Tom Manley Reports from the National Liberal Convention in Montreal – Friday February 21, 2014

Tom Manley Reports from the National Liberal Convention in Montreal – Friday February 21, 2014

tominmtlCFN – This is Tom Manley reporting from the floor of the national convention in Montreal of the Liberal Party of Canada. I am traveling from Cornwall and Stormont Dundas South Glengarry. With me are Del Jones of Morrisburg, president of the SDSG Federal Liberal Association and declared candidate for the Liberal provincial nomination. I am also with David Jones of Morrisburg who is currently studying in Toronto.

David’s participation is motivated by Justin Trudeau, the Party Leader, his leadership style and his ability to connect with Canadians. Justin is a breath of fresh air in contrast to Stephen Harper. David is excited by the new momentum that the Party has acquired.  He is also looking forward to the discussion on the policy proposal for a guaranteed minimum income.

Del comes to the convention keen on seeing how Justin’s key economic message for the middle class will translate into policy resolutions. Del piloted several policy proposals from SDSG through the regional and provincial prioritization process. He is pleased to see several proposals find common ground in other ridings and get blended with other proposals.

I am here for the political process. Keen on seeing a Liberal win in 2015, I observe and note the game, the machinations, the energy and enthusiasm, and the platform being assembled for 2015.

This is my fourth Liberal national convention in a row after participating in Dion’s election, Ignatieff’s election, the reconstruction convention in Ottawa and now here today.

This convention is different from the others. There is no leadership race. The executive council elections are limited with many positions acclaimed. The other conventions had lots at stake and felt open to differemt possibilities. This convention seems constructed. The highlighted banners carry Justin’s message “Hope and Hard Work – J’embarque”. The opening discussion with the former US Secretary of the Treasury set the stage and the justification for Justin’s key messages about a mixed market economy, long term investments in people and infrastructure, and smart regulations. Don’t get me wrong. I support almost of what was said.  I merely observed how the stage was crafted to construct the platform at a national convention intended to allow the resolutions bubble up from the grass roots.

Justin’s opening speech was good and stirred the thousands in the audience. But it was not intended for us in the room. It was clearly intended for a national audience. He opened at length in French only praising his home town of Montreal. He took direct aim at the PQ’s charter of values but attacked it differently in English and in French.

It will be a great convention of a Party building its momentum. As one long time Liberal MP told me : “Things are getting better and many things still have to get better yet”.

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I too am interested in a debate on a guaranteed minimum income policy. Will this replace current income programs for example, or be something else? How could it be used to encourage people to be self sufficient in a short amount time?

“PQ’s charter of values but attacked it differently in English and in French” why would Justin be giving different messages to Quebec than the rest of Canada? Will that continue?