Thursday, 9 July 2009

Liberal Party President rallies the troops

The President of the Liberal Party of Canada was in Colborne on July 8 and he appeared to be offering a simple message - the party is growing stronger - get ready for an election.

Alfred Apps spoke to about 35 members of the party at the Colborne Legion. He pointed to the party's growing membership and financial stability as signs that support is growing across the country.

On January 1, 2009 there were 36,000 members nationally. At the end of June there were 90,000. The party executive expects that number to grow to 120,000 by Labour Day and 200,000 by the end of the year.

In 2008, an election year, the party raised $5.8 million. By comparison the Conservatives raised $21 million says Mr. Apps. By this time last year only $1.6 million had been raised by Liberals.

This year $5,65 million has already been poured into the coffers. The president says that a total of $21 million in 2009 is not unthinkable.

The polls show a 13-18 point change in voter preferences if you take in the Conservative drop and Liberal rise in the past few months. Mr. Apps says the party can win five more seats in the Maritimes, 20 in Quebec, a handful in the Prairies and again in B.C. With an increase of 40 in Ontario, he feels the party can regain its status as the governing party.

Currently the party holds 17 of 31 seats east of Quebec, another 14 in Quebec and 38 in Ontario. The Liberals have eight seats elsewhere in the country.

To reach his goal of 40 new seats in this province the Liberals would have to take about 60% of the seats now held by Conservative or NDP members. The Conservatives only hold 10 ridings in Quebec. The Bloc Quebecois holds 48.

Mr. Apps believes his party has had so much success in the past because it has governed with competence, confidence and with compassion. To grow in the future it must rely on the grass roots, and coordinate its supporters. The party saw what could be done in the United States when the Democratic Party took advantage of the internet. The Liberals have taken that program and are applying it in many ridings across Canada.

The development of computer-based technology is a factor in what Mr. Apps considers "one of the most phenomenal recoveries in his 38 years in politics. He believes Canadians want to vote Liberal with its tradition of great leadership.

In the next election he anticipates the party will not take the defensive stances it did in the past election. It will have a focussed, thoughtful, economically competent platform.

Mr. Apps believes Stephen Harper wants to divide Canadians and find enough votes to win. He was critical of the government's approach to the recession and the environment.

He asked the party members if they were ready to pull up the sail and catch the wind as the party prepares for the next election.

Two people have already declared their candidacy for the Federal Liberal nomination in Northumberland-Quinte West. Kim Rudd and Andrew McFayden have stepped up and local officials say that there are up to six considering running against the incumbent Conservative, Rick Norlock.

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