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.


Anonymous said...

old white guy says..........I was a member and financial supporter for years, was on nominating committees and attended meetings regularly. I finally decided that after Mike Harris went to the dark side, liberal lite, I would no longer support them. I still will vote for a "conservative" if there is true conservative running in my riding, if not, no vote. Show me conservative values and I will get onside again, but not before. By the way Mike Harris did not reduce the side or the cost of government when in power. He had one year where he held the line, but that is not reducing the size and cost of government. Show me a conservative, other than myself.

Anonymous said...

The CPC has not accepted cash over $20. for many years, so buying bulk memberships with cash is illegal. However, an individual purchasing a one year membership for $15. was OK. This move is to encourage multiple year memberships as they remain $15. per year (only one year memberships have increased to $25.) and thus less admin costs as well.
BTW, how many people do you know that have neither credit card or chequing accounts? Also, are you aware that all EDA's are audited by Elections Canada and that there must be a paper trail for ALL transactions?

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings on this. Certainly instant member sign ups can lead to abuse and you definitely don't want that, at the same time I would like the party to have as broad a membership as possible. Perhaps maybe keep this but give a student and seniors discount. I support keeping every riding equally weighted as in order to win nationally you need appeal across the country and if you did a one member one vote it would skew things heavily towards areas the Tories are already strong in (Prairies, BC Inteior, and rural Ontario), not areas they need to gain in order to win (Atlantic Canada, urban/suburban ridings etc.).

dmorris said...

This is another not-very-well-thought out idea, the CPC seems to be full of them. Instead of increasing membership to $25/year, which can be hard on the pocketbook of many Seniors and students, as well as the working poor,keep the price the same and amend the rules.
If they're SO worried about last minute signups,change the CPC rules so no one can vote unless they have been a member for one year.

LPC membership is currently $10/year, so I can join the winning Party for much less, AND I will be entered into a contest to meet the Prime Minister!!!

What to do,oh,what to do?

Anonymous said...

Please note:
1 yr. membership is $25.
2 yr. membership is $30. = $15. per year
3 yr. membership is $45. = $15. per yr.
5 yr. membership is $60. = $12. per yr.
I've been a membership director for over ten years and have never had any complaints about the cost! It appears that membership is more important to our supporters than the cost of a few Timmies a year and our members know where the money is going and it's end purpose!
Also, be advised it is illegal for anyone to buy bulk memberships (and has been for a long time) i.e. as described in the blog post! Purchasing more than a 5 yr. membership is also not allowed.
Furthermore, do not confuse Federal and Provincial rules as they are often quite different.