Monday, November 7, 2011

Winning!

Sorry to mislead, this post has nothing to do with the actor and party animal Charlie Sheen. However, in March of 2011, Sheen redefined the term "winning" to give it a more ironic twist. The usual meaning: "the act of a person or thing that wins" (without tiger blood etc.), applies here. Sure, money would have been most welcomed as a winning, but, in this case it's a political win, unusual enough for me.
On the weekend, the Ontario Libertarians had a convention where they chose me as the party leader, and I'm grateful for that; but my family, well, some misgivings there.
A political party Convention such as we had, would ordinarily get wide press coverage (there was local coverage). But, we are not a large group, though we are growing. Its pretty clear to me why we are growing, and why more people want the party to have more influence and impact.
We are the only real alternative to the "big government" statist political parties. Their failures at governing (or over-governing), are becoming visible each and every day, to all but the most collectivist minded people.
Just a few months ago, I had no intention of seeking the leadership of this party, it had not even crossed my mind. But as we drew closer to the provincial election on Oct. 6, 2011, I realized that it was possible to reach our stated goal of 60-plus candidates across the province. In fact, 74 people had come forth and completed some level of paperwork toward candidacy by early September. Ultimately, only 51 people jumped through all the hoops, still twice the number we had fielded in the previous election; impressive enough. The missing ingredient may have been leadership, like the inspirational coach that urges the team on to victory, that may be all that was required for the final push to 74.
Canadian libertarian parties have a sad history of invisible leaders. In the last Federal election (May 2, 2011) the Federal Libertarian leader was AWOL, he didn't even run; he disappeared not long after his leadership election. So, just a paltry 23 candidates represented the party in that election. The Ontario leader for the past 15 years was more visible, but not all an activist, so appeared absent. Of course the cloak of invisibility is sewn by the media, but it's the leaders themselves that provide the thread and the fabric.
Don't get me wrong, leadership alone is not sufficient for attention and success. Look at our scions the Freedom Party. Their leader was quiet visible in the media (to me anyway), especially television. He is articulate and presents himself as a reasonable alternative, and they had 56 candidates in the last election, yet received only half of our total vote count. So leadership, while important, isn't sufficient. It was supremely important however, for the NDP Federally in May, with media help and hype. That just tells me the message needs to be agreeable to the media.....too bad.
My political awakening these last three years, has shown me that political parties in Canada are remarkably flimsy things, I don't think most people know that. When I ran as a candidate over the last three years, newspaper reporters would ask me where my campaign headquarters were, and who my manager was. Surprise, surprise, my home and me.
Parties can be in government with a huge majority then literally disappear after and election (Kim Campbell in 1993 lost 167 seats). The Federal Progressive Conservatives are now gone from the scene, though Brian Mulroney had a huge majority once. Politics is a risky business. Sometimes you may need that Adonis DNA to survive.
   

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