Platform 2004 Performance Review

A. Platform Department 2004 Election Performance Review

1 Election Activities

The head of each GPC "division" is responsible for collecting the following post-mortem info for their division. A "division" is nominally defined as a self-contained working group that existed within the GPC during the election. The organizing team will collect the feedback from the various divisions into a single document to be republished here for more general comment.

1.1 Objectives

What were the objectives for your division and how successful were you achieving each objective?

The Platform also has an instrumental role in being the primary communications tool with the electorate. To this end we have 6 goals we wish to achieve.

Our Platform Goals were adopted in Dec. 2003 by the Development committee as follows:

  • The platform must increase the GPC's credibility and visibility.
    • Judging by most of the reviews in major publications (and the fact that we got reviews in the major publications, we view this goal as accomplished)
  • The platform must change our image as a single focus 'fringe' party.
    • That we were not a single issue party anymore was broadly recognized.
  • The platform must have a broad its appeal to a wide spectrum of Canadian Society.
    • One object was to correct a widely held misperception (probably drawn from the Joan Russow years and election 2000) that the GPC was on the left fringe of the political spectrum. To do this we emphasized, in some sections, our more traditionally "right" ideas within the context of our "socially progressive, fiscally responsible, environmentally sustainable" theme.

The Green platform is an amalgam of ideas, some of which are decidedly conservative. - Jeffery Simpson, Globe and Mail

It's impossible to mistake the Green Party's policies for anything but what they are: deeply idealistic, earnest prescriptions from well-meaning people who have never held real political power and won't any time soon. . . . That said, Green Leader Jim Harris's platform document, Someday Is Now, makes a worthy addition to Canadian political debate. Globe and Mail Editorial

The party's platform is pretty much what one would expect from the Conservative Party — promises of lower income taxes, balanced budgets, paying down the national debt, creating jobs in key technology sectors. . . . There's only one twist: All this conservative thinking comes straight from the latest election platform of the Green Party. Calgary Sun - Greg Weston

Not suprisingly, this left us open to challenges from the left (e.g. Murray Dobbin's "The Greens are right, right") that we had abandoned our social justice principles. Several candidates felt the key problem that prevented any coherent response was the confusion created by the lack of specificity in our plan, more so than any widespread objection to the direction of the platform.

  • The Platform must give "a reason to believe" in the wisdom and integrity of our politics.

    • Based on the results of the Rank-a-Plank polling of visitors to our platform website, the reponse to our platform was overwhelmingly positve, a majority of planks had above 80% approval. That most visitors who cared to comment was backed up by emails recieved by the policy department, which were about 80% positive. *The platform must leverage the knowledge and expertise of our members to influence and promote green principles within the national agenda.

    • Before the printing of the platform (effectively the end of consultations) we had about 60 people on the gpc-planks team list. Additionally, about 30 full reviews of the platform were received, and several meetings were held with candidates (mainly in ontario). Adding email responses we probably had substantial feedback from about 150 individual green party members. The Rank-a-Plank results provided detailed feedback, although in future projects a non-computer based process would be beneficial in reparing a systemic bias caused by the use of the Internet as a sole means of surveying the members. Some kind of mark up and mail back or other face to face outreach has been suggested to complement interet based results.

  • The platform must help the Green Party increase its popular vote in the next election to 10%.

    • The Green Party recorded a five fold increase to 4.3 percent of the popular vote.

1.2 Key Activities

What were the key activities of your team members during the election? How long did each activity take (in absolute terms or as a percentage of the whole)? How much time in total did your division spend working on election issues (include all volunteers and staff who were involved)?

A list of key activities included:

  • Soliciting participation from members.
    • This was done by a mass email in November 2003, and the respondents of which became the core of the "planks team". The initial request was for respondents who were willing to commit 10-20 hours a week to the process. Approximately 20% of volunteers achieved this mark, but the majority of volunteers completed the most critical elements of their tasks - lowering the requirements is not reccomended. No further mass emails were sent, and this may have been appropriates, in that later on in the process, it would have been more difficult to bring in new volunteers and get them "up to speed". There was a second wave of volunteers in Jan-Feb, who joined the team without being prompted directly.
  • Coordinating and training volunteers.
    • Documents were circulated which contained an overall briefing and prospective timeline, this alone was insufficient. In retrospect, there should be specific training session or two, in which volunteers were "walked through" the briefing. Q&A's on the listserves were useful tools in learning the process and consolidating training.
  • Planning and Platform Development Meetings
    • A select group of the most committed volunteers participated on a "development committee" which made decisions to guide the plaform process, inclusing setting timelines, creating a structure for the document and project goals. This committee functioned well, holding regular weekly meetings untill the process was well underway, and operating "ad hoc" after that. The Development committee created guidelines and process templates which can be re-used and updated.
  • Developing and discussing policy positions
    • This, the bulk of the group's work, was conducted almost exclusively by phone, web and email. A platform conference was desired and discussed, but never got off the ground. The bulk of the discussions were held via emails - posting new planks to the listserve was a required part of the process, as was posting on the wiki.
  • Creating and updating a Living Platform website.

