Manitoba

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont faces vote on future

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont will face a vote on his leadership at the party's upcoming annual general meeting, and there could be additional votes in the future under recent changes to the party constitution.

Manitoba Liberals now have 2 potential votes on party leadership

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont will face an automatic leadership review at his party's annual general meeting, currently scheduled for May. (Kelly Malone/Canadian Press)

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont will face a vote on his leadership at the party's upcoming annual general meeting, and there could be additional votes in the future under recent changes to the party constitution.

The meeting, currently scheduled for May, will include an automatic leadership review that the Liberals hold after every provincial election, roughly every four years.

Party delegates are asked whether they want to have a leadership convention. If more than 50 per cent of delegates vote yes, a leadership race is called.

Under a change to the constitution in 2019, Lamont can also be immediately removed from his position if two-thirds or more of delegates at any annual general meeting or special meeting vote in favour of ousting him.

The reason for the higher threshold in the second process, the Liberals say, is because votes on leadership removal are made by delegates, whereas leadership elections are open to all party members.

Higher requirement to remove leader

"Delegates at a convention are limited constitutionally to a maximum number that may be nominated by constituencies, (party) associations, and those who pay a convention fee to attend," party president David Engel wrote in an email.

"Therefore, the constitution has a higher requirement to remove a leader that was duly elected by the membership."

Rana Bokhari resigned from her post as leader of the Liberal party of Manitoba before she faced a review. (Trevor Hagan/Canadian Press)

While the two-thirds leadership removal vote is new, the Liberals adopted mandatory leadership reviews after every election roughly a decade ago, but have not held one to date. Jon Gerrard resigned in 2011 before he could face a review, and his successor, Rana Bokhari, also quit in 2016.

Manitoba New Democrats adopted automatic leadership reviews in 2017, and leader Wab Kinew is to face one at the party's next convention.

The provincial Progressive Conservatives had their last leadership review in 2005. Stuart Murray survived with 55 per cent support, but decided to step down anyway due to the lukewarm result.

Federally, New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair faced a 50 per cent threshold and was forced to step down in 2016 after getting 48 per cent support. The federal Green party has an even lower threshold — 40 per cent is enough to force a leadership race.

Lamont became leader in 2017 and won a byelection the following year, giving the party a fourth legislature seat. In last year's election, the Liberals retained three seats — not enough for official party status.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story, based on incorrect information from the Manitoba Liberal Party, said Manitoba Liberals now require a two-thirds majority to oust a leader in an automatic leadership review.
    Mar 18, 2020 7:56 PM CT

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