Follies of denying grassroots' say

Staff ~ The Amherst Daily News
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Micro-managing simply isn't good when it comes to political bodies and political bosses.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff probably means well as he assembles his next team to run in an election. But just as he's lost credibility in the past month with his new-found, get-tough attitude with the government, he's also raising hackles in his own party by hand-selecting candidates.

This recent instance is denying longtime Liberal Martin Cauchon the opportunity to run in the Quebec riding of Outremont. Cauchon was in former prime minister Jean Chretien's cabinet and, as justice minister, was behind same-sex marriage legislation and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Our opinion -

Micro-managing simply isn't good when it comes to political bodies and political bosses.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff probably means well as he assembles his next team to run in an election. But just as he's lost credibility in the past month with his new-found, get-tough attitude with the government, he's also raising hackles in his own party by hand-selecting candidates.

This recent instance is denying longtime Liberal Martin Cauchon the opportunity to run in the Quebec riding of Outremont. Cauchon was in former prime minister Jean Chretien's cabinet and, as justice minister, was behind same-sex marriage legislation and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Ignatieff intends to appoint as the riding's candidate businesswoman Nathalie Le Prohon - possibly to help bolster the party's female ranks, which in itself is a fine course of action. But again, the idea is to let Liberals in the riding have their choice. What message does assigning candidates send to the local riding association?

Adding to the complication, some claim that Denis Coderre, Ignatieff's Quebec lieutenant, is behind the determination to assign Le Prohon. Some go a step further, saying that Coderre wants to thwart a comeback by Cauchon because he views him as a potential rival in a party leadership contest down the road.

At any rate, we've seen this before - in this party as well as in others.

Cauchon certainly has his share of backers. Bob Rae has said the party certainly needs to find a spot for him. He adds that he would add a socially progressive element to the party - something that would generally appeal to Quebecers and help set them apart from the Harper Conservatives.

There are various alternatives under consideration that could see this former minister given a spot to run.

But the party might for its own good want to review this tactic. Votes in any coming election will be tough enough to get. There's no point angering local party faithful about grassroots decisions.

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