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What passed and what was defeated at Ottawa 2012

Posted by Ian McKay on January 16, 2012 | No Comments

With some 3200 delegates now home safe and sound, we know many of you are keen to take stock of what we achieved together at Ottawa 2012 – Liberal Biennial Convention.

In particular we’re hearing a lot of requests for a list of what constitutional amendments and policy resolutions passed or were defeated at the policy plenary.

So without further ado, here it is.

- Ian McKay

National Director & Convention General Secretary

Ottawa 2012 Constitutional Amendments – Results

Successful Amendments:

Amendment 1: Elimination of the National Revenue Committee and Appointment of Chief Revenue
Amendment 2: Registration of supporters of the Liberal Party
Amendment 3: Participation of supporters in Leadership Vote
Amendment 5: Annual strategic plan and annual report tabled by the National Board of Directors
Amendment 6 (regarding candidate nominations)
Amendment 8 (regarding the addition of the National Policy Vice-Chair to the Policy Approval
Amendment 11 (regarding EDA Trusteeship)
Amendment 13: Officers of the Council of Presidents
Amendment 14: Chair of the Council of Presidents as a member of the National Board of Directors
Amendment 15: Meetings of the Council of Presidents
Amendment 16 (regarding the secretary of the Council of Presidents)
Amendment 19: Election of a National Campaign Co-Chair
Amendment 20: Representation of PTAs on the National Election Readiness Committee
Amendment 23: Policy prioritization process at a biennial convention
Amendment 24: Amendment to the Preamble of the Constitution

Defeated Amendments:

Amendment 4: Participation of supporters in candidate selection meetings of their EDA
Amendment 7: Removing the Leader’s veto over the content of the Policy Platform
Amendment 9: Election of Executive Officers using a “one member, one vote” system
Amendment 10: Prioritization of policy resolutions using a weighted “one member, one vote” system
Amendment 12: Electing a Leader using a system of staggered regional voting days
Amendment 17: Candidate selection meeting to be held at the request of an EDA
Amendment 18: Withdrawal of nomination contestant or nominated candidate following criminal
Amendment 21: Appointment of candidates of the Party for election to the House of Commons
Amendment 22: Rules of Order for the conduct of a biennial convention
Amendment 25: Liberal members’ initiative
Amendment 26: Inclusion of priority policy resolutions in Party Platform

Ottawa 2012 Policy Resolutions – Results

Successful Resolutions

1. Agriculture and Food Policy (PEI)
11. Mental Health as a National Health Priority (NS, YLC)
12. Science and Policy (NS)
16. Comprehensive Integrated Rail Transportation System (ON)
18. Democratic Renewal (ON)
20. National Water Policy (ON)
26. Lake Winnipeg and the Lake Winnipeg Watershed (MB)
30. The Infrastructure Deficit (MB)
31. Fiscal Responsibility (MB)
36. Post-Secondary Education (AB)
39. Canadian Wheat Board (SK, MB, AB)
40. Medical Isotopes in Canada (AB)
44. Oil Sands Environmental Impact (AB)
46. National Housing Strategy (BC, Caucus)
47. Early Childhood Development and Child Care (BC, AB, SK)
53. Comprehensive Plan for Post-Secondary Education (BC, AB)
56. Northern Economic Vulnerability (YK, Caucus)
58. Reaffirming Women’s Right to Reproductive Health Services (NWLC)
68. Homecare, Long-term Care and Palliative Care (Caucus)
72. Canadian Pension Security (Caucus, PEI, NB)
73. Supporting Canada’s Aboriginal People (SK, APC)
79. Preferential Balloting System (SK)
83. Pensions and Seniors Income (SLC)
84. Home Care (SLC)
93. Overrepresentation of Aboriginal People in Canada’s Correctional System (NU, APC)
95. Reinstatement of the Millennium Excellence Award Program (QC)
96. Canada’s International Standing (QC)
99. Accelerated Development of Clean, Renewable, and of conservation and energy efficiency in
Canada (QC, SK)
117. Legalize and Regulate Marijuana (YLC, BC)

Defeated Resolutions

114. Canadian Identity in the 21st Century (YLC)

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  1. Avatar of Kannan Nair Kannan Nair said on

    Successful Resolution – Legalize and Regulate Marijuana is not acceptable.

