Not an Official Green Party Site over 20,000 visitors

Bluegreenblogger a.k.a. Matthew Day

In November 2oo8, I got quite irate about the fallout from the 2008 election. Like many other GPC activists, I had become disenchanted with the candidate I had worked so hard to help make leader of the Green Party of Canada. I had lived with my mistake, and quietly withdrawn my services. Having been at the centre of the Leadership team, I had a fair idea that they really didn’t understand politics outside the realm of  communications, and media relations. No huhu I thought, they don’t want my help, and they’ll eventually find their own way.

As an interested outside observer, the 2008 general election was a real eye opener. They hadn’t learned anything! Running Elizabeth in Central Nova? What hubris! David Chernushenko was making dark and gloomy public statements, and the Green Party leadership was in complete denial about the failings of the National Campaign. My blood had boiled when I heard Elizabeth May encouraging strategic voting, which was a gut blow to hundreds of hard working candidates across the country. The very grudging, and half hearted retractions and clarifications from Elizabeth convinced me that the Party was in the hands of the wrong people.

To my thinking, the key missing ingredient was a lack of  training, support, and resources dedicated to building the organisational strength at the grassroots level of the Party. At that time, I had no inkling of anything except to share my experience, and hard won expertise in the actual nuts and bolts mechanics of succesful campaigning. There would be a leadership race in 2010, and in all likelihood, the Party membership would repay the lack of administrative capability, and perceived betrayal by the leadership by replacing it. The important thing would be that the potential candidates, and GPC activists should have some real organisational objectives, strategies, and initiatives to focus on as leadership campaign issues. I frankly don’t remember what conversation, or news report it was that decided me to start blogging on the Green Party of Canada, and political organisation in a Green Party of Canada context, but on November 28, 2008 I trotted off to WordPress, and set up a free blog, which you are patiently struggling through now.

I was, and still am proud of my earliest efforts on this blog. I have extensive experience building my own business, and my 25 years of Sales and Marketing experience has been invaluable in informing me about systematic presentation of a succesful message to a target audience. All the varied initiatives, and tasks I have performed on a volunteer basis since my initiation into the world of Canadian p0litics have taught me what works, and what fails in the real world of politics. There are some commonalities between political activism, and the world of commerce, but it took a lot of partial successes, and sometimes glaring failures to internalise the differences.

So here I am, one week short of 1 year, and this little blog just passed the milestone of 20,000 unique visitors. Many of the most useful lessons I had to present were dealt with in my first 30 posts or so. I have digressed, and faded a bit, (a lot actually) in recent months. Firstly, because I earn my living in a seas0nal marketplace, and I’ve been too busy. Secondly, much of the best advice I have to offer has already been written up as posts. I am seeking the advice of my readers now. Please go back to my December 08 – March 09 archived posts, and check them out. Contrast them with recent posts. I am puzzled about what direction to go in. Should I simply start re-posting past blogs, with a little editing? There is the possibility of re-formatting, and compiling this into a comprehensive ‘Campaign and Organising Manual’. I could dish a ton of scanadlous dirt on the GPC, or I could turn to my policy interests of Tax Policy, and Urban Transportation( a.k.a. location and urban economics). Another option would be to seek more input from some of the gifted organisers and campaigners within Green Party ranks. I for one would love to interview Bill Hulet about the Guelph experience in community organising, or get a complete Obama campaign field manual review with Rob Routledge. What do YOU think? (I just edited to read Bill Hulet, not Bill Hewitt. I make this mistake very often, and I sincerely apologise to both the Bill’s for my own impending senility)

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44 Responses

  1. Congrats on 20K and nearly one year…. I’m not far behind you on either count (my anniversary is Tuesday!)

  2. For me the Green Party exists to do politics differently. Until a very big change occurs that isn’t very likely either Conservatives or Liberals will run the Federal Government – so what is our role. It isn’t about power, it’s about principle. It isn’t about ambition, it’s about hope. It is about what we have all agreed to which is outline in a very easy to access document called the Constitution.

