On January 13, 2024, at the International Inn in Winnipeg, the PC Party of Manitoba had a meeting to discuss their Leadership selection rules. The need to set up these new rules was predicated originally on the fiasco that resulted from the election of a new leader in 2021, after the resignation of Premier Pallister.
2021 Leadership Process Recap:
In 2021, the leader of Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives (Mr. Pallister) announced that he would soon quit.
The party backroom set up some rules.
The backroom rejected one candidate, without giving any reason.
The ballot process ignored all ballot-integrity conventions.
The backroom ignored the election results and gave the leadership to the daughter of a long-time elected rep. She had been an elected rep herself for 20 years.
January 13, 2024 Meeting
The leadership of the party decided that they needed to convince the party membership that they were taking proactive steps to alleviate any concerns that arose out of the 2021 leadership fiasco. They wrote a report with proposed changes and then held a meeting on January 13, 2024 to present the changes to the membership and hold a "vote" on these proposed changes.
If those running this party and its events were less "imperious" their blunders would be less frequent.
These people have absolute control over the only means that Manitobans have to achieve decent government. Some say that our government must stop making life here worse. The PC backroom needs to accept advice and constructive criticism.
On January 13th, 2024 they showed that they still do not understand that fact. From wasting our time upon arrival, to completely missing the boat on ballot integrity, this meeting was another failure.
Did you attend this PC Party meeting?
Feel free to add your thoughts as comments below.
650 persons were invited, at 10+1 per riding times 57 ridings and some executives. Less than half that many attended including Zoom delegates and some 'observers'. Hundreds of attendees is still lots of enthusiastic PC members.
I arrived about 15 minutes early, but checking-in was slow. There were 4 work-stations at the registration table. I have run AOAC events this big at this place. We always had a big reception and line-up-and-wait area. As soon as we found their name on our prepaid list, we handed them their participant package, and they went in.
Today, after 10-15 minutes in line, my name was crossed off on a paper list, by one of the two folks at primary-check-in, then we had to walk 30m away, and join another line. When we got to the front of that line, one of two secondary greeters crossed our names off a second paper list, and we were handed a red-and green voting card and a bit of paper (it bore my name and served as my proof of being a delegate.
I was then invited to enter the big room. If I had brought one of my necklace-badge-holders from previous events, I would have used it. I cut a slot in the paper tag, and slipped a shirt button through it. Everyone else just put it in their pocket. The registration was at the front doors. It should have been a hundred m away down a hall, so that new arrivals did not mingle with those fully checked in. Done right, every arrival would have been logged in, none would have skipped the process, and more than twice as many checked in per minute. It took about 30 minutes to get past the gatekeepers.
There were carafes of ice and water and trays of cookies at the back of the room. There was also a team of workers on computers at the back of the room. They were working the Zoom attendees and any recording. As motions were made, a person typed what they heard, as the words appeared on the 3 big screens along the front wall of the big room.
Sadly they did not use an edit program like WORD-TRACK-CHANGES, so every edited paragraph meant typing the whole thing. The changed words did not pop-out in red or green. A proper edit program really was needed but not provided.
The meeting was called to order, then the brief 5 point agenda was approved.
Party President Brent Pooles spoke for a couple of Minutes then we heard from Leader and ex Premier Stephanson.
Next to speak was Lawrence Toet, co-author of the report on the 2021 debacle.
The other co-author did not attend, but we were told that he might check in on Zoom... (?) He explained the time line of his report. We were told that Lawrence was Shelly's campaign manager.
That was intended to make his report more objective, but it failed to correct all the things wrong with it.
Privately, I asked Lawrence why his report says that the 2021 court case (where Shelly sought to have the fake result dismissed) was in the COURT OF KINGS BENCH, when it was called Queen's Bench in 2021. He said that it was his lawyer co-author who said to use "King's".
Once again, the back room tells us black is white, and it cannot be changed.
We were told that a motion to change a rule required a 2/3 vote to pass. This creates a high threshold, which tends to keep the backroom's full ruleset.
A Vote in favor required the person to hold their card up, showing the green side to the front of the room. If the green cards were less than 2/3 of the room, the motion was declared lost.
Later in the meeting a member raised an issue. The chair had declared that those abstaining were being counted as votes against. The member said that the red and greens should be counted in turn, each time, and recorded. It was pointed out that the guests (media) may have been counted as votes against.
This means that all the previous votes should have been repeated. The chair ignored that valid complaint, and no one stood to make a point of order. I had not read all the voting rules, and had been speaking more than any other delegate, so I did not stop the meeting at that point.
