Why I’m volunteering for Joyce Murray

joyce screengrab

I think Joyce Murray may be the Liberal Party’s last, best hope. She’s certainly the only candidate running for leader right now with a vision for Canada that I want to be part of — or a strategy to get there that makes sense. And so, at her request, I’ve put my work as a commentator on hiatus and stepped in to offer what help I can.

This is the video I directed for her showcase last weekend in Toronto:

Working on this piece — following Joyce on the campaign trail, interviewing her supporters — I got a glimpse of something most of my friends in the media are missing completely. After the first debate in January, I thought many of the same things about Joyce’s candidacy: she doesn’t have the public speaking chops, she’s too much of a policy wonk, her appeal is confined to BC.

I was wrong.

Having had the chance to get to know her better, I’m deeply impressed with Joyce’s wisdom, integrity, and resilience. She has what it takes to lead a federal political party — and I wouldn’t have poured so much time into her campaign if I didn’t see a mathematical avenue to victory. Despite the press gallery consensus (and the favouritism of some of the party brass), this race is not over.

Registered Liberal voters have until Sunday, April 14 at 3pm Eastern Time to cast their ballot. A few minutes ago, I voted for Joyce as my first choice for Liberal leader. I strongly encourage those who are registered to take five minutes and do the same.

How did this happen?

I faced some blowback when I discarded my journalistic “objectivity” in 2011, upon leaving CTV — though I remained non-partisan, and subsequently declined work with three different political groups. I caught more flak when I signed up to participate in the Liberal leadership race, back in December — though I hadn’t yet picked a candidate. Naturally, I anticipate some people will be disappointed to hear that I’ve stepped completely away from journalism to volunteer on a campaign.

What I’ll say is that I’m a voter driven by my values, not allegiance to any partisan brand. Joyce Murray’s focus on sustainability — via democratic renewal — speaks directly to my core priorities as a citizen. And as a citizen, my involvement in democracy is driven by the question: “how can I most effectively advance the goals connected to my values?” Up until recently, I believed I was most useful as a commentator (and, every few years, a voter).

Getting involved in Joyce’s campaign was another experiment. Having taken the time to reflect, it’s a decision I’m proud of.

  1. I find it to be a great conundrum. All the polls and press see Justin Trudeau already crowned as Liberal leader. To support Joyce Murray, is a losing proposition if your perception of politics is equivalent to that of playing the lotto. But clearly for you Kai, this is about your conviction that cooperation between progressives is the best way forward for Canada. So while the outcome is clear for this weekend, you are still determined to fight for this candidate until the very end.

    Come election time though, why shouldn’t an NDP supporter who feels that the Liberals have the convictions of a weathervane spurn that party and follow your example and fight for theirs with their own convictions?

    I live in a riding where the Conservative Party of Canada finished in 4th place at the ballot box this last federal election. Cooperation is a net negative for me as it would limit my democratic choices. Sure, I admit that I live in a riding that’s more of the exception and not the rule but the Liberals have never been a party that’s listened to the grassroots so the proposition that it’s “all one big progressive family” rings hollow to me. There’s a huge trust deficit with that party.

    But electing Joyce Murray as leader that comes across as humble and determined would make me listen.

  2. Renata C said:

    Joyce’s cooperation proposal would not affect your riding. Cooperation would only be undertaken in ridings where the CPC won in 2011 with less than 50% of the vote, and then only if the grassroots party membership wanted to pursue it.

    • Actually, it would. If i’d want to vote Liberal, I couldn’t be able to because they would assume the riding was Liberal. Mind you, this use to be a Liberal stronghold (Paul Martin’s old riding). But say the Liberal grassroots goes ahead with a candidate anyway, how would the NDP then respond? Not challenge Liberal seats?

      It’s a nice idea if the parties had so substantive differences in their platforms but what is a left-wing party and the other a centrist party.

      I guess there may be some appeal for this in Ontario but an NDP supporter has had to hear the moans of “vote strategically” and “Blue Door and Red Door” that sticking it to the Liberal Party is almost as satisfying as sticking it to the Conservatives.

  3. Cheers to experimenting. If Murray doesn’t make it, I think you’ll do good to consider the similar vision of the (growing?) Greens.

  4. Eduard Hiebert np2 said:

    Kai, Since you became a news item, I have enjoyed and appreciated your blog and Tyee contributions but found making contact difficult.

    While Murray’s emphasis on the need for cooperation in face of the fptp system is urgently necessary her “strategy to get there that (does not) makes sense” and contains fatal flaws, which can still be corrected. Are you interested?


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