Friday, June 18, 2010

Liberal Party of Canda a dinosaur? Andrew Coyne thinks perhaps!

Andrew Coyne, the editor of Maclean's, has a piece in this week's edition about the demise of the Liberal Party as we have known it. He cites the unrestrained talk of merger with the NDP as one of many failures of Party Leader Michael Ignatieff, along with fuzzy thinking and talking about a variety of issues. He also cites the entry of former leader Jean Chretien into the merger talks as a sign of how troubled he is about the current state of the Liberal Party.
Noting that the Liberals and the NDP have some common interests, Coyne also points to the fact of the "big tent" of the Liberal Party, with a sizeable number of small "c" conservative-leaning MP's. With this in mind, Coyne simply does not believe that the Liberal Party will ever merge with the NDP with the possible exception of a minority parliament and a need (urgent) to make arrangements to form a government with NDP support.
While it is easy to trash Ignatieff (stuffy, intellectual, untried, snob etc.), it is the complete lack of a clearly defined goal, including party platform and the mechanisms and dollars to deliver it to the Canadian people that is so tragically missing.
Medicare needs federal Liberal Party support and strengthening with dental and drug benefits;
a green cap-and-trade approach to green house gases is long overdue;
Some Liberals themselves, have long advocated a guaranteed annual income;
 Post-secondary education has become a finishing school for white collar workers, and has witnessed the virtual death of the traditional "liberal arts" education, a basis for any active and challenging citizenship;
Research dollars are in short supply for the "arts" research and creativity that undergirds all university educations;
Afghanistan is continuing as an open sore, with bodies returning every week in caskets, for their ride along the highway of heroes, and the Liberals are unclear about their stance on the future of Canda's mission;
The separatist threat in Quebec has not been removed with the "Nation Status" bill from the House of Commons. What would the Liberals do to eliminate the continuing "threat" that hangs above the head of all Canadian Parliaments?
The Oil Sands needs much greater controls to preserve and protect the environment;
Canada needs a foreign policy that brings our interests, policies and actions in line with most of the countries of the "west" in such areas a financial services, including the bank fund for future bank-spurred debacles.
The Arts Community is crying out for legitimate public support from the federal government, since the Conservatives are "aesthetic" Philistines and cannot see past the bottom line of the accounts to the significant contribution of the arts to the life of every city and town in the country.
The country still has an high illiteracy rate, and the feds could do much more to shore that important skill in all sections of the land.
Canadian water is soon to be commodified, and sold; the federal government needs to stop that urge in its tracks, and declare water a human "right" not just another product for sale.
New arrangements are still needed with the First Nations peoples.
There is a place for the Liberal Party, with a clear, unequivocal call to action in the long-term interests of the people of this is relatively easy to imagine an effective program on which to base both fund-raising and electioneering.
Whether anyone has the political smarts, the street smarts and the courage to take on such a project, given the forlorn state of the party, is a matter of considerable doubt and debate.
The NDP is only chomping at the "bit" to be given a serious opportunity.

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