It could be ten years before the Liberal Party of Canada will again be able to form a government. This is one reality that their membership should consider as they move forward in rebuilding their party.
It could be ten long years sitting in the wilderness or it could be ten long years of small victories and there are plenty of victories to be won. The victory of a growing membership or the victory of increased funding opportunities if the corporations are again allowed to participate in the open. And even from their new position as the smaller opposition party, the victory of principled participation in exposing the ideological extremism of the parties on the left and the right.
Polling numbers can improve and additional seats can be won during the next ten years.
The forthcoming extraordinary convention to address the rule changes in choosing a new permanent leader is asking members to vote in favor of a 18 to 22 month schedule or not. To me this seems like a simple choice, yes, take the time.
Eighteen or so months from now the political climate will be different. Canadians will have had time to become either frustrated with a new moderate, yet still incompetent, Harper government or horrified by an ideologically driven Harper government. Canadians will also have had time to meet the official opposition on a regular basis. Sanctimony has never been a cherished trait amongst Canadians.
Eighteen months without an impending election, will give the party time to rebuild. In my not so humble opinion the LPC does not have to reinvent the wheel here, it has rebuild its hub, its reason for being.
The rhetoric of the left claiming that there is no difference between the Liberals and Conservatives will fall upon deaf ears after four years of Harper's extreme right wing and/or incompetent majority governance. The difference will be dramatic. At the same time, a decimated Liberal seat count reduced to a much smaller voice in parliament will void the need for continuing the personal attack ads that were successfully delivered by the conservatives over the past five years. Certainly they would be a waste of effort for the next eighteen months with an interim leader,
Many on the left claim (almost with pride) that Layton will now face the barrage of a new multi million dollar ad campaign by the conservatives. I disagree, Harper's target was the centrist Liberals. This is the political landscape he wants in Canada. A polarized country of left versus right. A choice between your pocket book or your conscience. It is the only way he can succeed.
If anything Harper's attack will be focussed on the opposition as a whole, claiming there is no difference between the NDP and Liberals. If Harper's rhetoric can force a merger of the NDP and Liberals, his redesign of Canada will be complete.
I and many others like me, believe there is a need for a choice between a polarized left and right in Canada, with their own competing fringe groups. We have witnessed the destructive effect this type of polarization has had in the US. It has destroyed their political processes, bastardized their public discourse and corrupted their society as a whole. It is not the direction our country should go in.
Many of us own businesses, have employees, and live on our profit. We do not have retirement benefits, we are on our own here. Our investments, our properties, are our retirement plan and we are now at an age where we want our holdings to increase in value. We want a government that will implement policies to help us expand our businesses and encourage corporate development in Canada. We all have corporate customers and we make a good portion of our income selling and/or servicing these monoliths. We want a business oriented and Bay Street friendly government.
At same time we remember our social upbringing and what we believe are Canadian values and we also want a government that cares for all its citizens, those that need assistance, the sick, the addicted, the aged, the young, the unemployed and the unemployable. A government that protects the rights of the disenfranchised in our society, be it because of gender, sexual orientation, age, national origins or may their god help them, religious beliefs.
In other words we want it all and do not want a polarized country of left versus right or being forced to have to make a choice.
There is a price to pay if you want to be Canadian and do business here. If the price tag has to go up to finally start protecting the environment, then so be it. The same as I would rather drive a Porsche than a Honda, although probably a bad example when talking about the environment, I would rather live in a country that placed humanity and society before profit and greed.
Liberals you have a lot of work to do in the re-defining your role in Canada.
Choosing a strong interim leader and giving them enough time to start this possibly ten year process is fine with me.
I personally hope that Bob Rae becomes that interim leader. He is the most experienced leader sitting in opposition and knows what has to be done to control a possibly fractured caucus. He is also one of most respected democratic statesmen in parliament and he knows how to handle the press. He is good choice.
The eighteen to twenty-two months, will also give time for new leaders to emerge from outside the caucus or provide time for existing front runners to mature. I have no opinion on whom that leader should be, but I strongly suggest that they be in their thirties and forties and not their fifties. This truly could be a ten year rebuilding program.
My one last suggestion to the Liberal Party of Canada, as I step boldly out of the political closet here, is that you should raise the price of membership.
Becoming a Liberal party member for a year should cost me more that the price of a pack of cigarettes.