    • Avatar of Rhys Jones Rhys Jones said on


      Though you and I may find the use of drugs morally and ethically wrong, it is evident that their use will continue despite all efforts to stop drugs from entering our country or being grown and distributed in our country.
      This new resolution simply acknowledges that a new strategy of controlling drug use in Canada needs to be formed so that we may better control the illegal distribution of drugs.
      Organized crime pulls in multi billions of dollars every year from Canadians using illegal marijuana. If we regulate and distribute marijuana in a responsible manner then perhaps we can take those billions out of the pockets of organized crime and hit them where it really hurts – which is in the pocket book.
      We do not need to condone the use of drugs, but we must develop a new policy to replace one that has never worked.

    • Avatar of David Momotiuk David Momotiuk said on

      The resolution is fine for now. It is a mature approach to something so reasonable. What we need to prepare for is potential grandfathering clauses that might infer human rights abuses and claims.

      Proper sales transactions, amount limits and latitudes, consumption locations and social context are the relevant details that need to be determined acceptable or less than preferred.

  2. Avatar of Jean Proulx Jean Proulx said on

    Missing from this is a list of amendments that were not voted on due to lack of time. We should have started voting earlier. One of my only quibbles in an otherwise outstanding convention.

    My congratulations and gratitude to all the organizers, staffers and volunteers.

  3. Avatar of Roger Palfree Roger Palfree said on

    I was taken aback by the awful grammatical errors and sloppy composition of some of these policy proposals. A prime example is this garbled title “Accelerated Development of Clean, Renewable, and of conservation and energy efficiency in Canada” which was repeated as the kernel of the resolution (99 above). As one of the other delegates who complained but was brusquely dismissed from the microphone said, it is an embarrassment for Liberals to have poorly formulated resolutions brought all the way to be voted on at such a major event.

    • Avatar of Terence Johnson Terence Johnson said on

      That resolution in question was from Quebec and the word in question was there in the original French text. Bear in mind that much of the work of bringing resolutions forward is done by grassroots volunteers, not paid staff, and that companies are no longer allowed to donate translation services to political parties, thanks to Mr. Harper.

      • Avatar of Roger Palfree Roger Palfree said on

        It is easy for me to be kind and understanding, Terence, but I want to provide feedback which will improve the overt quality of the Liberal movement. At what point do we stop being sloppy? Resolutions? Press releases? Bills? For the amendments and policy resolutions I sat in several different places in a huge packed room, yet I was always sitting next to educated and thoughtful people. Within our national party, there are surely many who would volunteer to give a critical review of the important business documents so that we catch poor composition and poor translations before the final delegates’ package. I would volunteer. We really have to do better.

        • Avatar of Terence Johnson Terence Johnson said on

          Once of the ideas I heard over the weekend was the suggestion of setting up a “talent bank” so the party staff can easily reach out to volunteers with skills in translation, communications, event planning, etc.

  4. Avatar of Graham Stewart Graham Stewart said on

    I have been unable to persuade my wife that political activism can be a useful endeavour. She has been an observer from the sidelines – probably because she has been trying to figure out why I have been engaged in the process and why I would be so naive to think that my participation would ever make a difference. She sees politics as being insincere manipulation in which expediency and the drive for power always trumps either evidence or principle. She thought that the idea of unpaid supporters was simply silly wishful thinking. She would not take out a membership because of her skepticism and distaste for fundraising email. My own view was that I didn’t expect that many would bother becoming supporters but that it might serve the symbolic purpose of demonstrating the willingness of the party to be open.
    While I was at the convention she watched significant portions on-line at home. I would send a text message when I thought interesting parts were coming up. On my return she said to me that she was surprised and heartened to see thousands of people who put principle and evidence before political expediency. She thought now that the supporter category was something that appealed to her and represented a step towards engagement that she was comfortable taking. She liked the idea of “dating before marriage”.
    Wow! I know this is only one person, but If you knew the effort I had put in, unsuccessfully, to involve her and the strength of her resistance, you would be very encouraged. If we can reach my wife with her studied cynicism towards politics there must be millions of other that might be willing to take the same step if they can see and believe that this is a deeply principled party.
    I now think adding the supporter category was a brilliant move.

    • Avatar of André Brisebois André Brisebois said on

      Thanks for sharing your great story Graham.

  5. Avatar of Jesse Rosenberg Jesse Rosenberg said on

    I believe we also voted on constitutional amendment 11, on EDA Trusteeship.

