Can Ontario liberals renew their party?

You can hardly package a new political party along with decaying fish and hope to win plaudits. And that was what it must have felt like last weekend when the Ontario liberals gathered to lick their wounds and look hopefully into the future. The first task was to understand what went wrong. The second was to find out what type of party was needed in the future.

There are as many viewpoints about what went wrong as there are electoral districts in Ontario. The basic problem though is that a party run from the top down cannot survive. The arrogance of the coterie centered around the leader of the party becomes a weight that the party cannot overcome. The arrogance, privilege and entitlement of the party elite vanquishes the ambitions of people seeking to serve in the lower echelons of the party.

And there is no rule that says there has to be an Ontario liberal party. There is a life cycle in politics as there is in human existence on this fragile world. Neither can survive the constant abuse of those benefitting from its largess.

What was hardest for voters to understand this year was the kind of politics liberals were offering. They were constantly confused by the arrogance, corruption and the meager dispersal of the largess of civilized society. Nothing came from them as a whole. The programs were all piecemeal and with confused labelling of right or left.

The liberals led up to the June election constantly throwing goodies at the wall and hoping something would stick. They found the rot had gone too far. Against an opponent that held them aghast, they collapsed.

Now the question is do they resurrect the liberal ethic in the same-old suit or do they build a new party for modern voters.

The basic problem with the ‘same-old’ suit is there is confusion on whether it is of the left or the right or basically a moving target?

But if you weigh the needs of Ontario, you will agree that there is a strong need for a left of centre liberalism. In a liberal society, we need a party that can build on and assure citizens of the open, classless, society of opportunity that it deserves.

At a time when the new democrats are failing, we need to offer a home to the left of politics. Whether we do that as a Liberal Democratic Party or as social democrats, is incidental. What we must be is progressive, environmentally conscious and caring. This is what Ontario, and Canada deserve.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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