There has been a lot of interest generated around the upcoming Egmont Liberal Riding Association’s fall convention.
There could be as many as five seeking the nomination to be the Liberal candidate to challenge Gail Shea for the federal seat, a prospect that has party officials beaming.
But with the large number of contestants, comes a large number of delegates. Accommodating those delegates is a challenge for party organizers.
Hernewood Intermediate School in Woodstock was home to the last Egmont convention and was hard pressed to accommodate the delegates representing three contestants for the seat.
With one, possibly two more in the running this time around bringing in additional delegates, common sense dictates that a larger venue will be required.
The only facility in the Egmont riding that would fit the bill is Credit Union Place in Summerside. It also makes sense because four of the five candidates reside much closer to Summerside than to Woodstock.
Gregg Guptill, the vice president of the Egmont Liberal Riding Association, who is in charge of arranging the convention, however, does not share this view.
Guptill said it doesn’t matter how many delegates there are Hernewood is the party’s preferred choice because it is centrally located in the riding.
He said the party does have a contingency plan to accommodate all delegates and none will be excluded. Guptill wouldn’t reveal the details of that plan.
But the reality is, there are only so many people who can be in the gymnasium at Hernewood at any given time.
What happens to delegates who are not permitted onto the convention floor? How would they be accommodated? Would they be housed in adjacent classrooms or other locations viewing the convention on big screens?
If that’s the plan, it’s not a good one. Who will decide which delegates gain access to the convention floor?
Every delegate deserves the right to be on the convention floor. Every candidate has the right to have their delegates there and it is the responsibility of the organizing party to ensure that happens even if that means moving the convention to a different location.
To use the excuse that travel time to an event as large and as important as a federal nomination convention means an inadequate facility has to be used because it is centrally located is ludicrous, especially on Prince Edward Island where you can travel from Summerside to Tignish in an hour.
Credit Union Place has the capacity, the technology along with food and beverage venues to more that meet the needs of the convention.
The Egmont Liberals have a strong head of steam going into this convention and to have it at a top-notch facility would only increase that momentum heading into the campaign.