    Green members need to get elected to allow our party to reach its potential and to give it a credible voice. Getting elected should not be about ambition – it must be about hope. It won’t happen because we can buy our way into the old buys club. It will happen when people in ridings are persuaded and mobilized to vote Green based on their desire to give one or a few of us a voice so they and all of us can have more hope.

    I will do my best to resist those that are Green because of ambition and do my best to encourage and support those that are Green because they want to give people more hope.

  3. @Rob.
    Hmmmm. Too loose a statement, and too full of feel goods. Ambition=Bad, principle=good, power not so good.
    Maybe I’ve a more practical bent, but to me the purpose of power is to implement principles. Yes, we seek actual political power, so that we can do what we say.
    I’ve never feared ambition either. especially when you consider that a synonym for ambition is aspiration. It’s a simple parsing of semantics. Someone who holds a burning ambition to acheive power in order to implement their ideas is OK by me, provided I can concurr with their ideas. Even if i don’t agree with their ideas, they are subscribing to a model of public service that I can readily support, even as i reject their ideas. Perhaps you meant to say those who are faux greens, in order to relise personal wealth, and for the sheer joy of exercising power are bad hats, I might agree more readily.

  4. Congrats on the anniversary and unmasking yourself :-)

    In the photo, you’re wearing a “Liberal-red” tie, BTW.

    The folks in Guelph have – as you mention – done the most on-the-ground work as Green campaigners. If you want to write a book, work with Bill H., and crew.

  5. I’ve already been on the record that I think a political party can achieve an enormous amount without ever electing anyone to office. Having said that, in Guelph we just had a nomination meeting where two sitting city Councillors participated as dues-paid members—and one is now our nominated candidate.

    The paradox that I’ve found over the past 30 years of work with the Guelph Greens has been that the less I cared about getting Greens elected, and the more we cared about serving the community, the more influence we gained. I wish that more Greens were willing to see the role of the Green Party as being that of public education and citizen empowerment, and less about trying to emulate the other parties. We can never compete with the cynical parties by trying to play their own game, but we might achieve a great deal if we really tried to do “do the right thing” instead.

    There are many different types of power. Forming a government is only one particular type. I think as Greens we should be seeking a different form, but still use the democratic system as part of that process.

  6. Having also been watching closely from the outside and only recently joined the Greens I am by no means an experienced “insider” but thought you mat be interested in my views on this. First crongrats on not only the milestone but the content, whilst you have, as have most of us, expressed concern about one thing or another you have in large part given positive and useful information to counterbalance it. I have found it most instructive!

    I can see where Elizabeth’s strategic voting would be “disappointing” for those involved in gathering support, however I found it very refreshing (if a little self destructive) in that those of us who believe in the democratic process cannot help but consider the ABC option where the party of our choice has no chance of gaining a seat. (not a concern here in that “most successful green riding in Canada”). Elizabeth’s passionate defense of our democracy and the GPC statement of vales on democracy is what drew me to the party.

    As Bill Hullet says “We can never compete with the cynical parties by trying to play their own game, but we might achieve a great deal if we really tried to do “do the right thing” instead.
    There are many different types of power. Forming a government is only one particular type. I think as Greens we should be seeking a different form, but still use the democratic system as part of that process.”

    This to me is the key to gaining more support politically where the party can then have more influence in promoting their other “values”. I have been encouraging my EDA to adopt that more explicit “statement of values” adopted by the “group of 4”, we must indeed “do thing right” (internaly and externaly) if positive change is to take place.

    Let us all balance our critical concerns with positive ideas and input.

