Party on!

The process was as foolish as it was flawed from the get-go. I’m talking about the multiple choice ballots used by the Conservative Party of Canada for its leadership contest. Apparently the methodology was insisted upon by the Reform Party during one of the many amalgams that created today’s Conservatives. It was like a crazy uncle leaving you a fetid swamp along with a demand that you plant crops and make it productive.

Even such a brain as Kevin O’Leary couldn’t understand how the ranked balloting worked when other analysts on the CBC panel scoffed at his advice to supporters – just vote once, don’t pick other names for second, third, fourth etc. How does anyone get any growth, he was told, but the lightbulb never came on. And we all sat at home, watching for three hours, even though the outcome had already been decided backstage.

Now, it turns out, maybe there were some shenanigans. There’s a 7,500-vote discrepancy between the final ballot count and the list of voters. According to my morning paper, party officials are saying 3,000 people who voted at certain polling stations weren’t on the list. Worse, said the same source, there was “inconsistent data entry on about 4,000 ballots.” Sounds like election day in an emerging nation. Oh, and sorry, the ballots have all been destroyed so we can’t do a recount.

I have an answer. Call another leadership contest. Run it like they were in the past. Six delegates are elected by every constituency. They gather and vote at an arena in Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa. Somewhere around the fourth ballot, a candidate drops out and marches across the floor, taking their delegates along, to endorse another candidate. There’s a queen (or a king) and a queen- or king-maker. A secret ballot that’s all out in the open. What a concept!

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