Accessibility in the Party
- As Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party I will take measures so that people with disabilities can participate fully as Party members, including leadership and nomination votes, policy making and other events.
- Email addresses will not be required in order to become a member as long as there is another, individually confirmed, method of two-way communication.
- Debates and other Party videos will be posted on Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/@OntarioLiberalTV, where closed captioning is available.
- Ballots will be printed in large print. Braille ballots will be available on request.
- Accessible locations will be booked for business meetings and votes, and personal support workers and service animals will be welcome. Hybrid, in-person/online, meetings will be used, when practical, to make meetings more accessible.
- On-line and regular mail voting will be an option, when practical, to make voting on party business more accessible.
Please contact Annie Peace-Fast at [email protected] with questions and/or requests about accessibility for this leadership race. Our campaign will ask a Party official or local returning officer to meet all requests so that barriers are removed.
Promise to Young Liberals
You are the future of the party. You will reap what we sow.
You give your time and energy to the party and its candidates. We should promise that you will be proud of your work and your party.
When you work for the Ontario Liberal Party and its candidates, we promise to
- treat you like a valuable member of a team
- provide you with work which includes opportunities for personal growth, such as gaining valuable workplace skills or personal contacts for future employment, inside or outside of politics.
- respect that you have commitments and activities (e.g. family, relationships, school) outside of politics. Supervisors will set clear and reasonable expectations with the assumption that you will decide whether these expectations fit into your life at the time and then respond clearly with your level of commitment so that all parties share an understanding.
- allow you the liberty of dissenting on policies or personalities. We will not pressure you, explicitly or implicitly, to be part of something you do not believe in.
- intervene if one team member is mistreating another. We will provide all staff with training to support a culture of mutual respect.
Let's work hard together, make each other proud, and build the future you deserve.
A More Impactful Party Policy Process
Current state: I hear from Liberals (and potential Liberals) from across the province who are disillusioned with our current Party policy process. They tell me that:
- They are impatiently waiting for a policy process to be initiated by the party leadership
- They feel their contributions don’t affect the election platform in the end
- They’ve watched elected MPPs and Party leaders ignore the results of past policy meetings
I understand these concerns. I’ve worked on policy as a rank and file member, as a candidate and as a caucus member - especially for the federal Liberal Party.
In fact, I have a unique perspective on this issue. I was the last Caucus Accountability Officer for the federal Liberal Party. In this role, I reconciled previously passed national policy resolutions with the activities of Liberal MPs and wrote a report to present to the Biennial National Convention, which I did in 2014. My work as Caucus Accountability Officer gave me a better appreciation for how Party policy resolutions can get ignored and how the process could be improved to better serve Party members and the elected caucus.
Elected MPPs and the leadership want to make sure that party policies are sound, have been critically reviewed, and can be sold to voters. If policy resolutions were considered and approved by a broad swath of members, instead of only the ones who attend and vote at policy meetings, they would be much more likely to be embraced by the leadership and elected MPPs.
My experience leads me to the following proposal for achieving a more impactful policy process which is controlled by the riding associations, by making it autonomous and setting a higher bar for approval. It can supplement the existing constitutional policy process.
1. Emphasis on research and context:
Policies must be written out with background notes explaining the current state of affairs and the rationale for the new policy, what objections there might be, why this policy hasn't been implemented before, and what the positions of the other parties might be. Supporting statements from experts may be attached. The package would be sent to all riding association presidents and policy directors.
2. Local initiative, local control, local endorsement:
Policy resolutions may be initiated at any time and need not wait for a centralized process to be initiated. Riding associations then send the information to members and hold local policy meetings with a quorum (that includes the local candidate, past candidate or elected member) to debate and vote on policy resolutions, in order to pass or reject them.
3. Province-wide support which is difficult for the leadership to ignore:
Policies are passed if a majority of riding associations in each of the nine regions of the province pass the resolution. Getting this broad approval forces policy proponents to effectively communicate the policy to fellow Liberals.
The bar is high for passing a resolution, and a lot of work has to be done by sponsoring riding associations to communicate with other riding associations, but successful policy resolutions will have earned a broad democratic mandate which the leader and caucus cannot ignore.
The Party will have to help its different organs to be actively in communication with each other, especially riding associations. This communication won’t need to be organized - or controlled - by the central Party. This reliance on local initiative and autonomy is important for the Party’s long term vitality.