    Democracy requires dialog, please join us at http://democracyunderfire.blogspot.com/

  7. I want to clarify something that I think is important. I agree with Rural, Bill, and Rob above, in the underpinnings of their arguments. Our principles are largely shared, and yes, ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL. It’s a hard slog, but the effort in educating the electorate is important to our policy objectives. It creates ‘demand’ for our policy solutions. However, without a credible electoral threat posed by the Green Party’s, this demand will be frustrated by window dressing policies by the old-line Party’s. Only if we are able to pack that one-two punch of grass roots support, coupled with the vehicle for political expression can we truly maximise the impact of the heavy lifting Bill and his fellow organisers are doing. There is more than one route to influence, and the GPC is ready to grow up in an important respect. There are plenty of people like me who are eager to help to convert soft influence into hard political power. It’s the hand, and the glove. Yin and Yang, if you will. Air War – Ground War.
    The either – or framing of the issue is destructive to our shared objectives. Please, please let’s learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.

  8. Matthew:

    I understand what you are saying. But the huge and overwhelming weight of public socialization says to people that political parties are about elections—-and absolutely nothing else. In this context where people only know about gum chewing, unless you absolutely hammer into their heads that they need to walk too, the default is to stand still.

    Every time I hear someone talk about the need to emphasize elections, I know that the odds are that they are probably an “Jiminey Cricket” who thinks that if we just wish hard enough we will elect people. (We seem to have an official policy of Jiminey Cricketism right now, sigh.)

    The sorts of organizing we need to do will create local ground campaigns that will result in pressure you are talking about. But unless we absolutely hammer the concept of community organizing into the heads of the leadership, staff and rank-and-file of the GPC, it is only going to happen in isolated communities like Guelph that by chance have committed people with the background.

    I appreciate the insights you have shared in this blog, but what we really need is a strong, organized caucus in this party that will push, push, push for the tools we need to build strong EDAs. And this is going to require things like the allocation of scarce resources, staff, and constitutional changes (such as a delegate system that awards power based on the number of local members in the EDA) that will give power to the EDAs and take it from “conference bunnies” and “media stars”.

    You mentioned that you were looking for topics. I would suggest that is a really good one. Why isn’t there an internal caucus structure for the GPC, one that could fight for the internal changes that we so desperately need?

  9. If you want a model- the NDP has a long standing Council of Ridings.

    It waxes and wanes as to whether it means anything. But having a recognized structure helps. I never thought of it, but I don’t think the COR has any ‘powers’ at all.

    But you don’t need any. In the case of the GPC- it would make it harder to ignore you. And just give people a sense of continuity for what they are participating in.

  10. @Bill, and Ken S.
    The GPC once had a provision in it’s constitution for a Council of Presidents, which had standing, and constitutionally was endowed with significant powers. The problem was that no-body ever got around to forming such a body, and it was purged from the constitution in tha last big housekeeping.
    I think that the Constitution even now allows for contiguous EDA’s to form Party units with constitutional blessing, but where are they? Provincial divisions? The tools are there for anybody willing to organise them.
    Bill, if you are willing, list out specific and practical organising tools that you would like to see. I will pick them apart in a post, and what really looks promising can be test driven by the field team in the coming leadership race.
    I would honestly say that it’s not the resources at the centre that are inadequate. It’s how those resources have been squandered. Like a seven figure election advertising budget. Dumb dumb dumb. All those regional organisers are on the payroll, but they are pretty willy-nilly. The central Party could, and should be leveraging their communications, and systematically harvesting membership in conjuncton with their communications plan. I think you’d agree that 30 or 40 additional new members per year recruited into your EDA would be about the best thing you could hope for. Just having them fulfil their legitimate functions, but doing it well would be a great tool for you, and me, and all EDA’s.

  11. It’s funny the way you guys morphed my suggestion about a specific caucus into some sort of new level of formal organization. In politics a “caucus” is simply an informal group of people who work together to push a specific agenda in internal governance. So we could have a “women’s caucus” if a bunch of unhappy people thought that women were being systemically discriminated against. We could have an environmental caucus if people thought that the environment wasn’t being given enough prominence by the party. In this case, we should have a “EDA building” caucus.

