Justin Trudeau plans mean “there would no longer be any party members”

One Canadian Liberal idea I suspect Liberal Democrats will be less keen on:

Justin Trudeau is pushing a proposed new constitution for the Liberal Party of Canada aimed at transforming the federal party from an exclusive club into a wide-open political movement.

The proposal, adopted Saturday by the party’s national board during a three-hour meeting with the prime minister in Halifax, would do away entirely with the long-held principle that only dues-paying, card-carrying members are entitled to take part in party activities.

Indeed, there would no longer be any party members. Instead, anyone willing to register with the party — for free — would be eligible to participate in policy development, nomination of candidates, party conventions and the selection of future leaders.

The proposal builds on a change adopted by Liberals four years ago, when they agreed to let anyone willing to sign up for free as a party supporter vote in leadership contests. [CBC News. Hat tip: Lawrence Fullick]

There definitely are useful lessons for the Liberal Democrats from our sister party in Canada (and you can see the ones I’ve written about here). Or indeed from one of our sister parties in Holland.

In this case, it’s a matter of extracting the underlying point from the country-specific context, namely about how parties need to reach out beyond their traditional membership base. For the Liberal Democrats, in the UK context, that should be about having a Friends of the Liberal Democrats scheme.

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