  • Conducting background research on policy positions.
    • The bulk of the research was done by planks team members prior to the process, many planks were presented "Off the top of the head" by people who had general knowledge of the topic, a minority of planks developers provided links to related web pages. Few demonstrated, or in any case shared thorough knowledge of government programs, ongoing initiatives or expenses. MLP conducted "backchecking"research with the purpose of ensuring that the positions proposed and arguments used were credible and relevant, which in almost all cases, they were. In general, our team members knew what they were talking about, even if they didn't go to great lengths to prove it.
  • Outreach to members.
    • Outreach to members, after the initial invitation to participate, was conducted through two means: an invitiation to members to visit our website when the rank a plank was activated was delivered by email, and all candidates were delivered electronic copies of the draft platform for review, and many copies were returned with comments. The outreach to members was considered extremely important, especially considering the difficulties in achieving any kind of formal ratification process. Maintaining an open process was considered highly important in ensuring our members recieved a platform that agreed with their views.
  • Outreach to policy oriented NGO's.
    • While outreach to NGO's was reccommended, few volunteers reported consultations except with individuals within their personal network. The GPC did encounter difficulties in the campaign with NGO's lacking understanding of the GPC's position, and dedicating a staff person to conduct an outreach program to NGO's will be a high leverage activity in future platform projects.
  • Outreach to the academic community.
    • Equally important as NGO's, and equally underutilized as a resource, it is recommended that we develop connections with the academic community as a component of an ongoing outreach to university campuses.
  • Consulting with Green Parties in other jurisdictions.
    • The websites of Green Parties in other jurisdictions were checked as part of the background research in some cases, but very few personal contacts were made, and this will be a high leverage activty, perhaps undertaken by the international liasion committee which was pretty much non-functional in the run up to election 2004.
  • Developing copy and messaging for the platform, the website, the broadsheet and other policy outputs.
  • Designing platform outputs - the booklet, the broadsheet, the website.
    • Extreme and unfair pressures were placed on designers in the platform process, particularly in the print design. Print design of the platform was also a significant site of cost overruns. As layout and design are at the last steps of the production process, delays in finalizing policy "the english copy" and translation "french copy" served to heap pressure on those at the last link of the production chain - the designer. Ultimately these pressures stemmed from the original lack of preparation and delayed initiation of a platform team, but future platform chairs must be very firm about production schedules and deadlines, particularly for policy development - there are difficult tradeoffs between the need for the highest quality of the policies, of copywriting and editing, of translation, and of careful proofing of the final layout, and the need to deliver a platform early enough to for candidates, media and members to thoroughly absorb before the writ is dropped.

  • Editing copy (in french and english)
  • Translating copy.
  • Responding to questionaires.
  • Assisting the development of press releases.

Platform Team Outputs:

Draft Copy for I Do Brochures (500 words)
GPC "All Planks" - Web version of platform (23,000 words)
GPC 2004 Platform "Someday is Now" (12,000 words)
GPC "Someday is Now" Broadsheet (1000 words)
GPC Platform Website
GPC "Living PLatform"
The Platform in One Page
The Platform in Three Pages.
Additional "policy pamphlet" pamphlet copy.
Cross party policy comparison chart.
3 Op-eds, responses to critics.
Edited copy of press releases for media team.
Responses to about 2,000 policy questions by email.
Responses to surveys submitted from NGO's.
Research briefings by Tania Briceno for leader and media team (approx 20,000 words unedited)
GPC Current Approved Policy - compiled
Candidate briefings and process documents which can be reused.
GPC Policy Template for policy development

Estimates for Future Reference

These estimates are for scheduling and budgeting purposes for producing a fully professional quality document for publication.

