If you want our politics to change it will have to start with the political parties themselves. That is the purpose for the founding of this party which is based on the principles that I believe in and organized the way I think a party should be run.
I joined the NDP in 2002 and voted by the Internet in the leadership race in January 2003. If the members of a political party can vote by Internet for the leader of the party I do not see why they cannot use online voting for direct democracy instead of having delegates to a convention. Some party will organize their membership into a duly constituted deliberative legislative body that is online based and uses physical meetings as an adjunct to it rather than the other way around.
I can give two examples of this from my time as a member of the NDP. I work on a farm and so its not nine to five. The Québec section of the NDP has a general council that meets twice a year. Each riding sends two delegates to these provincial meetings. One was held in late spring of 2009. The Saturday on which the meeting was held I was working that day. I was not going to ask for time off just to attend this meeting. If I had gone it would have meant a two and a half hour drive into Montreal after morning chores. Then find the place and stay for maybe an hour or two and then leave to make it back home in time to leave for evening chores at work. Why do this when you can put up on a website the resolutions up for a vote have a blog for discussion and debate and include an online voting service. Open up the voting service at noon on Wednesday and have it close down at noon on Saturday and when everybody gets back from lunch there’s your voting results. Those who can’t make the meeting can still participate and have a say in the decisions.
The other example is the federal convention held by the NDP in Halifax in August of 2009. That summer had bad haying weather. The Wednesday before the weekend in which the convention was held the weather finally cleared. That Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we did round bales and on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we did square bales. So much for me going to the convention and I couldn’t make plans to go anyway simply because this convention is being held during summer’s work. We all have lives and sometimes simply can’t attend these meetings because of where or when they are held. Again the physical meeting should be used as an adjunct to a web-based Assembly of the membership of the party instead of using the traditional delegates to a convention system.
The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Robert F Kennedy
It just baffles me why any of the major parties haven’t done what I’ve done with the Federalist Party. It’s time to bring our political parties into the 21st century.
Fed up join the Fed!
Barry Aulis September 2009
How I got here October 12, 2009
I can remember in the 80s watching a miniseries on Robert F. Kennedy. This series was based upon a book by Arthur Schlesinger Jr called Robert Kennedy and his Times. I can recall while watching this series thinking that one day I might want to get involved in politics myself. A while later I bought this book and it remains though in battered condition a valued possession of my mine. Looking up some quotes for this web site reminded me of what inspired me about this man.
Perhaps one day I too would say onto others ” some people see things the way they are and ask why ? I see things that never were and say why not “.
Some time later I joined the Liberal party of Canada during the leadership of John Turner. One event that stands out of the few years that I was a member of the Liberal party was a provincial convention held I believe in 1986. This was some kind of test of the leadership of John Turner. What I clearly remember of this event was an argument between a Chretien supporter and Turner organizer for this meeting. During their altercation the Chretien supporter told this organizer and I quote ” you people know how to win elections you steal them “. Apparently this guy believed that the Turner people by their control of the party machinery were rigging the vote so that Turner would win. This sure does sound familiar given recent events in the Liberal party 25 years after I had joined and quit the party.
I voted for the first time in 1988 and voted Liberal and I may or may not have been a member of the party at that time. I voted Liberal again in 93 and very reluctantly Liberal again in the 1997 federal election. By 2000 Jean Chretain had certainly soured me on the Liberals just as Brian Mulroney had done for me with the Conservative party. For the 2000 federal election I wasn’t going to vote Liberal or Conservative so that left me with Reform, NDP, or the Bloc. The Bloc was out and so the choice was between Reform and the NDP. I had decided to vote Reform but days before the election a number of racist statements from Reform candidates became public. Even while driving to the polling station I was undecided whether I would vote Reform or NDP. At the polling station I did decide to vote NDP and have voted that way since the 2000 election.
I joined the NDP in 2002 at the time of Alexa McDonoughs resigning as leader of the party. I voted by Internet in the 2003 Leadership election. As I recall my first choice was Lorne Nystrom, then Bill Blaikie, and I cant remember if Jack Layton was my third or fourth choice. I became riding vice-president when the NDP riding association of Compton-Stanstead was formed around 2004. I then became president when the incumbent president left for university down east. I ran for the party nomination for the 2008 election but lost 2 votes to 0 and yes I voted for the other guy! I served as Official Agent for the NDP candidate in the 2008 election and learned that yes you should make triplicates of everything! Well that brings things to 2009.
To think that this all started simply by my being a member of Fair Vote Canada and earlier in 2009 voting in their national executive elections through the Internet. Looking up the voting service they use I realized you could use this for direct votes of the NDP membership in my riding and if you split the cost among the eight ridings here in the Eastern townships in Québec the cost would only be a nominal amount. There wasn’t any great enthusiasm for my project and I started making a website and settling on the rules and procedures necessary for actually running a party riding association as an E-democracy. In July I received an email from the national office stating that if one wanted to run for the NDP nomination that nomination had to be approved by the national director in the national office and I received a similar one from the Montreal office. We sharply criticized Iran’s supreme leader for having the authority to dismiss any candidate for elected office and here it is the very same thing in our own democracy. In my mind simply by being a member of a party you have every right to run for that party’s nomination or any other of its elected offices without approval from anyone that’s why you joined and became a member of the party. By late July I decided to leave the NDP and so now I’m here at the Federalist party of Canada!