    Such a group would be an group that would create a core group of principles that they agree upon. They would also create things like mailing lists, on-line discussion groups and potentially have regional meetings. They would use this activity to create a strategic plan and elect officers to pursue specific tasks. This could include things like supporting specific candidates in internal elections and pushing for specific amendments to the By-Laws at General Meetings. They could also make sure that the Federal Council, Leader, staff and Election Preparedness Committee follow the constitution and don’t pull “dirty tricks” to manipulate the process (something this party has been rife with over the years.)

    I’ve tried for years to get people interested in this sort of thing and people almost always plead that they don’t have the time or energy. (Now I’m at the age where I no longer do either.) But until the GPC is willing to do internal politics like this, it is going to flounder around the way it has up until now. Maybe now that other people have taken up my “voice in the wilderness” about the need to organize grass roots EDAs, perhaps these people would be willing to form some sort of caucus to fight for this direction.

  12. We formed a Regional Association here in the Ottawa area last year, and there is something similar in Toronto.

    Note that the GPO has recently created a “Presidents Council” of riding presidents. This was done from the grassroots because of dissatisfaction with the race-less leadership race :-)

    But the party HQ deftly co-opted this council to turn it into a pressure release valve, not a real governance body.

  13. Forgot to add the regional association website:
    http://gpra.ca/

  14. :)

    I’ve been working on building an informal caucuss of Green’s with similar beliefs about what the Green party could be for the past year. I’ve tested it a little bit this week, in asking this group to email their federal council representative and ask for a leadership contest to be held in conjunction with the BGM in 2010. It will be interesting to see if they do, or what comes of it.

    The strategic line of thought in this chain reminds me of why I am currently a GPC/GPO member: I think the Green party has a chance to inspire hope that we can do better, and create a system where people are willing to make the sacrifices needed for that to happen.

    As far as suggesting tools: I would love to see a ‘mygreenparty.ca’ website (even if it was just directing to a well run wiki), that provided people the tools to self organize. By self organize, I mean: post local events, raise money, provide tools on how to run events (by events I mean everything from bbq, to discussion groups, to meetings), nominate candidates, and supplement with online forums for discussion.

  15. @Bill,
    I was actually pointing out that attempts had been made for a formal structure, but they always failed to work out.
    @ everybody,
    This is an interesting discussion. What Rob, John, and Bill suggested would all fit in with something I have been mulling over for about a year. A coummunity of communities social connection website. It is surely envisioned as a vehicle for recruiting, and retaining membership, activists and resources. Basically, a means to engage a widely distributed membership, and nearly members, and keep them interested and active. In conception, it’s what Rob commented on. A Green Party place where people can self organise into threads, or communities depending on their interests. Starting with EDA’s as the basic community It ought to incorporate blog hosting, and aggregator, mail-lists, forums, event noticing tool (Like meetup), and can so easily provide basic EDA services like processing donations, financial agent services, and provision of canvas databases etc.
    The communities of interests would cross EDA boundaries, and follow policy threads, or whatever interest people want to self organise, under the Green Party banner.
    I went so far as to start working on infrastructure, but the cost was higher than I wanted to pay out of pocket, and my decision to get involved in the Leadership would make implementation difficult in a charged, and distrustful atmosphere. It;s not the kind of thing you want to launch with flawed tools, because it would require buy-in from a lot of people to have a critical mass.

  16. I love the impulse towards empire building! I think all we need to begin with is a “quick and dirty” wiki (which you can get for free from WetPaint and which takes about 15 minutes to set up), and, a core of about 6 people. You probably have the people following this blog to get the thing rolling.

    No need for “wowy-cowy” groovy software, just some first movement by someone who inspires some confidence in others.

    All community organising boils down to is finding out which members of your community are trusted by their fellow citizens and making the effort to talk to them and ask them for help. Period.