There were 6 folks crossing the front of the room to count cards. Each proponent (i.e. the person making the motion) should have done their own counts, too, from the front of the room, as in scrutineering the vote. I mentioned that we needed scrutineers of the cards raised to friends in the room, who agreed.
Lots of small tweaks were made to the election rules.
I moved that a subcommittee of the Leadership-Election-Committee be created. Its purpose would be to deal with all the issues that would concern scrutineers. It would deal with ballot integrity. I explained that everything that went wrong with the ballots in 2021 could have been prevented and corrected by such a subcommittee.
Sadly, Brent trivialized it, called it a committee to deal with scrutineers, and then declared the motion DEFEATED.
We are doomed to repeat every blunder and every possible form of cheating that seems to have taken place in 2021.
There was a motion to forbid anyone from using cash to buy a membership. A woman from McPhillips said that this would be a barrier for those who do not buy everything with a card or a phone. That motion was defeated; cash will be allowed, but only with a fully fill-in membership application and proof of ID.
I made a second motion, that Rule 2-L be deleted. 2L is new; it allows electronic and on-line voting. The wording itself shows the inexperience of the author. (Any online ballot is based on electronic devices and technology. These 2 options mean the same thing.) In my explanation, I pointed out that recent city and MB elections were paper-ballot elections with a machine to count the paper ballots as they were scanned. Nothing more. I pointed out that when cheating happens during a software-only-involved election, no one will ever know, because there is no record of anything. There is no way to prove election integrity with full-e-voting.
I pointed out that results from the 2022 city election took longer than one where paper ballots were counted by hand. After 2 hours only half of the polls had been counted, and Media called the wrong winner for Mayor.
A big guy in a blue suit spoke saying that Fox news proved that no cheating was possible, and that the convenience of voters was more important than having security rules.
Brent then said that the LEO (backroom) would only choose e voting if it was secure.
I spoke again (nice that I was allowed multiple turns at the microphone) and reminded voters that e-voting would never be secure; any security technology can be defeated by a skilled hacker.
This motion was declared by Brent DEFEATED.
There was no indication on screen or from the chair on the number of votes in support of any motion at the meeting. It is conventional at such meetings for the numbers for and against to be displayed on all the screens. The party is headed to an online election of its next leader. I pointed out that any cheating during a pure online election will go undiscovered by anyone. Any thumb on the scale will be completely hidden.
Some folks spoke against the concept of one member=one vote.
The idea that one=one will lead to an evil candidate taking over the party and its Agenda is very far-fetched. While one member one vote has been the basis of democracy for millennia, some backroom folks seem to fear that this gives rural folks (who buy memberships in larger numbers) too much influence.
If the failure of the party to mail ballots to rural members in 2021 was deliberate, it would have been to suppress the influence of those living south and west of Winnipeg.
The newly approved election rules suppress the votes in ridings where the most members live.
Some of us spoke of the merits in selling many memberships, and of looking fully democratic to the public. I emphasized the fact that the formula makes us look bad. The party was pushing the formula, and the motion to eliminate it was declared defeated.
Whenever a leadership contest begins, expect those in strongly Conservative areas to be less inclined to buy a membership. Many of those folks went away mad, after October 2021. As of the vote on Jan. 13th, 2024 those folks have less reason to rejoin us. Alienating dissident and rural voters could keep the NDP in power for a second term.
Before any new motions could be made (160 minutes into the meeting, at about 6pm, we had the room until 10 pm) a guy stood to ask that no more changes be made. He called for the vote on the rules as already amended.
A vote was called with no chance for objection or comment.
Comment on that motion is required by ROBERT'S RULES, as it would include comments by anyone who might object to any of the new rules in the election-rule package.
The package was declared passed.
The meeting was adjourned.
While this was done, I was standing at one of the 3 delegate microphones, waiting to move that the party set up a ballot integrity team, independent of the Leadership Election Committee. The Chairman seemed to welcome the sudden end. It served the purpose of the backroom. Why else would he call such a vote, without asking for any other new business / motions to be brought forward?
I approached a few of my friends afterward saying that it was sad that there would be no new rules to improve ballot integrity. They all agreed. I then said that to Lawrence Toet. He said that there would be an auditor next time. I said that there was an "auditor" involved in 2021, but that the 2021 audit-team ignored our concerns and actually took part in the debacle, making things worse. I could not sway him.
Those (who seem to not care about ballot integrity and true democracy) said as they left the building that it was a good meeting, and that the party needs to do this more often. At least some folks went home happy.
From an original Facebook Post by David Grant, with some editorial commentary by Ken Drysdale, shown in italics.