CPC ConventionWatch 2008: Hey, who wants to amend the constitution?

Originally posted in the running commentary/semi-liveblog/open thread:

FINAL RESULTS – Constitution Resolutions (updated as voting takes place)

(Full package available in PDF here on Conservative Party of Canada website)

C-102 – personal payment of membership – CARRIED – One delegate spoke against it, suggesting that the issue could be better handled via bylaws passed at the local level, but it passed easily.

C-103 – 60 day waiting period (Beware The Orchardwock, My Son) – DEFEATED – Not surprisingly, this one was a bit more controversial, mostly because of the threat of David Orchard stacking nomination meetings to spread organic free-range evil. At the same time, quite a few delegates are leery of anything that would make it more difficult to recruit new members to the party. “I’m sick and tired of the nomination process being hijacked by special interest groups,” counters a man from Guelph, who doesn’t think the “ability to sell a $10 membership” makes one the best candidate. (Incidentally, party president Don Plett spoke against the resolution, and promised that David Orchard’s army of darkness will never be able to swamp a nomination race. Never!)

C-104 – compulsory identification – PASSED – Not much discussion there.

C-105 – persons required to be  a member (Leader, National Council members, candidates etc) – PASSED – the supporter selected to argue the motion says he was “flabbergasted” to discover no such rule existed. Nobody speaks against it, and it passes easily.

C-110 – regional elections to National Council – PASSED – Brodie’s co-moderator seemed noticeably anxious to hear from someone opposed to this resolution, since it was a matter of “some substance”. He got one from a Hamiltonian delegate, who came out against a system that could lead to quotas for certain regions, which would be bad. BAD. Wait, no, it would be GOOD, because it would ensure that some regions don’t feel underrepresented, at least relative to the number of MPs elected. A delegate from Northern Ontario is miffed that none of the candidates for National Council responded to his email asking how they would represent his region, and Red Deer thinks this resolution addresses a problem that doesn’t actually exist. Interesting: the moderator initially declared that the resolution passed via a sight-count, but an outburst of grumbling made him reconsider, and it eventually passed by electronic vote – the first resolution to go to the hand thingies so far.

C-111 – lobbyists can’t be members of National Council – DEFEATED – An impassioned defence of lobbyists taking part in party politics — “the party is not the government,” points out an Ontario delegate – in fact, this very afternoon, delegates will be debating and voting on policies, which, in effect, constitutes lobbying. The chair is definitely grumpy. Motion defeated to scattered applause.

C-112 – National Council elections (preferential ballot) –PASSED – Hey, it’s Scott Reid. No, not that Scott Reid — the Conservative MP who apparently was on the losing end of a behind-closed-doors scrap with Peter MacKay yesterday morning over a proposal to change the current weighing system for delegates, which would have given more clout to former Reform/Canadian Alliance-held ridings. He’d make a great Speaker of the House. What? I’m just saying. Anyway, he wants preferential ballots for National Council elections – of course he does, he’s like a one-man democratic reform machine – and the chair is surprised that nobody wants to speak against the resolution. Not surprisingly, it carries. I hope that makes you feel a bit better, Scott.

C-113 – filling vacancies on National Council –PASSED – The first to speak against this motion doesn’t want a riding president in one riding having the sole authority to nominate a replacement National Councillor. This definitely seems to be a controversial proposal — councillors should be elected by all delegates, not just one riding – or riding president, is the objection – but it passes anyway.

C-115 – DEFEATED – Okay, it is the resolution on Conservative Fund Canada, which would automatically make the president a director of the Fund, and would give all Fund directors delegate status. That last proposal seems a little controversial to one delegate – why the ever-expanding set of unelected ex-officio delegates? Luckily, party president Don Plett is here – again – to explain how the party is in the best financial shape ever, in no small part due to the efforts of those tireless volunteers who toil away at Conservative Fund Canada, who don’t have time to to actually run for delegate status, like all you little people who clearly have far less important lives. Don is in favour of this resolution, in case you couldn’t tell. I’m sure the fact that he is also the party president will hold no additional sway beyond his natural power of persuasion. Another delegate calls on the crowd to vote in favour of the grassroots, and against this resolution. It goes to a machine vote, and Ian Brodie is sounding a little rattled. (It’s all about the double majority requirement.) Lots of grumbling from the audience, and even a few faint cries of “Order”. Someone suggests separating the vote into two items – that gets a round of applause – but the rules don’t permit amendments on the floor. It’s defeated – 57% to 42%, I think, but I only caught a quick glimpse of the screen. Somewhere, Don Plett is mentally kicking a chair right about now.

C-116 – leadership voting – post and fax ballots (latter not allowed) – PASSED – And it’s Scott Reid again, taking a trip down unpleasant past leadership election sideshow memory lane, and reminding the crowd what a disaster the whole vote-by-fax idea turned out to be, and the resolution passes easily.