Thursday, March 11, 2010

Liberals Fail To Be An Alternative

Something can't be an alternative until you know what it's supposed to be an alternative to. And this is how the Liberals have failed to present an alternative choice, because for years no one knew what this Conservative Party was, most still don't.

Since the conservative parties merged, there has been no conservative party, only that of the capitalized kind; and at the time of the Conservative Party's conception, with no clear ideological base, no one has capitalized more than Stephen Harper.

With Harper at the helm, interests have been moderated and repressed, and middle ground sought. The issues of gay marriage and senate reform have been and currently are being mitigated by Harper pushing them to their eventual political dead ends. His base in response doesn't blame him while he has in effect taken them off the table. Leaving a party that has replaced many of its traditional conservative values with those of a more moderate variety.

Through the four years this Conservative Party has held power, the Liberal Party has struggled to present an alternative. This is not because the Liberals didn't present ideas, because they did, it's because the Liberals could not define themselves against an undefinable foe. The problem being that the Conservative Party has moved right, but it has also moved in every other direction. From increased spending, bigger government, withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the acquiescence to same-sex marriage and abortion, how could any liberal ideology counter a party that didn't have an ideology of its own to speak of.

As a consequence, in 2008 the Liberals unable to grasp the philosophy of the party that they were meant to oppose, formed a platform in isolation. Without context to their chief rival's sporadic ideas, Liberal policies weren't even on the same level as Conservatives ones, let alone substitutes. Where Liberals focused on one issue, the environment, they left others out, it was as if they were offering Canadians a yard, while Conservatives were offering a house, albeit a house composed of ill-fitting parts. The election featured two separate and completely different platforms and the results demonstrated clearly a few trees isn't an alternative to four walls and a roof.

With no major policy announcements by the Liberals led by Michael Ignatieff it appears as if the problem persists, that Liberals cannot present an alternative to this government. However as the last year has shown, this previously ambiguous Conservative Party is becoming more and more defined. Though specific policy is still lacking, Conservative actions have been finally giving this blue entity a form. It is a party that views parliamentary democracy as a nuisance; a party that believes it can increase spending without raising taxes; and one that instead of strengthens, weakens Canada's international reputation.

This, and more, is what the Conservative Party is and as they define themselves, the Liberals can define a real alternative.

3 comments:

CK said...

In Quebec, where, for the most part, sovereignty had been pretty much shelved. One would think in this instance the Parti Quebecois and the Bloc Quebecois would have lost their raison d'etre given their main mandate was to separate from ROC.

In 2008 election campaign, the Bloc didn't campaign on sovereignty; it just simply campaigned that it was the only party to block Stephen Harper from making gains in Quebec. Premier Charest even campaigned for them. The party of anybody But Charest was successful in Quebec.

What I don't get is why the Liberals can't succeed with that very same message?

Have most Canadians forgot what Steve said in his days of Reform and NCC that we would no longer recognize Canada once he was done with the place? We have surely read his anti-Canadian pro-George W Bush Americana positions? Do most honestly think he has changed his stripes? Do most honestly think he has centered himself? I guess not, when I hear that some progressives would even muse about allowing a Harpercon majority (which, by the by, would be a totalitarian regime if anyone caught the last Nov. by-election slogan of "action, no election" would understand what I mean). Steve is an Evangelical Fundy Christian like the late Jerry Falwell, Sarah Palin, GW Bush, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Kirk Cameron. About half the Harpercons are from that sub-culture. I can't believe that no one is as frightened as I am at the prospect of that fundy with a majority. Knowing Stevie, any opposition to his majority would be absolutely useless. Look what he does with a minority!

ONe major difference between Liberals and Canadian GOP: Liberals are not evangelicals nor do they rule that way. That should be enough for the time being.

I'm sorry, but if Harper is allowed his majority, check out even more folks blaming the Liberals for that. It doesn't cut it. If he does get his majority, it is the fault of Voter Apathy or those with unrealistic expectations that come with that.

I ask the question again, if an anyone but Harper worked for a separatist party in Quebec, how come it doesn't work for the Liberals?

Tom said...

To answer your question, the reason that 'anybody but Harper' won't work for the LPC is that the mood in Canada is 'anybody but Iggy'.
Produce some policies that Canadians can identify with, then elect a new leader (not install a new leader Try looking for a grass roots Liberal).

CK said...

Well, Tom, if you're of the conservative persuasion, then I can get why you would say that. As you were.

However, if you're progressive, then I really don't understand your comment and I have two questions:

1) Why is a Christian Fundamentalist with Evangelical MPs who resemble the likes of Kirk Cameron, Jim and Tammy-Faye Baker; who, if let loose with a majority, would send us sooo far back, like criminalizing abortion, Americanizing what's left 0f our universal health care (can you say, pre-existing condition?), privatizing everything, no more services, complete deregulation (which caused the recession in the first place)of banking and big oil industries, that much more appealing than Iggy?

2) I never believed Iggy was a suitable leader for the Liberal party or any other party, and he may be relatively unknown, but what is sooo terrible about him? What makes him even less appealing and frightening than Reverend steve and his evangelical disciples?