Wednesday, August 23, 2006



I have been attending a number of Liberal Party of Canada events for the past few days. The caucus of the Liberal party is in town and this has created quite a buzz.

First up, for me was an event held in Surrey on Monday evening for the Liberal Leadership contenders. The only candidate not present was Hon Bob Rae who apparently had other commitments back east.

Surrey was a lively affair and the best opening remarks went to Scott Brison. He went on the offensive against the current PM, Steve Harper and this stirred quite a response from the crowd.

Touching moment of the evening went to True Grit'r, Dr Hedy Fry who recounted her childhood memories of growing up in a housing project and the obstacles she has had to overcome in life. I was amazed, as were many in the audience, who connected with Hedy on her personal and deeply touching story.

Then Tuesday morning rolls around and I'm off to Senator Larry Campbell's roundtable on Downtown Eastside issues. Upon arrival I was shocked to see that failed mayoralty candidate, prominent NDP'r and American citizen, Jim Green was part of the roundtable panel. Noteworthy also was that all panel members have deep connections to the NDP party.

Though a number of stellar panel members shared their insights, most notable among them, Liz Evans of the Portland Community Services Society and Jerry Adams of the Urban Native Youth Association. I was concerned though that other members of the panel are part of the Poverty Service Industry. While I appreciate the work that a number of these esteemed individuals carry out, for others, they are dependent on poverty and homelessness and this in turns creates a co-dependency for the clientele they purport to serve.

Interesting was the one comment made by Larry Campbell at the end of the roundtable. He informed the many Liberal Senators, leadership contenders and caucus members present that they couldn't possibly call themselves true Liberals if they were not willing to actively champion his and Jim Green's cause. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Then on Tuesday evening, Dr Hedy Fry hosted a wine and cheese at the Hyatt Hotel. It was an interesting group of folks who dropped in. Notables included, Hockey Champ, Ken Dryden, leadership contender, Martha Hall Findlay and Labrador MP, Todd Russell, who Hedy sent off to Drag Queen bingo!

Hedy and Martha sat down with me and shared the challenges they face as female candidates which brings me to this next point of contention I have.

Why is it that no female Liberal MPS are supporting any of the three female leadership candidates? It is not good enough to say that you support women's equality or want to see more women enter and become involved in political life, yet these words are meaningless when you look at the scenario I just presented.

While a female MP may dislike a certain female candidate or doesn't believe they are best for the party at this time, yet to blanketly say all three contenders, including Dr Carolyn Bennett, are without leadership qualities astounds me. You might expect this from a Steven Harper Conservative party but it just doesn't seem right that this is happening in the Liberal party of Canada. Moreover, I am witnessing how many of the Liberal Women's Commission are working on the campaigns of the male leadership contenders and this is quite frankly, sad.

Liberal members need to be discussing this issue while there is opportunity to do so. Grassroots members of the party need to be articulating these concerns at the many events happening around town.

If the three Females candidates vying for the party leadership, finish at the bottom of the pack, it will be a terrible blow to the party.

I hope that neither, Dr Fry, Dr Bennett or Ms Martha Hall Findlay drop from the race. I want them all to remain as candidates until at least, the first ballot is completed at leadership convention.

And, let it be known that I will not discount these candidates leadership qualities or serve them with platitudes and so my first ballot support goes to none other then Dr. Hedy Fry.

Jamie Lee Hamilton