  17. I don’t know what to say Bill.

    I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours speaking on the phone with GPC members who have absolutely no contact, EVER with any Greens, local or otherwise. Beyond the fundraising emails, and rare fundraising phone calls, the Green Party doesn’t exist for them.
    There are perhaps three dozen EDA’s that actually have some degree of activity and contact, but there’s nothing beyond that.

    I keep on forgetting that most Greens have never really looked beyond their own local experience. They don’t realise what enormous wasted opportunities there are all over the country.

    You call it empire building, I would characterise it more as empire dissolving. You want something specific to serve your interests. I share many of those interests, so I reply that’s a good idea, but why not serve everybody’s interests? How is setting up 6 people on a wiki going to influence anybody to do anything? You can come up with good ideas easily enough, but who is the poor slob who’s going to dedicate a couple of months to lobbying people with very different ideas about where they want to spend money. If you think that the power of a good idea will help you, I doubt you’ve ever tried to lobby council.
    The community I am talking about consists of tens of thousands of people spread all over the country. I’m afraid that perhaps I have more experience than you trying to interact with this wider ‘community’ that doesn’t really exist. The overwhelming majority of Greens have absolutely no-one that they trust and respect, so there’s the rub of it.
    If you want to see a stronger GPC, with grassroots organising going on everywhere, then you can try to influence the centre to do what you want them to do, but I predict that you’ll wind up exhausted, and heartbroken.

    I think that in large measure, the centre is a write-off. You can lobby, and proselytise, but what will come out of it is pretty well nothing. Certainly when you consider the efforts it will take to acquire enough influence to make something concrete happen, you could acheive the desired measures more readily by simply doing it, rather than beating your head against a brick wall.
    If the caucus you describe were willing to take concrete measures on their own, without seeking permission, or approval from ‘head office’, then maybe something could be done. I think that in part is what J.Ogilvie is referring to. Local self-help groups. They’re valuable, if parochial. They do nothing to build anything beyond their boundaries. Try thinking a little broader, it doesn’t take much more effort, and actually has the potential to acheive some of your ultimate objective, with your/our own efforts..

  18. Let’s press the ‘reset’ button.
    I apologise for going off on a tangent like that. I really want to know what my fellow Greens think about what the central party could, and should be doing to provide tools for community organising at the EDA level. Especially Bill, who has been grinding away at it for many years now.
    I don’t have all the solutions, and I’m sure that just about everybody of good faith reading this blog will have ideas. If you want a closed forum to do it in, I’m game, and I’ll be happy to set one up. We tried it 8 months ago, and nobody used it, but maybe I’ll migrate this blog to a new platform, and throw the forums into the mix anyway.

  19. Wow! Did you ever miss what I was trying to say.

    You don’t have to organise the entire country, you just have to organize enough people to take over the machinery of the party. And a large part of that could be done by reforming the bylaws of the party. Since almost no one is interested in this stuff, it doesn’t require a huge number of people, just a few who are willing to work as a team and pull in the same direction.

    You don’t need to organise a huge apparatus, just get a core of people together to come up with a plan and have them ask others to sign on.

    We have the next conference in Ontario, which probably has the highest percentage of members who would support movement towards a more functional party. Not having a delegate system, this means that these people will have a huge advantage. So write up a few resolutions to straighten the party out.

    These could include a proxy system that would put power into the hands of party members based upon the number of members they have in their EDA instead of the geographic size of their area. When this change passed in Ontario it had a huge impact on the GPO because it meant that the party was now in the hands of the best local organisers. Another thing that needs changing is to cut the size of Federal Council down to the size where it can actually have useful discussions and it can come to timely decisions instead of wasting all its time on process.

    Reform doesn’t involve rebuilding the headquarters from scratch, it involves changing it so it actually begins to work.

