To help achieve the purposes of the LPC policy process, it must facilitate continuous engagement with Registered Liberals and extend beyond a traditional focus on convention and election cycles.
The policy-making efforts of a local Electoral District Association (EDA) or Commission Section are strengthened when they are focused through the delegation of specific responsibility to a Policy Chair. Each LPC EDA is required to have one. If your EDA or local Commission chapter does not have a local Policy Chair, it is important to recruit one.
All LPC Policy Chairs are responsible for promoting continuous engagement within their jurisdictions. This can include assembling a team or committee from a cross-section of local Registered Liberals and inviting non-partisan members within the community and/or subject matter experts to participate.
Examples of continuous engagement can include:
- logistical support for Liberal MPs’ engagement in the community
- organizing policy town-halls/socials in unheld ridings with LPC staff
- follow-up on prioritized resolutions through advocacy, correspondence and/or preparation of policy papers
- liaising with neighbouring riding associations and local Commission representatives about community priorities
- regular progress reports on LPC platform implementation to key stakeholders
- surveys on important issues within federal jurisdiction
- being active in local and provincial community/charitable causes
- coffee parties/coffee house chats
- other creative ideas developed by Commissions, Provincial and Territorial Boards and Electoral District Associations
RESEARCH AND CONSENSUS
No matter which kind of event your club or association creates, take steps to ensure participating members are informed for the topics and issues being discussed. Specific sources of information include:
- Statistics Canada and other government agencies
- your Liberal MP and other local elected representatives (they often know communities best!)
- on-line survey results
- economic and social policy advocacy groups
- Think Tanks and research institutions
- previous LPC policy resolutions and the 2015 election platform
- libraries and university departments, academic journals
- media reports
TOWN HALL MEETINGS
Public town hall meetings are used by MPs, Candidates, PTBs, EDAs and Commissions to be accessible and provide forums for the exchange of ideas that can help develop solutions to common problems.
Town Hall agendas can include speeches, debate and questions. In addition to an email invitation to local Liberals, promotion should be done visibly within the community such as notices in schools, grocery stores, community agencies, churches and community newspapers.
General meetings of local Registered Liberals can be an integral element of the LPC policy process. Successful events require:
- a focused agenda
- distribution of relevant information before the meeting
- respectful dialogue, and a chair with a strong grasp of the rules of procedure
- outreach to the broader community
- an openness to new ideas!
Panel discussions require detailed planning because they are more structured and normally focus on “hot” policy issues. Panelists can be political, non-partisan, or both. They should each bring specialized expertise on an issue or represent opposing viewpoints.
Each panel member should receive equal time (5-10 minutes) to present their position.
With the assistance of a meeting chair, the audience can be encouraged to ask questions and protect ample time for discussion. An advertised social period can be built into the program so interested participants have time to meet informally.
If you are having difficulty organizing a single large event, a modest series of smaller events or on-line forums may be productive. Small groups of five to eight people, gathering regularly to discuss can result in ideas, additional engagement opportunities and other constructive outcomes quite effectively. These groups should still have a strong leader to keep discussions on track.
Policy socials allow members to discuss issues in an informal setting. A knowledgeable specialist can be invited to give an informal talk to a group in someone’s home or intimate community gathering place. Open discussion, questions and answers should follow. A chair should be named to facilitate the discussion. Light refreshments can be served and further socializing encouraged after group discussion has ended.