatorial institution best practiced in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe decided on Aug. 27 to backdate the closing of membership sells to Aug. 20. This has literally removed hundreds of members from voting on Sunday, giving the edge to Freeland who was having a hard time connecting on the ground.
As that surprise announcement was made, Ross sent an email to his supporters expressing what could have been a great run for him. "The cut off for memberships is retroactive to Aug. 20, 2013. Unfortunately, that means that many of the people that we engaged and signed up will not be eligible to vote. It's a bit disappointing as we were really getting people engaged -- but we will work with the rules as they have now been set and focus on the existing members."
Earlier this week, Burke also expressed her frustration about the hundreds of membership she has sold but will not be part of the voting process. She told HuffPo "I do have a lot of friends who were signed up who are a little upset they can't vote for me." The business executive added how "hard work and hope is sort of what I ran my campaign on, and we were all working hard hoping to get these votes out, so it is a bit, sort of a concern."
Peter C. Newman predicted two years ago how the Liberal party was transitioning from "walking wounded to the walking dead". What will slowly but surely kill the party is its elitism, arrogance and its failure to embrace true democracy within itself. Then, what would eventually re-elect the Conservatives in 2015 -- with or without Stephen Harper at the helm -- is not that the Conservatives are much better but that the alternative is worse.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau saddles up a horse in a Kamloops, B.C. stable.
A Trail, B.C. meets with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on July 23.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is welcomed to Vancouver by a group of people by English Bay.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Grégoire hold hands in an RV on their tour through interior B.C.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had some pancakes made for him by Xavier at Steve's Place in Canal Flats, B.C.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau takes a ride on the Nelson, B.C. trolley on Sunday with his family.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau visits Truscott Farms in Creston, B.C.
Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his family hike to Kokanee Lake, B.C. Trudeau's younger brother, Michel, was killed in 1998 when he was swept into the lake by an avalanche.
<strong>NEXT</strong>: What Is Trudeau Doing?
Justin Trudeau trains at Pan Am Boxing Club in Winnipeg on Friday Feb. 1, 2013.
Justin Trudeau & co. making faces.
Justin Trudeau splits his pants while pushing the "scrum machine" in support of Prostate Cancer Canada in Toronto Thursday, July 21, 2011.
Justin Trudeau gets his geek on at Montreal Comiccon in September 2012.
Justin Trudeau has his moustache shaved off to raise money for the Judy LaMarsh Fund, that supports female candidates, at the Liberal Party convention in Ottawa on Saturday, January 14, 2012.
Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (left) is chased by Liberal MP Justin Trudeau in a motorized wheelchair during a wheelchair race relay on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Twenty-five MPs and senators used a wheelchair for the day in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association's Spinal Cord Injury and CPA awareness month.
Justin Trudeau all dressed up for the Montreal Movember Gala in 2010.
Pierre Trudeau's sons, Sacha, left, and Justin, tackle their mother's paperboy in Ottawa in this undated photo.
Alexandre (Sacha) Trudeau delivers a right hook to his older brother Justin during a play fight in 1980 at Ottawa airport as the boys await a flight with the return of their father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau.
Justin Trudeau strikes a pose with an adorable baby.
Justin Trudeau poses with his family on his 2010 Christmas card.
Former Liberal MP Ken Dryden, left, and Justin Trudeau play table hockey as they visit Sun Youth, a community organization, Monday, Jan. 14, 2008 in Montreal.
Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau, left, watches as his 11-year-old son Justin swings on a chain during a tour of an old fort in the Omani town of Nizwa Dec. 2, 1983. Trudeau and Justin spent the day visiting the towns of Jebel and Nizwa 165 kilometres south of Muscat.
Justin Trudeau in Muskoka, Ont.
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, centre, has his cowbay taken by his son Xavier, 4 years-old, while his wife Sophie Gregoire, second from left, holds daughet Ella-Grace, 3 years-old, while they attend the party's annual Stampede breakfast in Calgary, Saturday, July 7, 2012. This is the 100th anniversary of the Stampede.
Eleven-month-old Justin Trudeau, urged on by his mother Margaret Trudeau, crawls up the steps of an aircraft in Ottawa on Dec. 5, 1972 to meet his father, then-prime minister, Pierre Trudeau on his return from Britain.
Justin Trudeau dances with wife Sophie Grégoire before his speech at the Liberal showcase on April 6, 2013.
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing what someone called his "Mandrake the Magician outfit," walks down the grandstand steps to present the Grey Cup trophy to the victorious Montreal Alouettes in this Nov. 28, 1970 photo.
Pierre Trudeau leans over to kiss an unidentified young lady to the seeming surprise of his recent bride Margaret. Trudeau and Margaret spent Saturday March 27, 1971 at maple tree farm here near Montreal at a sugaring out party.
Pierre Trudeau accompanies Margaret Sinclair, at the annual Governor General's skating party for members of Parliament in Ottawa Jan. 14, 1970.
Pierre Trudeau looks through the scope of his rifle while on a seal hunting trip in Baffin Island's Clear Water Fjord, July 29, 1968.
Pierre Trudeau shoes off his frisbee catching style while waiting to board his plane in Vancouver May 16, 1979.
Pierre Trudeau had no trouble keeping himself occupied during a break from a boat trip down the Northwest Territories, Nahanni River, Monday Aug. 4, 1970.
Pierre Trudeau takes a wary look at an ice crevice, decides to chance it and makes the leap successfully during a midnight seal- hunting expedition at Clearwater Fjord in Canada's Arctic, July 29, 1968.
Pierre Trudeau receives a kiss from his wife Margaret during a tour of St. Pierre, France, Aug. 1971.
Pierre Trudeau in Guayana 1974.
Pierre Trudeau sticks his tongue out to Canadian Press Photographer Peter Bregg during the 1972 election campaign. This photo was taken aboard the campaign plane where such antics were considered off the record. The photo was not made available until after the death of the prime minister
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau dances in Montreal Oct. 21, 1979.
Pierre Trudeau sprints away from a crowd of female admirers in Ottawa April 22, 1968. They surrounded him outside the Parliament Buildings on his third day in office.
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, meet with Pierre Trudeau Dec. 24, 1969 in Ottawa.
Pierre Trudeau looks on as Cuban President Fidel Castro gestures during a visit to a Havana housing project in this Jan. 27, 1976 photo.
Pierre Trudeau pretending to strangle himself with a tie given to him as he was presented with honorary membership in the National Press Club in Ottawa Sept. 17, 1968.
Pierre Trudeau amuses a group of people in Fortune while on tour through Newfoundland, Aug. 3, 1971.
Pierre Trudeau takes a ride on the Bluenose, Aug. 1972.
Pierre Trudeau works out at an Oshawa health club during a break in his 1968 election campaign.
Pierre Trudeau, with a garland around his neck and a Hindu greeting symbol in paste on his forhead, rides a camel Jan 12, 1971 in the village of Benares, India, where he dedicated a water well.
Pierre Trudeau kids around with a carnation while waiting for voting results at the Liberal convention in this April 7, 1968 photo.
Pierre Trudeau tries cracking a dog sled whip while visiting Baker Lake in the Arctic, March 10, 1970.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Sheik Yamani, left, and Pierre Trudeau, right, dance a traditional Arabian dance while camping out in the desert in Madein Saleh, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 1980.
Pierre Trudeau, seen here taking part in Maori ceremonial dance in Wellington, New Zealand May 13, 1970.
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