The Liberal Party of Canada is far from dead. Pundits prattling about its demise do not make it so. Nor has it succumbed to wounds so grievously inflicted by friends such as the Toronto Star. Being deserted by voters in the last election is a wake-up call for the party to heed.
Existing means choices. And the Liberal Party has choices. The choice of the middle of the road is gone. The voters know it is meaningless. They do not trust it and they are smart not to. Wishy-washy will not work. You have to stand for something.
And liberals have always been good at standing up for the individual in our society. It is where we stand for access to education for all. Where we stand up for women’s rights and daycare and national dental and drug plans. This is equal opportunity for all that means something. And that road is on the left.
Neither Stephen Harper nor Thomas Mulcair’s parties work for the individual in our society. Mr. Harper’s Conservatives could care less. Mr. Mulcair leads a party that looks at people only in the collective. Mr. Harper treats people as commodities—to be manipulated and used and discarded. Mr. Mulcair’s New Democrats are dominated by the NDP’s member unions.
You hardly need to be a mathematical genius to know that the day the Liberal and New Democrat parties unite their votes, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives will be defeated. We can welcome the NDP to work with us. We can keep an open door.
But in the meantime, the Liberal Party needs a new leader. It will have to be a leader pledged to having an open party. It will be a party where ridings pick their candidates without interference from Ottawa or regional headquarters. It will be a party where policy is decided by the rank and file in effectively and democratically run policy conventions.
The new Liberal Party leader will be able to hold out the olive branch to New Democratic Party members who share our respect for individual rights in a caring society.
The new leader must also hold out the olive branch to all Canadians to ensure that our citizens share equally in the bounty of our nation. That we work to having a balance of resource and manufacturing strengths to support a vigorous and growing economy. That our farmers have the marketing assistance they need to ensure a healthy agriculture base to support our food supply. And that is a beginning.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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