Liberalism in the 21st Century: Leadership.

Evolve or die.  The choice is simple.  That is the crossroad liberalism is at in Canada after the federal Liberal Party’s crushing defeat of 2011.  The party of Wilfrid Laurier, of Mackenzie King, of Lester Pearson and of Pierre Trudeau that evolved throughout the 20th Century is not a footnote but a force to build on into the 21st Century.  Liberalism is the standard bearer for the individual in our society.  It is to assure individual freedoms that creates our options for government.  And the liberal options for our country, our Canada, are many and crucial and glorious.

But, at this time, liberalism in Canada lacks leadership.  First, liberals must choose a future and then we can choose those who will lead.  That requires leadership from within the party.  We must choose the path to the future on which people will choose to join.  We must then look for the public leader, the parliamentary leader, with whom the party and people will share the future.  It is a new type of leadership that is required.

It used to be called servant leadership but it is more than that.  It requires a leader with ideas, with foresight, with charisma, with humanity and charm.  The ideal leader is a person you would like to have as a friend, a sibling, a parent, a child, a person you would like to work with and share ideas and a future. It is a leadership that is shared.  No person is more than the leader and no person is less.  For the leader represents the ideals of liberalism to the public.  Of all political philosophies, liberalism offers citizens a clear future that can ignite and enthuse.  To offer this future, we need to challenge and to excite with ideas, leadership and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

At the same time, we need continued leadership within that can give the party the strength it must have to build and evolve and maintain momentum over the new century.  Leadership of the parliamentary wing of the party is not the chief executive officer of the party.  The parliamentary leader is ex officio a member of the party executive body as the member of parliament or legislature or candidate is ex officio a member of the electoral district executive—and reports to that body.

There is much to be done.  The time to the next leadership selection is short.  There is no point in choosing this leader unless we define the party that he or she will lead.  It must be written.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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