  6. Avatar of Richard Richard said on

    Well Graham, You lucky guy, I am still working on my wife, she will be joining me, to see Mr. Rae, in London, Friday night, mostly because she doesn’t want to stay home a lone, so there is always hope. Ha Ha

  7. Avatar of joan spice joan spice said on

    Question: Where can I get copies of the actual resolutions that were passed –not just the titles? I attended the convention but never managed to be there at the right moment to get copies.

  8. Avatar of Michael Poirier Michael Poirier said on

    Right accross the country of canada, there are people that struggle just to get food every day. From east coast to west coast, there are canadians that struggle to have the shelter of a roof over there heads everyday. There is a great problem of unemployment in canada, from Atlantic to Pacific.

    There are the resources to solve these problems. The government is capable of solving these problems but they don’t; and they become acceptable issues in society. Politiciens that accept these issues, are the problem. Hunger, homelessness, and unemployment is unacceptible. Any true group of leaders would Love their people enough to resolve these issues.

    The house of commons is like a degrassi jr high, debate going nowhere. The beautiful geography, and beautiful people of Canada have infinite potential; and the government is letting them down. Canada needs a Revolution of Love in the lives of the people

  9. Avatar of Graham Stewart Graham Stewart said on

    If you want a great read on the alternative to austerity see Alex Hemilfarbs blog entitled the Price of Austerity. Anyone who thinks the route to releiving inequality is through austerity or who thinks austerity is a necessary evil might be plesantly surprised to read this article by a person of Alex’s stature – having been the Clerk of the Privy Council no less. see

  10. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    Here is what I wrote on a C.B.C. blog shortly after the Convention. It was given a very positive response by other readers there.

    According to most of the people I spoke to over the weekend, in the Convention, on line and out in the street, there we’re three of four main issues that the Liberal Party adopted as official policy that was to the liking of a great deal of Canadians. Whether these adoptions bring sweeping changes to the Canadian political landscape remains to be seen, but if unanimous acceptance of them comes from the people being talked to is any indication. Some of the resolutions passed by the Liberals over the weekend could very well be History in the making.

    However because there is not room here, to talk about all three of those things. I will have to choose just one for here and make separate posts about the other two.

    I think its a mile stone that a Political Party in this country has chosen to give the general public the opportunity to have a direct say in who they think their next Leader should be. While many Political Party’s have made claims in the past that they have had real democratic processes within their Party’s to elect their Leader. Up until now such has only been lip service in comparison to what the Liberals have adopted as official Party policy. Giving any Canadian citizen over the age of 18 the right to decide who their next Leader should be.

    Some may argue what the Liberal Party has decided to do is ludicrous, but I happen to think the Canadian population are fed up with the political games that have being played on them and it’s high time a Political Party in this Country have vowed to put their money where their mouth is. While the most used term in politics today is expressed in the word transparency, what it really comes down to is actions not words that speak the loudest. Only the Liberals have choose to be democratic not just say it.

  11. Avatar of Edna McCarthy Edna McCarthy said on

    I was very interested in the resolution of having a Canadian as our head of state. I find it demeaning as a Canadian that the only person who cannot be head of state of Canada is a Canadian.

    The Liberal Party should be proud of the role that it has played in Canadianizing our country.

    With Immigration Minister, Paul Martin,Sr., Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King gave us the Citizenship in 1947 which, for the first time, made us citizens of Canada instead of British Subjects.

    Seaking a unique design without colonial symbolism, Liberal PM Lester Pearson was responsible in 1965 for the birth of our Maple Leaf Flag.

    In 1982, Liberal PM Pierre Elliott Traudeau, brought home our Constitution, allowing it to be ammended on our own soil rather than by act of Britain’s Parliament.

    After the Queen’s reign we need a bold Liberal Leader and Party to champion the cause of a made in Canada head of state.As it stands now the GG does ALL the work as head of state, so why not reform the office and make it our head of state.The British Monarchy does NO WORK as our head of state.

    The resolution should not have stated an elected head of state.Canadians can only take small changes.