Rough research 2000 words pp/d (search, cut , paste, rough edit and format)
Research 1000 words pp/d (search, cut , paste, rough edit and format plus draft copy)
Copywriting 500 words per person/day (half that output without well researched and delveloped draft)
Copy-editing - 1000 words per person/day. (rewriting once a good copy has been achieved)
Final-editing 2000 words p/d (ensuring zero percent spelling mistakes etc.)
Graphic Design of Booklet - 1/2 page per day (design, layout, and proof)
Graphic Design of (deluxe) Pamphlet - 1/4 page per day (design, layout and proof)

1.3 Unexpected Events

What unexpected events occurred and what was their impact on your other activities?

Generally speaking, the whole platform delvelopment process was experiemental, and there was a lot to learn during the process - such as:

  • Obtaining results from volunteers is possible but there are limits to what they will do. As a rule of thumb, a project manager might want to estimate that a typical volunteer will accomplish half of what they originally commit to and it will take twice as long as planned.
  • It was unexpected that there would be such a high demand for answers to "hot button" questions, and in the future it would be best to provide easy access to an FAQ on these topics.
  • There were three major snags in our production that were not entirely unexpected, but for which we were not suitably prepared
    • The lack of translation facility in the party.
    • The tendency for participants to want last minute changes - (iow, many people wait untill the last minute to review the drafts and then want to input suggestions)
    • There was insufficient communcation between the project manager, the graphic designer and the printer which led to a layout being prepared which was not suitable to the printing process. In the future, at least two meetings between these parties are reccomended, one pre-layout, (draft design ready) and one post layout (text in place).
  • Many reviewers were distracted by drafts being circulated which were not edited (spelling and grammar), many would innapropriately devote time to fixing mistakes that would have been caught by a spell check - reccomend that all drafts are spell and grammar checked before circulation.

1.4 Timeline

Provide a timeline of the top 5 to 15 key events for the division. For example hirings, milestones met and missed, the dates key problems and successes occurred could be included.

October 20? - Michael Pilling Appointed chair of platform development, PT employment.
November 3 - Email sent inviting members to volunteer for platform team.
November 10-25, Interviewing applicants to planks team.
November 23 Invitiations and guide to platform process delivered.
December 1 - Development Committee (DC) has its first meeting.
December 2 - Outreach committee (OC) has its first meeting.
December 6-30 Planks team develops and posts first drafts of policy materials on wiki site.
January 1 - Deadline for complete policy proposals passes with only 25% completion rate of first drafts.
January 11 - 31 planks have achieved "first draft" stage, first comprehensive glimpse of what the platform will be.
January 30 - "First Cut" document distributed, in which all planks are compliled and roughly edited for length and structure - first distribution of platform material to wider audience is "underwhelming" due to lack of consistency and editing.
February - GPC platform website is designed and built by Michael Starling. Andrew Lawrence sets up "living platform" GPC version of wiki (previously hosted on GPO).
February 9, 15, 27 - editing by MLP continues on what will be known as the "All Planks" updated versions are released to candidates and other internal personel.
March 1 - GPC platform website "goes public." MLP goes from part time to full time GPC.
March - continued discussion, feedback and updating of policy positions, but platform draft is approaching "stable" planks team achieves approx 50% completion of policy templates to assist candidates and media, some but not enough background info is developed.
March 11. Robert Furlong and Amy Romeo are hired full time to perform copy-writing and editing duties. Copywriting of print version of Platform 2004 begins in earnest.
March 18 - Tania Briceno hired as FT researcher.
March 30 - Copywriting on platform 2004 95% complete, final editing begins. Robert Furlong leaves the team to assume full time permanent position.
April 5th - Edited and revised "All Planks" released.
April 10th - Translation of platform copy begins (finished sections).
April 20th - Platform Final copy 95% complete.
April 25th - Late revisions to 6 planks, recopywritten, reedit, retranslated (in a couple of cases). Graphic elements of design complete, layout begins.
April 28th - Original Date set to hand over completed platform to printer for may 7th release.
May 3rd - Translation 95% complete. Layout begins in earnest.
May 7th - French and English layout complete.
May 10th - Problems at printer, have to redo layout.
May 13th - Proofing english
May 14th - Proofing french, Authorized to print.
May 20th - Platform launch in Ottawa.

1.5 Things that Were Dropped

Most divisions were under very tight deadlines during the election. What activities do you think should have been done but were not done because of a lack of time or resources? How much extra time or resources would you have needed to successfully complete these activities?

