Friday, February 19, 2016

Buying memberships in the Conservative party

 #cdnpoli #cpc

Peter Mackay and Stephen Harper merge parties back in 2003
The Conservative Party quietly changed the rules on how folks can buy party memberships.  Or should I say, changed how a campaign can buy memberships.  No longer can people pay cash to buy a membership--it's credit card or cheque only, and that cost has gone up from $15 to $25.

Something I knew was afoot many years ago during riding nomination races and seeing bus-loads of supporters show up to the vote.  And after cross-referencing, many resided from the same business address--a definite no-no.

I just wonder about the hundreds of people, who, perhaps do not have a credit card, or even a chequing account, or for someone to buy memberships via credit card on behalf of others, say your parents or kids.  Will the party really be that stringent on cross-checking the name on the membership slip with the name on the Visa?

That said, this is a bold and smart move to prevent stacking a particular campaign with supposed supporters and then just paying their membership fee by cash.  It's an old dirty trick that was sometimes effective.  Ask what's his name... you know .. the guy who was premier of Alberta for a bit there.

However, with the $25 fee, the party may find fewer folks buying memberships on there own.  I guess they would have to be rather serious and a strong supporter to do so.  Maybe I'm just cynical over a $10 difference.

All that in mind, when the two sides of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives (i.e. Stephen Harper and Peter Mackay) originally got together to negotiate the merging of the parties, the last point of contention was on leadership selection.  Eventually the PC-side rightfully won on their point of each riding having an equal weighting based on 100 points if that riding had a least a certain number of party members.  As opposed to a one member-one vote scenario.  I was in favour of the PC system because like in a federal election, parliament is won by number of riding seats, not total vote and it best mimics how a federal campaign should be run--nationally.  Otherwise, a leadership candidate could spend most of their time in densely populated areas and win rather than a majority of the ridings.

My point is, even with preventing the buying of memberships, say, in a pile of ridings with 1000 members each, that pile is equal to another pile of ridings with 100 members each.

How this will affect leadership candidates is too early to tell, but it will change the strategy for many who relied on mass numbers and for those who had the cash to buy mass memberships.