  20. Oh.. Why didn’t you just say so?
    I’m in for these measures, plus I think one more thing that is important, but harder to effect. Establishing an elected functionary who will manage the organisers. The skills needed for Chief mouthpiece, (Leader), are different from those of chief organiser.
    There’s another thing to remember, that if the real power all flows from established EDA’s, then there will not be much incentive to raise up new EDA’s, and develop the weaker ones. We mustn’t drop the ball on that, because our ultimate success depends on continuing to grow.

    You’re not alone in pondering Party structure, and I think that a common failing identified by most thoughtful observers is that the overly inclusive council is too big to be useful. That’s why past leaders have been happy to establish the ‘real’ council which is called something like the ‘Campaign Committee’, which actually tries to get tasks done, while ignoring those elected councillors outside the loop. That’s got a whole another set of accountability problems.

  21. Matthew:

    Your point on the organisational chief is accepted. The GPC needs a President, like the GPO has.

    As for a disincentive for new EDAs to form, there was a lot of griping about the undue influence that strong CAs had in Ontario shortly after the proxy ballots were allowed. I remember an Ottawa conference where the Guelph delegates sitting at one table pretty much outweighed everyone else in the room. Which was a good thing, because we defeated a couple outlandish resolutions by Michael Pillings that would have set up secret, appointed tribunals who would be able to expel members from the party for up to ten years for the “crimes” of serving meet at our confences, buying campaign materials from outside of the riding (no centralised bulk purchases allowed) or having a smoking area. No appeals would be allowed.

    Some people grumbled mightily about the lack of “democracy”. What this meant was that people who did absolutely nothing for the party except attend conferences were now being voted down by people who did a lot but never attended conferences through their representatives. What eventually happened was that people learned that if they wanted to have any influence they had to get off their duffs and meet with other party members and listen to their opinion enough to get their proxy. This dramatically changed the internal culture of a lot of moribund CAs. Now Guelph no longer has a huge influence over the party, but we don’t care because the party has become a lot more rational.

    There is no reason the same thing couldn’t happen in the GPC. And the Toronto conference will be our best shot because the majority of people attending will be aware of how well the Ontario system works and will not be swayed by scare tactics.

    But people have to start organising NOW if they want this sort of thing to happen.

  22. Correct me if I’m wrong, Bill, but one of the reasons I’ve backed away from GPO is that a handful of strong ridings have taken over the machine.

    On a recent GPO presidents council call, whenever anyone asked a tough question of GPO prez Bill Hewitt, DL Shane Jolley stepped in: “Let me answer that..” Shane isn’t a riding prez, and shouldn’t have been on the call.

    So we now understand who is running GPO these days. BGOS, Guelph, maybe Dufferin, maybe a few other compliant CAs.

    I understand that there is a new fundraising initiative underway. GPO finally has a CRM (I volunteered to built one last year). But this CRM is only available to fundraisers, not CA prez. I’m one, and I’d know if it existed.

    And these selected fundraisers (BGOS? Guelph?) are allowed to fundraise the membership list OUTSIDE their own riding. Party gets half, pet riding gets half, local riding gets zip.

  23. John:

    And what is stopping you from being involved in this?

  24. Involved in the secret fundraising circle-jerk, or in reforming GPO?

  25. John:

    My understanding is that you do not have to be a CA president to be in on the President’s Council. A long time ago I was appointed by our CA to be her representative because she didn’t have time to do it herself. Perhaps Shane was similarly filling a similar role?

    Secondly, my understanding is that if you wanted to do fund-raising under the new system all you would have to do is ask. Have you asked?

    The reason why they are doing this is because so many CAs are doing such an abysmal job of fund-raising on their own. Would you rather that the party hired professional fund-raisers and allowed them to keep half the money raised?

  26. All I have to do is ask?

    Bill, how would I know to ask to participate in a new fundraising project, using a new CRM, if the party has not ANNOUNCED the existence of this CRM or project?

    Bill, you are smart about many things, but like all of us, you have blind spots.

    Having Keys keeping half the GPC money they raise is a scandal. If GPO proposed doing that, the membership would lynch them.