  • A face to face platform conference was proposed and abandoned. It would have required a budget of several thousands of dollars.

  • Developing detailed backgrounders for each individual plank was not going to happen, it would have required about two months more lead time, more if volunteers could not provide substantial input.

  • Communications guides, speaking points and candidate briefings were to be prepared. Some of this was completed. A more streamlined plank development process would facilitate this.

  • A "Top 10 reasons to vote green" webpage was proposed.

  • Good housekeeping seal of approval webpage (a list of direct or indirect endorsements of GPC planks) was proposed.

  • A "what's the difference?" webpage was proposed.

2.0 Interactions

What interactions and dependencies did you have on other divisions or individuals during the campaign?

The Platform team interacts most directly with the Media team, the Leader's tour, the Candidates and the IT team. Most of the communications difficulties related strongly to the lack of preparation time. Some were simple failures to apply the relevant industry standards, or require any specific protocol of the Advocates:

In all cases, communcations links were weak but strengthened as the campaign wore on. Significant IT (hardware and software) failures were particularly frustrating and lowered productivity. IETF RFCs that require addresses like "postmaster@", "webmaster@" to work, were violated. Some addresses published on the web site bounced. Some candidate biographies were late to be made visible, and mentions of names in press releases often had no links to those biographies.

It was not clear to ordinary members or gpc-planks team members at any point how to request attention to press releases, or what protocol to use to share Answers to Questionnaires. In practice, a few hard-headed people applied their own standards with not even moral support beyond the living platform itself.

Recommendations for Improved Interaction

Prepare platform breifings in multimedia (audio and video) for candidates.

Plan a communications structure with email, web, phone, and wireless protocols well before the campaign. Test it thouroughly, ensure that it works reliably, and don't *&@$%#^ mess with it during the campaign. For example, everyone should have reliably hosted emails, all core staff should have rock solid OS's with top-notch virus protection - or at least the abilyt to do a boot drive swap, pre-designed email filtering and sorting rules, standard email handles that are protected from spam, websites with stable, easy to remember URL's that candidates can reliably repeat or scribble down, well tested software, regularly scheduled firmly chaired and strictly enforced conference calls. Ensure that core staff have all the software they need in advance. All core staff should use a common IM service or client - jabber.org compatible for instance - and all contact info should readily be available in multiple formats updated centrally.

The whole campaign team should be made fully aware of the organizational map, and updates to that map, with guides of who-to-call-for-what. All answers to questions from the public, especially groups, should include clear indications of their official status.

There should be frequent, regularly scheduled pre-election platform training and debate preparation sessions for candidates, media staff and spokespersons, particularly the leader.

3.0 Positives

Provide a summary of positive events and/or things that went well during the campaign.


Objectives (above)
Discuss: the 2004 platform (below)

4.0 Negatives

Provide a summary of negative events and/or things that could have been done better during the campaign.

Objectives (above)
Discuss: the 2004 platform (below)

5 Moving Forward

5.1 Status

Briefly summarize the current status of your division.

A wide majority of the planks team participants are willing to continue in a similar role. A plan for future progress has been developed and discussed. The Living platform has been developed and readied to accomadate online policy development. We are mainly awaiting a mandate from the federal council to proceed.

5.2 Follow-up Actions

Please provide a prioritized list of follow-up actions that need to be taken within the division to improve it's effectiveness.

Contacting the individuals who submitted policy questions and enrolling them to recieve regular party communications.

5.3 Checklist for the Next Election

If you had to do it over again (and we will!) what things would be on your checklist for the next election?

Platform Chairs Reccommendations for commencing work on Platform 2005

3. Encourage new members to join the planks team, seeking
to grow the committee to be about 100 members, and increase the participation of women.

4. Continue to use the planks team as the "voice of
authority" on policy decisions, until such time as an improved consultation and policy development process can be developed and approved by the GPC membership. The Living Platform can accommodate a number of voting mechanisms to make input easier, make the process more inclusive and more transparent.

5. Choose a better name for the planks team?

6. Elect (informally or formally) three co-chairs,
specializing in economic, social and environmental policy. The role of the co-chairs will be to oversee the platform development, maintain a schedule, and facilitate discussion.

7. Use the Living Platform to continue to develop existing

8. Add surveys, tutorials and libraries of source material
to the living platform.

9. Focus on deepening and developing existing proposals
rather than make wholesale changes for 2005 platform - can two or more platforms constructively compete in some way to become the "official" one?

