There is a fascinating democratic process going on right now across the country.
The federal Liberal Party of Canada is currently engaged in their leadership race.
What is interesting is that for the first time, non-members have been invited to participate and have a vote for the leader.
The non-members are designated as "Supporters" and have all the rights to be involved as regular members, except they don't have to pay any money, or take out a membership.
The party members approved this process at their last convention as a way to get more Canadians engaged in the political system without being forced to be a member.
It is a little know fact, that during most election campaigns, regardless of party, most volunteers aren't usually affiliated formerly with any party, just motivated by a situation, policy or know the candidate personally.
So, for example, I'm a supporter of Liberal Leadership candidate Martha Hall-Findlay.
I think she is intelligent, articulate, not afraid to ask or answer the tough questions, and will take principled stands on policy.
I also know her, and given the current situation is the best choice for the job. I invite others to check her out.
That said, the Liberals are also using a voting process called preferential ballot.
This means while I'm a supporter of Ms. Hall-Findlay, I also should be looking at other candidates in the race and ranking them by preference, one being first choice, through to nine, which is my last choice.
This way one only needs to fill out the ballot once. Voting will be done by phone or online.
The whole voting process from allowing non-members to be involved, preferential ballot and online, combined with phone voting is creating an opportunity for debate about how this can be translated to greater participation from the broader community.
Unfortunately, the cutoff to register was March 3. However, this race really is giving the average voter an opportunity to have a say in who becomes the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, as it experiments with democracy.
Don Grant Richmond