Second: Ponder positive policies.

One of the very first lessons of politics is to understand that the average voter does not relate to discussions involving millions of dollars. What people relate to is coffee money. If Torontonians, for example, could just think of the billions their city needs for an upgraded transit system in terms of the daily cost of their Tim Horton’s coffee, it would all make sense.

And in dealing with national policies at the Liberal Party conference this weekend, we have to know that if we cannot relate costs to coffee money we will only confuse Canadians. That is the challenge we face. We have to put a positive positioning on policy while keeping it simple.

That will not be easy when the party brass is trying to push policy discussions into a straightjacket of centering on the economy. That is akin to determining how many economists can dance on the head of a pin.

But liberals are up to dealing in big solutions. We can start a dialogue on a guaranteed wage for all Canadians. We can have new and better travel options for people and goods to reach all corners of our vast country—from east to west and north to south. And we have to reach out to the world with understanding and concern and a new attitude in foreign relations. We have to bring our own people to a better understanding of each other. We have to be honest with each other about the environment. We have to take Canada and the world’s environmental needs seriously.

That means we cannot just ship tar sands bitumen to countries that do not care about the environment. Nor can we allow any province to pollute for profit. This country belongs to all of us and that is something every province has to recognize. We have to care.

And for those who want to change how our country is governed or how we vote or what to do with unelected Senators, we have to make the big plans. We can elect a constitutional congress and let those matters be debated, resolved and then brought back to the citizens for judgement in a referendum. Canada must be a major world player in the 21st Century but first we need to be proud of how our own house functions.

To run a beautiful and as complex a country as Canada, being a liberal only helps. You need more than being a liberal. You need caring. You have to care about the land and the people and their future. For the future is the country.


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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