    • Avatar of Roger Palfree Roger Palfree said on

      Quite so, it is easy to favour having a clearly Canadian head of state, but it is important not to let simple-minded arguments land us with a much worse system. It is valuable to have a head of state who is above politics. For me it is very important. In fact I would like the Senate too to be composed of only non-partisan members–we might get more “sober second thought” that way. An elected position does not necessarily become tainted by politics, but it is a real danger. The degree to which an office is above politics and able to represent all Canadians depends greatly on the powers and duties which define the position. We are not ready for the change until we understand what we now have and what we want in a head of state. After that has been determined, we will then be ready to discuss the mechanism by which the head of state is selected, which may be another tricky problem. It is definitely not something to be allowed to be pushed ahead by an ill-considered and poorly presented resolution at a time when we have more immediate and important business.

      • Avatar of Edna McCarthy Edna McCarthy said on

        Please tell me how the present system is above politics? The only person who can appoint our GG, who does all the work as head of state, is the PM.When we had our first Constitutional crisis a couple of years ago, the PM met with GG Jean. The Queen, who has the role as head of state, was no where to be found. So since the GG does all the work as head of state, then reform the office to make it more democratic and all Canadian.

        Out of some 220 countries in the world; only three major ones, Canada,Australia and New Zealand have a foreigner and non-resident as their so called head of state. At least Australia and New Zealand are debating the issue.In fact out of some 52 members of the Commonwealth, around 40 are republics.

        There will always “be more important things to do”(your words), but what is more important than having a Canadain citizen as our head of state? Why should only one family; The British Royal Family, who do nothing more than that cost us a lot of money every time they come to Canada be the only family to provide us with our head of state?

        • Avatar of Roger Palfree Roger Palfree said on

          Appointed by the Queen on the sole advice of the PM. GG is not a member of any party, and can therefore represent Canadians in a non-political way. Like most people, I am no expert on these matters, but I see a system which has evolved over a long time, and includes power in the role of GG which traditionally bows to the will of the democratic government, but which could be used beneficially in a crisis, and I think it is not a trivial exercise to replace it with something as good. By the way, I did not see what happened in 2008 as a constitutional crisis. The Liberals and NDP were certainly within their rights, regardless of Harper’s false statements, to plan to use a non-confidence vote to bring down the Conservative government and attempt to form a coalition government. Harper played a legitimate card in deciding to ask for prorogation before the vote could take place, and used the opportunity to work out a new fiscal plan which the Liberals could support in 2009. I was looking forward to seeing how a Liberal-NDP coalition would have worked, and at first was disappointed the GG agreed to the prorogation, but she sought good independent advice, and I think the right decision was made. If the Conservatives had not made some concessions (and had not mounted such misleading but sadly successful attack on the would-be coalition), another attempt at forming a coalition govenment could have been made in 2009. It was a crisis of sorts, but not a constitutional crisis.

  12. Avatar of George Lundquist George Lundquist said on

    While I was encouraged by the vitality and renewal of this convention I would have liked to see a greater (as well as more specific) focus on the economy. We cannot allow Harper to claim this crucial area as his own!

  13. Avatar of Peter Skipper Peter Skipper said on

    I like the Liberal website so Liberals may communicate with each other across Canada.
    I note that Bob Rae has indicated Liberals are able to span the interests between pipelines and the environment with what I am assuming is some balancing act or compromise between the two realities. With the investment in the tar sands, no doubt shareholders represented by big companies want something out of it. As energy needs go at present, we need oil to run our economy and the revenue from such resources bankrolls Canadians and foreign shareholders alike.
    However, the way issues are framed and what questions we look into is what usually we pay attention to, debate and act within those perceptions. Bob Rae’s current sojourn across Canada in highlighting the importance of education is fundamental to human and technological progress. Innovation and research continue to amplify our potential for good or bad. I hope the Liberal Party (I much admire Dion as a courageous leader in this venue) will shift the debate to other means or ways to sustain our energy needs economically. It will take time but for the sake of future generations this task falls upon us.
    The article below highlights some of the possibilities and challenges:

  14. Avatar of Robert Hawthorne Robert Hawthorne said on

    one way to change the way politics is managed would be to insist all
    MP’s and Senators must wear a patch on thier jackets telling the world which lobbyists they receive support from, like a NASCAR coat.
    then we will know up front who is running our country!
    one small example would be harper and the oil industry. due to harper’s tight relationship with the industry he chose to cut thier taxes by 2%, at a time when they pull in billions in profits per quarter? the next group he will subsidize is the banking sector, who are also raking in profits that border on obscene.
    we need to put democracy back in the hands of the people and kick the corporations to the curb.


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