    Instead, they quietly give the membership lists to a few pet ridings and get THEM to do the calling. Without informing the local riding.

    So if I do plan on a year-end fundraising push, Elizabeth (KEYS) got there first, followed by GPO (Guelph, BGOS), leaving me nothing.

    Think about the fraternal good will that will develop when I call my local members and hear that Bill Hulet in Guelph already phoned and collected the donation.

    It will rip the GPO apart. And that’s why other political parties don’t do stupid shit like this.

  27. John:

    The question is, are you going to do a fund raising drive? Or is this all theoretical? Guelph does do this sort of thing on a regular basis and we are happy the head office is doing this, as we know it has been starved for funds for years.

    I don’t think that any CA that is doing its homework has anything to fear from this. And if you aren’t, then get out of the way and stop being a dog in the manger.

  28. No, BIll, the question is NOT whether I’m going to do a fundraising drive.

    The end does NOT justify the means.

    I appreciate that the party has been starving for funds, and it would be good to have a discussion with the CAs about how to fix this.

    Building a secret CRM and divvying it up for fundraising purposes among a handful of favorite CAs is NOT the approach that the CA presidents would have recommended.

  29. As I mentioned earlier in the comments, the strong EDA’s could have a perverse incentive to stonewall the building of new EDA’s, and building the strength of existing but weak EDA’s.
    The GPC needn’t be as ill served as the GPO, because it is much much bigger, even in Ontario than the GPO, and there is a pot of federal funding.
    As an aside, but an important one, neither the GPO, nor the GPC should be using outside contractors to make any kind of systematic calls. They absolutely should be done in-house. If there is funding for so much as a single staffer, that job description should be to maintain ongoing contact with all the membership, renewing, and upgrading membership, and facilitating connections between members and their EDA’s./ CA’s. In the GPC, it will take 2-3 staffers, but they will pay their way handsomely, provided competence is the hiring criteria, not nepotism, or patronage. I absolutely guarantee that everybody in the Party will benefit if there is regular contact between the members and the central Party, even though it may sometimes impinge on local prerogatives. If the local CA/EDA is doing it’s job, then this contact will come on top of the regular local contact. If the local riding isn’t doing it’s job, then that fact will be outed by the regular contact by Party organiser/fundraiser contact. Corrective measures can then be considered, and the hard questions will finally start being asked.

  30. GPO did have a paid fundraising staffer, operating out of BGOS, strangely enough. This person called members for renewal and fundraising, and the party kept all of the proceeds.

    As a CA prez, I agree that this was appropriate and was an incentive for *me* to do fundraising campaigns in my CA.

    The new project seems to be something completely different. I don’t know the particulars. To repeat, although I’m a CA prez., I have not been told about this program or invited to take part.

    I’ve asked the GPO CFO to fill me in on the details so that I’m not going off half-cocked.

    A simple question though. Do you think the Liberal Party allows an Ottawa riding volunteer to call up a database of Vancouver members and fund-raise them, with half the proceeds going to the Ottawa riding and the rest to party HQ? And with the Vancouver riding execs unaware that the database even exists?

    Me neither.

  31. Well John, you seem adamantly sure of the facts on this matter. The way you are saying it, none of the other CAs are being allowed to take advantage of this program. I simply do not believe that this is the case. I know a lot of people in the leadership of the GPO and I do not believe that they would a: be that mean, or, b: be that stupid. In contrast, I have repeatedly seen people in this party fly off the handle and make wild accusations about both the intent and implications of other programs that turned out to be categorically untrue.

    It can’t be too much of a secret if you know about it and we are discussing it on this blog, can it?

  32. PS:

    There has been a constant whine-fest in this party from people who complain about the head office “poaching” their donors. In Guelph our response has always been that if they beat us to the punch that is because we are incompetent and nothing else.

  33. I’m not saying other CAs are not allowed to take advantage of the program. I’m saying that none of them were even *told* about the program.

