Friday, June 12, 2009

Where do the Liberals Go?

Red Tory has an interesting post up wherein he opines that Iggy doesn't appear to offer any tangible alternative to what the Harper government is doing.

I agree. But this isn't just a problem for Iggy, it's a problem for the Liberals and it's one that won't go away any time soon. It is also a problem that existed for well over a decade but was masked in the Chretien era by the fractured right. In the Chretien days, the Liberals could occupy the center-center. They didn't have to concern themselves with being in the center-right or center-left because the conservatives weren't really in the game. As long as they had policies that put them in the mushy middle they were fine. All the while the NDP carried the true "progressive" banner.

Times have changed and there is no doubt now that the right is unified and will be for some time. So who is the "party of the left"? Were the Liberals a real ideological alternative to Harper the last time around or were they a lesser of two evils - a somewhat bitter pill for progressives to swallow in an "anybody but Harper" strategy? Can a party that ostensibly appears to exist to attain power for power's sake, continue to occupy a field with two competing ideological alternatives for Canadians?

The next decade will be an interesting period in the Canadian polity. Some say that it is time for the "left to unite" with the assumption that it will be the NDP that folds into the Liberals. I'm not so sure that it won't be the other way around. Not with an explicit organized effort - but over time, with political forces naturally taking their course.


  1. He's not Harper. And people do not like Harper. Policies don't matter much in elections.

  2. "people do not like Harper"

    A bit of an overstatement, I'd say, given that "people" have voted him into power in two successive elections.

    As for policies, I'd have to disagree. They matter. A lot.

  3. The united right was a reunion of one party.
    The united left would be the melting down of two parties.
    The Liberals think of the LPC as an 'institution', they will not unite with the Dippers.

  4. Good post, Biff.

    I just finished reading Bob Plamondon's 'Blue Thunder.'

    There are two factors that will likely cause minority governments for the foreseeable future: the united right and the continued presence of the Bloc.

    I don't see the left uniting for the reasons that Wilson stated.

  5. Where do the Liberals go? Do you allow swear words, Biff?
    Just kidding. ( that's my polite side surfacing)

    The Liberals seem to want to continue on in their dysfunctional patterns of denial. They really have it seems, half or more of their caucus that in fact are very, very left. Count Igs, is not the man to rein that in and unite them. He has absolutely no past history of managing personalities and stroking an ego here and there.
    Whoops correction, other than his own.

    That is essential with this crew and until they find that person, it will be all a big facade and a fractured family.

    No uniting and egos will get in the way of floor crossing or quiting, is my vote.

  6. "people do not like Harper" what people...your people?? 30+ million people in canada and they all hate Harper? Grow up!

  7. Just watched the video of Ignatieff and his decision to make a decision. This country should weep for the loss of articulate leadership from the Liberals. Note to the Leader of the Opposition, control your large hand movements - you don't look in control and its rather disconcerting to watch the disconnect between hands and mouth. Policy wise, I still have no idea what the Opposition proposals are - they just claim to be disappointed in the government. Well I'm disappointed in the weather but have no plan on how to change it either. The Conservative government is working within its means to bring the country out of recession. Perhaps more than a few months are needed to turn an economy around. Fern StAlbert

  8. The liberals stand for nothing . They have no policy . They have no plan for the economy or anything else that they are willing to share with us un-entitled ones . Their only reason for forcing an election is because Ignegatiff is getting too old and impatient to hang around much longer. Ignegatiff will cost the country $300,000,000.00 because he feels he is entitled to be the boss . His qualifications for becoming prime minister of Canada are a couple of honorary university degrees and an international drivers license .
    Millions of Canadians , that for some reason known only to God , their psychiatrists , prison wardens and social workers, that call themselves liberals will vote for Ignegative . It doesn't matter what liberal governments have done in the past because they like being stolen from , lied to and having the football pulled away just as they are going to kick it . And they are proud of this .

  9. The Liberals have always been an association for power. These days the association has been breaking up for the simple reason that quite a few traditional Liberals see themselves dissolving into a stark right or left dichotomy. Many Dippers such as Bob Rae and Gerard Kennedy have been attempting to move the Liberals further left. So far they have failed. If this keeps up the mainstream Liberal voters and some incumbents will move to a moderate centrist Conservative party.