B. Minutes of Meetings Discussing Election Performance

Conference Call 2 (Monday July 5) Participants

Tom Manley
Eric Walton
Michael Pilling
Judith Hamel
Jason Monas

Online Participants
(feel free to add your name here edit in your comments and tag them with your intitials.)
Michael Pilling (MLP)
Chris BradShaw (CB)
Tamara Galko (TG)
Michael Wheatley (MW)
Chris Milburn (CM)
Derek Simon (DS)
Jeff Hanninen (JH)
Craig Hubley (CH)

1. Discuss the Platform 2004 Process

(not including wiki/the issues)

Our perfomance was laudable, compared to the last election, from the outset we didn't have much to go on. CB

Indeed, the platform team did an incredible job with limited res ources and under the gun of a short time frame. Everyone deserves the utmost of credit. I cannot conceive that under the circumstances, that we could have done any better. - DG

Our platform had something for everyone, but very thin. In trying to be everything to everyone, failed to clearly focus a position. Statements weren't clear. TM

The quality was high given the timeline. Content 6.5 out of ten for quality, but needed more time. TM

We needed to explain our approach to corporations, needed to explain our philosophy. JH

We needed more outreach and focus groups. JH

I was impressed at first and then realised gaps. More in depth preamble is needed. More detail. I have already consulted with people in the community of my policy area. JH

There wwas a twofold purpose of our process, to build a body of research and a written philosphy, building which there was not enough time. Pretty amazing what we came up with under the circumstances. JM

The Global Green Charter, signed onto by the GPC, should also guide us. Some PEI voters got cold feet about voting Green when they looked at our platform. I gave them copies of the Charter and explained that although they may not like some of what they see in the platform this year, the Charter is a binding document, and platforms and policies can be changed. Without exception, they were persuaded to vote Green when they read the Charter. - SL

In my view the biggest areas for improvement are 1. strategy and consistency - strategic opportunities to advance longstanding goals like changing the Auditor-General's role cannot be ignored, doing so alienates our most strategic talent. 2. consistent handling of Answers to Questionnaires and removing Advocates who do not reliably make their responses and advice immediately visible to others struggling to answer the same questions - at a rather immense cost in people's time 3. simple logistical hardware, software, web, telecom and print media integration that will make it ridiculously simple for any of us to answer any question. 4. Debating Internet Strategies with our most ezperienced net politics players, rather than allowing newbies to re-invent wheels that are well understood. 5. implementing actual participatory democracy and statistical validity via the mark up and mail back strategy, part of overall plan for Breaking a Million. 6. Getting more interest group briefings to present policy from a particular POV. - CH

2 Discuss: The Living Platform / Wiki / Tech issues in 2004 Platform

Tools have great potential but only when used by trained people. we have a whole crew of people with varying experiences and experience. Personnel have difficulty being productive with the technology. Our people need more handholding. TM

Wiki is a great tool for a different application. The "living research policy centre" might be more appropriate. Some people were proposing ideas that weren't in tune with our existing policy. I would get the shadow cabinet people involved in committees and tie them in with a communcation tool. There are also problems with having an open process to develop a tactical document. EW

I would use the tool to facilitate with my group. It has to be developed, a closed group could use this tool. JH

I have experience working with similar tools, it was a little overwhelming and a little random in the way it was used. The ability to save a record of everything people contribute is very powerful. It is the control of the tool and who is using it that makes the difference. At the beginning there was a lot of information flooding in, and people didn't know how to use it. I don't see how we could develop consensus except by using a tool like this. From that mass of information. JM

We were trying to do two things at once, trying to get people involved, and trying to build a consensus, those don't fit together. EW

By comparison, the GPO platform was developed in a very closed group, and it generated negative internal perceptions. To ensure that this perception was not the case, we perhaps opened everything too wide. It is difficult to be participatory and distilling down at the same time. TM

The wiki tool is appropriate for brainstorming with certain parameters - a separate wiki for the final development might be better. EW

Next time we need to start with more experience: on the federal council, and on the platform team. We did not have many guidelines from the federal council. CB

Other parties will not be ignoring us in the future, need more consultations with environmental NGO's. Our platform will have to stand up to more scrutiny. CB

Need to have a backgrounder that includes our past positions, other parties positions, and links to our key values and wider issues (how it all fits together). Then we need to start answering the "how" questions. CB

