John Ibbitson put forward a radical idea today
for renewing the Liberal Party in his Globe & Mail article... how about opening up the Liberal Leadership process to an open and national primary system? And you know what? I honestly think that's a GREAT idea!
Most of my readers will know, of course, that I'm a card-carrying Tory, and that I'm committed to the DESTRUCTION of the Liberal Party of Canada... IN IT'S PRESENT INCARNATION
, that is. Fundamentally, on a vast majority of the issues, I actually fall more to the left side of the Conservative Party... other than key SoCon issues of course, but I'm actually a lot more "Red Tory" than most people realize. (for example, most long-time readers will recall that I'm not a big fan of "small government"... I'm more a fan of "SMALLER Government", but do think that the Government should indeed be in charge of more sectors than my Libertarian friends do...)
All that being said, I do believe that Canada needs a true "centrist" option, but one that's NOT powerful enough to be able to form a Government on it's own. I think having a smaller rump of a party, say 20-40 seats, that could be a governing partner on either side of the political spectrum, would be a healthy thing for Canada. The problem is that the current LPC doesn't really care about the issues, they care only about POWER... and as such, spends more time trying to score political points with issues, instead of articulating an actual VISION that keeps the Party consistent. (one of the reasons I hate the current LPC so much is that they have the political consistency of JELLO... wobbly, slippery, and impossible to nail to a wall)
So an idea that will force the LPC to actually define a more consistent VISION, even one that changes with the changing of it's leadership, (instead of changing on an issue by issue, week to week basis)
could be beneficial to Canadians. (And it might help to end the trend of mindless peons who simply vote Liberal because their families have ALWAYS voted Liberal, because people would actually have to start THINKING before they vote for their "default" family option...)
This idea might actually lead to a true "centrist" Canadian party, instead of a leftist/statist conglomerate of special interest groups that Canadian voters soundly rejected in the last election. Imagine... average voters, who want to have a say but don't want to pay a membership or join a Party, being able to pick the "vision" from a field of candidates that most closely aligns to their own. It would result in LESS power for the special interest groups that currently hold the Liberal Party hostage, and create a more "Canadian" centrist party than currently exists. Because you see, right now the Libs think that only what they deem as "Canadian values" are the only values that are legitimate... this would end that notion, because real CANADIANS, and not special interest groups, would be telling the LPC what "Canadian" values really are.
As a result of that, their platform would be RADICALLY different than their most recent offerings. It would be a more realistic reflection on what Canadians are actually thinking, and not what the various LPC Grand Poobahs try to LECTURE Canadians on how they should think. (by the way... how's that strategy working for you guys these days?)
Hey, if the regular Joe Canadian was able to have a say like that, they may even come up with a vision that I'd be willing to vote for! (Of course, I'm talking about when Harper retires after his FOURTH CONSECUTIVE MAJORITY MANDATE!
Of course, you all know why I like Harper so much... clearly RIGHT, but pragmatically
so, and as such able to make decisions for the good of the WHOLE COUNRTY, not being held captive to the influence of one or two special interest groups. He lines up with my vision of the country perfectly... someone who's clearly "conservative", but can govern a nation filled with people of ALL political stripes. Yea, I'm hoping he sticks around for a few terms.
But back to the Liberal Party... I actually voted for them in 1997. NOT for the LPC of course, but for my LOCAL candidate. I'd met him a number of times, and he more closely aligned with my vision and values than the "used car salesman" that the Reform had put forward, or the "dead man walking" that the PC's had put forward. (plus there was that whole "get your act together before I vote for you guys" attitiue that I had for both parties on the right back in those days...)
So personally, I'm a fan of Ibbitson's idea. Just imagine with me for a few moments... various candidates with truly differing visions, travelling around the country from province to province, with different provinces voting on different days, weeks apart like in the US primaries. Have two "divisions" of provinces, with the smaller ones slated to go first, and the three most populous ones later in the process, to ensure that the Big Three don't get to decide who the leading candidates are before the rest of the country has had their say. Instead of having set dates within each division, have a randomly assigned order every cycle, so that you don't get a PEI or New Brunswick always going first, and thus avoiding a perpetually and overly important New Hampshire or Iowa primary. This would also ensure that no one of the Big Three gets to set the agenda for the other two, which would certainly NOT be helpful to national unity.
By having such a process in place, and allowing ANY Canadian to have their say, it would not only renew the Liberal Party, but it would have a profound impact on the other parties as well... the Conservative Party would thereby define themselves with a truly "RIGHT" vision, and the NDP would more likely define themselves with a truly "LEFT" vision. Once the votes are cast in the General Election, Canadians will have more clearly indicated where they want the country to go, and opening up the potential for true coalition governments that would likely more accurately reflect the political will of the people.
For the record, it would actually be NICE to have a real CHOICE when it comes to voting... because right now, I don't have much choice at all. If I don't want to vote Conservative, I don't have an option... there's no way I'd give the NDP the keys to 24 Sussex (though I do think you're a nice guy and all Jack...)
and I know the current Liberal Party would simply continue their pattern of social destruction that started way back in 1968. (fortunately, I've got it easy these days, with Harper in charge... cause I actually WANT him to be leading the country. As for the next leader? Who knows... a Mike Harris or Bernard Lord sure, but a Kim Campbell, a Jean Charest, or maybe a Libertarian? Not a chance!)
And I'm being serious here guys... this isn't some nefarious post, secretly wishing that they take my advice and completely destroy themselves... this is an honest evaluation of the idea. It's an idea that I'd very likely partake in... and if I don't like the result of the Leadership contest, I've still got the Conservatives as an option! But I think such an idea would offer real CHOICE to Canadian voters, and would allow for an open, honest, and regularly renewed Liberal Party of Canada. Which is, if I'm correct, what they're aiming for this time around. Well, at least that's what many Liberal voters are hoping for... but as for the current crop of Party insiders, I'm not holding my breath.
Labels: "progressives", Liberal, Liberalism, Liberals, loony lefties