Liberal demise: A premature report.

Peter C. Newman has done it again.  As the lead drummer and chronicler of the Conrad Black Memorial Marching Band, Peter has again announced the death of the Liberal Party of Canada.  Peter has been wrong before.  He is no prophet.

The first problem with Peter’s report is that his conclusion was based on interviews with former party leader Michael Ignatieff.  One can well understand that Michael is a bit down at this time on the future of the Liberal Party.  We can only hope that Michael will be the last person chosen to lead the Liberal Party without knowing where it wants to go.

There is no question but the Liberal Party of Canada does have some self-destructive tendencies.  As does any political party.  It is a safety mechanism for the voters.  Our voting system of first-past-the-post also provides wild swings in party representation.  In comparison, proportional voting would provide glacial change and the country would stagnate politically.

As gloomy as Michael and some others might be about the Liberal party, its current condition is really an opportunity.  Political parties have to be able to renew themselves.  New ideas, new solutions are available to those who seek them.  An open and democratic party can not only refresh its direction but lay out a better future for Canadians.

What the Liberal Party might never find is a way to rid itself of those who would hold it back.  To admit that naysayers are necessary is to admit that you need internal checks and balances on your arguments for a future.  And you accept the inevitable.  You let them stay because you need the early warnings on the arguments of your enemies.

But they have to be open to change.  That is part of being liberal.  Liberalism should never be a fixed target.  It moves with the times.  It has to be in the current century.  While liberalism in Canada might have its origins in the muddy streets of  19th Century Toronto, it has embraced a country stretching from Labrador to Vancouver Island.

In his book When the Gods Changed, Newman concludes that Canada no longer needs a Liberal Party.  In the same manner, one can also conclude that Canadians no longer need a Conservative Party.  And while Canada very much needed a Tommy Douglas, the union-dominated New Democratic Party has proved itself an anachronism.

We certainly need a new Liberal Party.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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