“Never trust anyone over 30.”

Hearing from readers in attendance at the recent Ontario liberal gathering, most were impressed by the numbers of younger attendees. Those are the ones to rebuild and revitalize the party. What they hardly need is us greybeards. We have had our day at the helm. Use us for cannon fodder or what you wish but what this new party needs is youth, energy, enthusiasm and ideas.

And do not worry about a name and descriptors until you have come to common agreement on the political direction. And the last thing you need to worry about is leadership. If you define a party by its leader, you know that your party stands or falls on that human’s strengths and weaknesses. Think of the strong leaders of the past and the parties that sought to do their bidding. Think of what lives longer: an idea or a person?

While the American right wing can make ‘liberal’ a curse word, it has always been an honourable word in Canada. The liberal party of Canada has been tall with the likes of Wilfrid Laurier, MacKenzie King and Pierre Trudeau. Each brought strength and honour and progress to Canada.

Consider first the new party’s objectives. And what type of political future do Canadians want? Do they want the opportunities offered by progressive government? Do they want the concern for individual rights and freedoms that true liberals want? Do they care about green space, protecting our farmlands and the environment? Do they want vibrant, active cities with training and job opportunities for all? Do they want freedom for the arts, expanded challenges for our academics, and an open society to entertainers? Do they want us to keep our word to our aboriginal Canadians?

Many will say that all of these concerns need leadership. If we make them common cause, we are all providing the leadership. A party leader is a pilot who brings you into harbour, a priest or priestess who serves the temple, an industrious sales manager, a chief executive officer and chair who heads the board, a spokes person. The party must define the leader. The leader does not define the party.

“Never trust anyone over 30!” was a slogan attributed to the free-speech movement at American universities in the 1960s. Maybe we need to revive it today to get us out of the same failures of politics in the 21st century.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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