Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Wide-Open Liberal Party ( #LPC #WPG2016 #cdnpoli )

The big news is the public announcement of the proposed changes to the Liberal Party constitution (via National Newswatch):
The proposal, adopted Saturday by the party's national board during a three-hour meeting with the prime minister in Halifax, would do away entirely with the long-held principle that only dues-paying, card-carrying members are entitled to take part in party activities.
Reviewing this preliminary release, I am certainly in favour of some of the proposed changes and cautiously optimistic about the rest.

I've always long supported open conventions, especially when developing policy. I think more consensus brought about by talking with more people is a good thing. Having run and lost delegate selection meetings, it can be deflating when you want to participate.

I think the challenge will be in the open nominations part. I think it's going to have the unintended consequence of calling for more transparency in  the party's Green Light process. Not necessarily a bad thing.

That said - I'm not entirely sure $10 is an insurmountable barrier to openness. It represents a commitment to the ideals of the party. The Conservative Party, in contrast, raised their membership fee to $25 to prevent openness and restrict access to reforming the party.

I'm presuming delegates will be presented with the formal proposal prior to the convention and I'll review the details then.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Report: How the Right to Deny the Existence of God is Under Threat Globally

Via, the Independent, How the right to deny the existence of God is under threat globally:
Atheists and humanists are increasingly being targeted as distinct minorities in “hate campaigns” across the globe, according to a new report which found that religious and political leaders are ratcheting up rhetoric against those who believe there is no God.
... 
The Freedom of Thought Report, which rates every country in the world for anti-atheist persecution, found that almost all countries discriminate against the non-religious, in some cases through religious privilege or legal exemption.
Canada's blasphemous libel law, religious tax exemptions, and public funding of religious schools made the report (among others).

From Canada's section within the report, on page 191:
Despite what should be strong constitutional protections for freedom of thought and expression, significant religious privileges are in force [in Canada], both nationally and in several of its ten provinces and three territories.

You can download the full report here.

I was pleased to see the Liberal Party of Canada (Alberta) propose a resolution to repeal Canada's blasphemous libel law. I hope to see it on the Winnipeg biennial floor.

It's certainly far worse elsewhere in the world, no question. Doesn't mean there isn't work to be done here.

Hopefully, we can remove some of these policies.