Liberal president Alfred Apps is urging his party to adopt a U.S.-style primary leadership process, something he says is key to recovering from its disastrous showing in the May election.
Mr. Apps, who retires next January and has faced calls for his resignation, made the case for radical change in a luncheon speech on Thursday at the Empire Club of Canada.
Mr. Apps proposed what he called a long-term project for the federal Liberals: to create an economic bill of rights that would entrench the right to a living wage, clean water, decent education and quality health care for all Canadians.
The goal is to become the party of the people again, he said.
"I believe that as a party we should commit, whenever we form government next - and God knows when it will be - that we want to introduce the concept of a registered voters list in Canada."
He also wants online voting, mandatory voting laws and Canadians expatriates to be allowed to vote.
Starting next January, he wants the Liberals to go door to door, use phone campaigns and social media to register voters. "We have to do what the Tories did in relation to election finance reform," he said.
Once the voters are registered, Mr. Apps said he would like to see them choose future Liberal leaders through a primary process with rolling votes across the country. He called such a process very Liberal.
Since the Liberals were reduced to third-party status on May 2 - party leader Michael Ignatieff lost his seat and resigned the next day - Mr. Apps has been leading the rebuilding.
In his speech, the party president challenged the view that the Liberal Party is dead.
"Liberalism is always in danger of running out of gas or becoming a victim of its own success," he said. "There's always got to be a new frontier of reform."
Mr. Apps admitted to the failures of the old-guard and lauded the harbingers of what he called "new politics," and "tomorrow's voters," also known as social media and young people.
A group of Young Liberals sat at tables in the back tapping away at their smart phones, text messaging and tweeting as Mr. Apps spoke. By the end of the speech he had lost the attention of half of them to their devices.