In terms of our timeline, We spent too long having people writing thier individual planks, having the platform completed 30 days sooner would have helped. Every door to door canvasser needs the platform before the campaign begins. To enable a quicker process, recoomends that about five key developers should be giving direction to staff/researchers, who then distributes drafts to a wider circle of voluntary participants. Regular weekly meetings shoudl be scheduled well in advance, and then we should keep to that schedule. CB

Need a matrix aproach where each policy is considered for its impacts on a range of intrest groups. We stand out because we have thought about the angles more than the other parties. CB

In the editing process - the finished product did not always reflect the policy that went in. Thus we need more back and forth between the editors and the writers of the plank, so as much as possible the process will captures the plank developer's vision. DS

Some planks were thrown together at the last minute, and weren't as well thought our as the ones at the begging. DS

At the editing stage, someone with legal training should go thorugh the platform and check for ideas that just aren't doable. DS

A policy pipeline is necessary that starts perhaps with less official channels using the same technology to create consensus among factions or regions. This can't be separated from bioregionalism as a policy goal - we need region-specific spaces to develop policies, even if they are centrally hosted. We do this now in Nova Scotia using http://seedwiki.com and will shortly move to mediawiki - CH

When creating proposals, starting with specific cost estimates or budgetary allowances is very important - this will avoid what happened in the 2004 process in that people learned at the last moment that there was not enough room in the buget for all proposals. MLP

If we have more lead time -

Candidates need more guidance on how to use their resources/time
Researchers/Issue critics need to know what should be addressed what issues should be researched - need specific guidlines. - TG
a) consult the experts on what needs to be done.
b) have a discussion with Greens about how this planks fits in.

Need a better tie-in between CAP and platform, and more clarity in the distinction between policy and platform. Also more distinction between polices we are promoting and policies we would impliment as government. We don't need to adopt populist policies to buy votes, need to stay on a principled basis. Positve populism is moving toward grassroots democracy. MW

For instance saying 10 cents increase in gas taxes, does not achieve any environmental goals (price really needs to increase by a factor of 3 or 4). We should maintain an official policy that reflects the end goals. Pollution taxes should be increased to the point where they achieve a set target of consumption. MW

Policy and platform should operate continuously, but needs a great deal of firm guidance. Should always have mature platforms and policies. MW

Comfortable with email lists and web tools, conference calls are less efficient. MW

Is there a way to coordinate federal and provincial policy development? Formal links? - MW

RE: the surveys that we recieved - there should be a template answer to all surveys that candidates. We should be tightening up our health-care, particularly our policy on alternative health care. CM

Overall, process was professional and well done. JH

Concern for how difficult it would be for people "not in the loop" to get involved. People who don't have a policy background, need some kind of standard consultation process. The Platform itself was a little intimidating, there should be two or three platforms in different sized packages. JH

We need better communication with members to encourage input. JH

The planks development was a little intimidating, email and means of communication were more condusive to criticism than support. A better facilitated/more personal approach, plus an attitude change is required so we welcome people who haven't done this before. Our process should be built around people who are doing this for the first time. JH

Building in different levels of complexity in the communication aspect (email lists) to be more welcoming (less intimidating). JH

Really like the idea of the living platform, i'm not super computer literate, but the wiki was no problem. JH

The time change/scheduling was an issue because 8:30 pm eastern is still in the work day for BC. JH

The media attention that we got this time around will help recruit people next time. JH

If someone just gets involved, there should be "entry level" tasks that provide opportunities for people to get involved. Developing surveys etc. JH

The best ideas for policy will NOT come from members of a political party - not at least by processes that the party itself creates. The best ideas come from outside of political parties through NGOs, research institutions, letters-to-the-editor, professional associations, and all the rest of the multitude of non-aligned but caring people who make up society as a whole. Political parties exist to LISTEN, albeit selectively, to the multitude. A wiki may (if it works, which we can't know unless we try) take this knowledge and understanding and integrate it. - MTW

3. Discuss: Suggestions for 2005 Platform.

(20 Minutes)

The constitution says that the shadow cabinet will develop the platform, so I think giving the shadow cabinet members a leading role is appropriate. - DG

I recommend we have two separate processes, one for open brianstorming, one for strategic purposes drawing on the brainstorming wiki. - EW

We must ensure that the platform is reviewsed to be consistent with policy and the final authority must be democratically elected. Final draft must be signed off in a way which is accountable to membership. Involve some strategists, need a skilled writer that can give a consistent style. EW

How do we deal with contentious issues? Should these be decided except by members?

