Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Liberal Identity

The Liberal Party lost the last election not because they didn't know what they stood for, but because they stopped looking.

After the last election many party officials, pundits and members of the public claimed the Liberals lost because they didn't stand for anything, that Liberals didn't even know who they were, and as these comments are reflected upon, one cannot help but be reminded that the Liberal's identity problem is Canada's as well.

Ever since confederation our politicians, our generals, our poets, and our artists, have all sought to define what it is to be Canadian. While some rest on the definition of "Not American" or suggest Canadians were formed merely out of a response to our southern neighbour, the definition provided of our own national being is often nebulous and vague.

And though some general characteristic is often mentioned such as politeness or some affinity to hockey and syrup, the history of Canada shows that we find the definition of what being Canadian is in the pursuit of it. That in continuing to search for who we are, we find we are characterized by the search itself, we find we are not dogmatic, we find we are open and tolerant, and we find we never give up.

In almost 150 years of our country, our citizenship has not been chained by time, restrained in historical context from some emotional fluctuation of a moment long past, but instead in always seeking to define ourselves, our citizenship has always been one based on principle and freed by eternal reason.

What it is to be Liberal, is the same as it is to be Canadian, whether we begin from Liberal principles or the Charter, we must always continue to seek to define ourselves, not for one brief moment in time, but for all of it.

The Liberal Party lost the last election not because it didn't define itself, but because it did. The Liberal Party lost because of traditions within the party, because of old minds within the organization, and most importantly they lost because the Liberals stopped seeking to define who they were and instead defined themselves as who they weren't.

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