If you're looking for clues as to what the Liberals' new "renewal committee" will recommend when it comes to changing the party's constitution, the analysis offered by its co-chair on this website a month ago is probably a good place to start. For what it's worth, I agree wholeheartedly with Navdeep Bains on the need to move away from delegated leadership conventions, and on the value of simplifying the Liberals' messy executive and operational structure. But I can't help but wonder if the mandate he's been handed alongside Steve MacKinnon on what Rob Silver has christened the "McBains committee" - it does have a nice muscular sound to it - isn't a little narrow. While the "renewal committee" appears to have been tasked with helping rewrite (or at least significantly amend) the Liberals' constitution, a separate "change commission" has been assigned the more practical matters - "long term changes to the Party's engagement, communications, fundraising, policy, and election-readiness strategies." I'm not entirely clear on why the Liberals have felt it necessary to create two separate commissions for themselves; Bains wasn't kidding when he complained about too much duplication. But what's more confusing is that Carolyn Bennett has been put in the equivalent role to his on the change commission. If you're trying to modernize your party, you want to lean heavily on young, ambitious, non-establishment types who aren't wedded to traditional methods; people who represent the next generation of the party's leadership. Bains fits that profile. Bennett, whose main interest is in policy development rather than the mechanics of politics, does not - and I'm not really sure that commission co-chair Doug Ferguson, the party president under Stephane Dion, does either. (I'd be lying if I said I knew a great deal about Brigitte Garceau, the third person in this mix, who may be expected to bring the youth quotient relative to her co-chairs.)
It's entirely possible that all these people are figureheads; that the real work will happen behind the scenes. But if they're looking for actual leadership on overhauling their party, the Liberals may have outsmarted themselves a little bit.