Absolutely. Any contentious plank needs to go through a formal process of review. Trying to do so beforehand simply invites a fight. Far better to refine the formal process with a few contentious issues, so the energy can be harnessed to improve the process. - CH

I haven't seen all the proposed constitutional amendments yet, but there was talk of amending the constitution to require a mail-in ballot from the general membership after a policy was adopted at a convention. I am thinking that this kind of process could also be used in conjunction with the policy development list. The policy development committee could develop a policy and then send it out to the general membership for approval. If such a system were developed, we might wish to have province by province representation on the policy development committee, rather than just whoever shows up. This policy process would function parallel to, but distinct from, the platform process. - DG

How do we approach copywriting/stylistic problems?

Would like to see a preliminary step that establishes the groundwork, provide the wikis with a basic stand / philosophy which participants can build on. We have to go through a self examination of what is the green party in terms of our core philosophy? TM

We can avoid getting trapped with malicious interpretations if we have the backgrounders published. EW

I would like to see the Green Party's beliefs distilled to one page. TM

Need a strong backgrounder for each policy. Agree with using the wiki for brainstorming.

How do we manage the language issue? We can set up duplicate infrastructures in both languages for brainstorming . . .

The most important thing is to present simultaneous french and english final product. Having the process work in just one language is ok. Full translation of the final product would be major progress, and that should be the first priority.

As Greens we need to set clear targets and costings of programs:

i) how will we in very definite terms get from a to b

ii) in what time frame

iii) why will we succeed where the NDP and federal Liberals have failed?

We now need to take the current platform back to activists and reform
practitioners and ask them critique our proposals - AS

Where we need outside resources is to troubleshoot/verify whatever policy we
come up with, and to check that our numbers are reasonable. For example
Harper really couldn't get any economist to agree that his fiscal plan was doable
without cutting spending outside of healthcare. - AV

I like the idea of having a few well thought out directions/policies/planks? that are rock-solid but innovative and that do not get released immediately. - JF

This goes back to the need for a clear strategy that would help guide processes, priorities, responses, etc. - JF

We absolutely must have a formal ratification process incorporated into platform 2005. (my guess is the election is at least two payment cycles away for the parties to pay off election debts and prepare for the next election but of course we need to prepare for an earlier election). This ratification process must also include a tactic/strategic review that also looks at the relationship of our policy to the probable other election platforms (to develop wedge issues and "win" reviews from third party sources) as well as prepare a few novel ideas that are released during the election and have not been shared in advance with the other parties. - EW

I've never used a wiki and I generally resist computer tech but i see
the potential and am willing to try. Only impediment is the cost of
internet time.. But I absolutely agree local, focused f2f meetings to provide feed into
a wiki would optimize the effort. - IN

Wiki's offer the opportunity to get right into what's relevant. Those of you prone to verbose arguments can do so on the "talk" pages, or email, or phone, or by fax, or in person. All of these different interactions and more are needed in platform development, but some of us have less time for certain tactics. - GB

Wiki is good for keeping owned documents available in a central location. It is not a silver bullet. It needs to provide tools for:

  • Commenting on specific points in the text (they must either be mixed in as bold/italic text; or added as a comment which will float around and be visible with new versions)

  • Wiki is a "pull" medium. Users have to go back to the page repeatedly to see if it's updated. I guess notification is possible, but not all users will know that they have to use it. If other pages are created that they should know about, they won't know until they see a link to it.

  • It requires knowledge of markup and editing standards. Instead of concentrating on writing policy, users must sacrifice their intentions to what they know how to do with wiki. It does not provide a means for multiple people to keep up a multiway conversation with individual responses that are dependent on the state of the text. As the text changes, those responses that are no longer valid should Go Away.

  • Even with wiki's diff'ing functionality, the content of changes is not always obvious. It isn't always easy to know who changed what. There's no way to know _why_ a change was made. - EH

Discuss: 2005 Platform Timelines:

We need a draft by the end of the year. If for some reason the government falls, we should not be running on platform 2004 again. Plan for something really solid in 12 months.

First phase: a mission/principles statement.

What happens next?

1. A process.

2. A Calendar

3. A mission statement.

4. Get the shadow cabinet intimately involved from the get go.

Go to Platform 2005