Managerial competence is above all, what I am looking for in the next policy chair of the Liberal Party of Canada. Maryanne Kampouris has been VP Policy for the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario for the last 5 years and, in my opinion, she is the candidate who has the expertise and the concrete plan to reform the policy process of the LPC.
I sent Ms. Kampouris a number of questions on her plans to reform the LPC policy process with a special focus on Youth/the YLC. Here are here answers:
1. What are your first three priorities for reforming the policy process of the Liberal Party of Canada?
Expand the year round ‘evergreen’ policy process that I initiated 5 years ago in Ontario. This would require:
- Party wide consultation on process, governance etc.
- Working with Caucus to ensure robust linkages are established for research and feedback
- Expanding and regularizing the database or resolutions that I started 4 years ago
- Ensuring that we have the resources to manage the process (volunteer / staff )
- Communicating regularly with members on process, policy initiatives, available resources, decisions taken by the National Policy and Platform Committee.
Build Capacity within each EDA and Club across the country to use policy as a community outreach and engagement process using some of the tools that I created and implemented in Ontario, BC and Alberta. This includes:
- Identifying EDAs and Clubs (and potential clubs) where we need to build capacity
- Ensuring that every EDA and Club has a Policy Chair
- Providing a job description, training and ongoing support for the Policy Chair to do his/her job (which already exist and have been used by EDAs in Ontario and the Senior’s Commission nationally)
- Providing support to EDA’s so that they can include policy events as part of their community outreach plans (including finding speakers, information . I would like to look into having ‘town halls in a box’)
- Training more policy reps to provide training to EDA’s and clubs on:
- Using Policy as an outreach mechanism
- Writing Policy resolutions
- Preparing for conventions and annual general meetings ( Note that I already have the courses, and the core training program – “Policy That Works” (Policy 101) – has been adopted as the National Policy and Platform Committee Standard which can be customized to meet the needs of each PTA and Commission, and we have started to roll it out in the West.)
2. How will you help the Young Liberals to not just sit at the kiddie policy table within the LPC?
- I don’t necessarily think that Young Liberals do sit at the “kiddie table” in LPC , although it sometimes might seem that way. I would like to add a personal note here on my observations: if there is any point at which the policy process is broken it is that all members work hard and most members feel that they have no real input.. This needs to be fixed for all members, not just Young Liberals This being said, there are some things that can be done to ensure that Youth is not / and is not seen to be / a barrier to full participation.
- I personally include all commission policy chairs as part of my PTA policy committee.. not as content experts but to ensure that the process we coordinate is inclusive of ALL of our members.
- I attend youth events as a participant, not just as a speaker who comes in to make a presentation and leaves… I stay for the full event.
- I would make sure that best practices of inclusion from across the Party are adopted in all PTAs so that the Young Liberals and other Commissions are treated as full members of the policy outreach and development team. This would de facto include them in the planning, organizing and decision making on the policy process and in adopting policies within the Party, as full members of the Liberal team.
3. What are your thoughts on the creation of a Liberal-affiliated think-tank?
- The Party already has access to experts to provide information when we are defining issues and designing solutions. We then consult with outside experts on our key policies, when necessary
- I believe that some of the think-tank proposals that are being suggested would have the effect of driving policy more into the hands of experts and out of the hands of our members . However, the consultative groups that were proposed by Senator Grant Mitchell – composed of a broad range of talent within the Party that would have information and solutions based on solid research – would be useful, IF – and this is a strong caveat – it does not become a substitute for member-driven policy initiatives, but rather a means of greater member consultation and participation.
- If a specific Think Tank is a consultative group, on which the members and Caucus can rely for core information as they work in their communities and propose policy, AND if the experts come from the broad member base (as opposed to being a select few of insiders), then I think that it would serve a purpose .
4. What role should the Young Liberals play in the policy process?
- I like the work that the Young Liberals do now; they identify issues that are important to their specific constituency; they carry out excellent research, often preparing background papers to support the policy proposals (resolutions for want of a better term); they debate the issues heartily; and they host events where policy is debated , they lobby on behalf of change with passion.
- I have personally enjoyed being invited and made part of the OYL Summer Flings and Youth Parliaments, and would see the inclusion of non-youth members in Youth policy events as a bonus.
- Because I believe that Policy is about outreach, I see Young Liberals as a group that can include more Canadian youth in discussions that provide the Party with additional perspective
- Youth outreach would provide the Party with an understanding of the issues that matter the most to this demographic, and let non-Liberals see the Party for what it is – an inclusive body of concerned and engaged citizens who believe in equality of individuals and work for equal access to opportunity for all. ( I should note that issues of interest to Young Liberals are not just issues that have a ‘youth twist’.)
5. How can the Liberal Party best reach beyond itself to make the policy process more dynamic?
- By engaging in the process with non-liberals in every riding, university, seniors’ organization, women’s organization, and community across this country to discuss issues of concern to our neighbours; designing solutions that are based on sound evidence that would address the environment in which we live; and communicating our policies and plans back to our neighbours and communities when we, as a Party, adopt a policy and work towards solving an issue that matters to our constituents / neighbours/ communities.
- By sharing what we find in our communities with other Liberals on a year – round basis and collaborating across EDA/ PTA / Club / Commission boundaries in finding evidence based policy solutions that we can agree on.
- By adopting an “evergreen” policy process that fosters ongoing discussion and resolution of problems. This includes running ongoing surveys that identify trends and concerns; sharing our results and our research with others who are working on similar issues of interest; hosting events to discuss / debate / find out about issues of concern and their solutions.
- Include non-members in our discussions and in helping us define sound and attractive policy solutions.