    My assertions:
    1) GPO has a new CRM.
    2) Most CA execs have not been told about this CRM or given access.
    3) This CRM is being used today by pet ridings like your own to fundraise.
    4) That fundraising is in *my* riding. Which pisses me off.

    I’m not whining about HQ poaching my donors. This is OK, actually, as I said in an earlier comment. It keeps CAs on their toes.

    I’m whining about GUELPH poaching CMM donors :-) Enabled by HQ, using a confidential member database. This is happening (my theory) because Guelph is inside the new GPO tent, and CMM isn’t.

    You’re starting to sound like a Bush Republican, complaining that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re too stupid to go to Harvard.

    My CA deserves to get money-siphoned because we were too stupid to know that there is a secret fundraising program.

    Please.

  34. You could also say that the head office has decided that it wants to concentrate upon a small number of key ridings where it thinks it has a chance of electing someone. Since there head office is so cash starved, the only way that they can think of raising the money is by doing the sort of thing you are talking about.

    The Green Party routinely does weird “work arounds” because the sorts of things that other parties would routinely do are not possible because of the naive ideals of many members. Personally, I don’t think the GPO should be focusing on electing people so much as public education, but I can see how if you did believe in getting MPPs into office (both as being possible and essentially the purpose of the party), then this sort of thing would make a lot of sense.

    Finally, I don’t see how they money in your region “belongs” to you if you aren’t out there raising it yourself—. This gets back to my point that if a CA is doing its job already then it has nothing to worry about.

  35. Yes, I’m sure that is also part of the agenda.

    If this was laid out publicly I don’t think there would be very much support for this approach at all. It’s a replay of the Elizabeth May strategy. It won’t work for her, and it won’t work for Shane and the other handful of “designated winners”

  36. Ah….
    @Bill and John. Haven’t we all been here before? It’s a predictable discussion in GP circles. Scarce resources, not always wisely allocated, workarounds that either favour, or seem to favour one faction over another. Sometimes it’s worth the extra effort to anticipate, and accomodate other ‘interests’ within the Party prior to ‘going for broke’ for what you want. It’s a hollow victory if you ‘win’ your short term objective, at the expense of a future factional battle.
    I still think that the problem largely goes away if there is a dedicated staff function of outreach, and membership relations. (ie renewing memberships, fundraising, and connecting prospective volunteers with unperformed tasks.)

  37. You’re right. It drives me nuts the way people in general seem incapable of discussing things and coming to a collective decision. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of this stems from the profound inability of most people to express themselves in a clear and precise manner. Add to that our societies inability to teach people how to make decisions in groups and the paranoid assumptions that people routinely jump towards—and you have the typical political dysfunction. (My reading tells me that the sort of problems the Greens face are endemic in other parties as well.)

  38. I have a simpler solution: I will largely go away.

  39. Simpler for you, for the rest of us, politics is complicated eh?

  40. Update. I contacted the GPO CFO on Monday. He said he didn’t know anything about this plan, and put me in touch with the person who was running it.

    I contacted that person (he’s also my regional rep), requesting info.

    No response as of Friday..

    Hey Bill, since the sun shines out of Guelph’s ass, can you put in a good word for me? Do you think I’ll be allowed to fundraise in my own riding?

  41. John I signed up for a new GPO fundraising tool and am able to call in to my riding. I don’t have time to go through all the comments so I’m sorry if this is already addressed above but did you try this?

  42. I have deleted the last two comments. Please do not make personally belittling comments, or swear at one another. You will know when you are crossing the line, so please don’t. This is actually the first time I have had to censor the comments.

  43. to bluegreenblogger. Like your site. I have recently decided to become involved with the party. I was involved in sales and marketing for 25 years and did manage to learn that many people follow the golden rule.Treat others the way you like to be treated. A noble thought. I prefer to treat people the way that THEY want to be treated. It shows more respect for the other person.

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