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A chance for the Liberals to take a chance

COYNE: The assumption the Liberals have a guaranteed place in Canadian politics is obsolete


 
A chance for the liberals to take a chance

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The best way to understand the situation facing the Liberals is to think of the party as a hockey team. It has won several Stanley Cups in a row, but by the last of those cups, it was relying on a clutch of 43-year-old veterans. With their retirement, the team has no option but to spend a few seasons in the basement, rebuilding. If it learns patience, while the draft picks mature and the losses mount, the team may in time become a winner again. If it does not, it becomes the Leafs.

It is still not clear whether the party fully understands the predicament it is in. To be sure, it understands it lost the last election, and lost badly: the worst defeat in its history. But even if Liberals grasp the magnitude of their defeat, they do not seem to grasp its implications.

A case in point is the “road map to renewal” the party’s national executive released last week. The document is properly proud of Liberal achievements, and properly bracing about the task ahead. Yet it remains fixed in the belief that nothing fundamental has changed for the party, or needs to. It just has to do the same things, better: better fundraising, better organizing, better communications, better outreach.

The possibility that the public simply isn’t buying what the Liberals are selling, or that the other parties have succeeded for any reason other than superior efficiency (and deviousness about their true intentions), does not arise. Fix these process issues, and the party can set its sights on victory “at the next Canadian general election in 2015.” The Leafs strategy, in other words.

It isn’t just that the Liberals are not going to win the next election. The whole emphasis on trying to win it is misplaced. For the assumptions underpinning that approach—that the Liberals are an inherently centrist party, the “big tent” occupying the broad middle of Canadian politics, and, as such, guaranteed a place in the firmament—are obsolete.

Because this time really is different, and worse. It is different, not just in degree, but in kind. Previous wipeouts, in 1958 and 1984, bad as they were, did not fundamentally alter the party’s strategic position: if it was not in power, it was at least still the main contender for power, the government in waiting. Now, for the first time, it is the third-place party.

This is not a sudden development. It is the culmination of several decades in which the party has been shedding one regional power base after another—first the West, then Quebec, finally Ontario. Add it up, and the party has lost more than just an election. It has lost its raison d’être, indeed its very identity: as the party of power. The nearness of power was the reason many people joined the party, including some of its biggest names. It was the glue in the Liberal coalition, the pole in the big tent.

If it is no longer the party of power, then it will have to spend some time redefining itself. In ideological terms, this means sharpening the definition. The vagueness that sufficed so long as power was in view will no longer. So the first question Liberals will have to ask is: why? Why be a Liberal, and not a member of some other party?

If the answer, as in the “road map,” is merely to restate that the Liberals, unlike their rivals, are a party of the centre, they may need to think again. Because the other parties will be doing all they can to occupy that same position, with considerably more resources at their disposal. How then to carve out a distinctive case for the Grits?

The answer will lie as much in the way the party develops policies as in the policies it ultimately adopts. On both scores, it will need to capitalize on its own misfortune—to seize the opportunity that defeat affords. Parties that are in close contention for power tend to have little room for dissent, or for that matter democracy. The Liberals, being nowhere near power, have an opportunity to build a truly grassroots, democratic party, one that holds its leaders closely to account, and to let its own example serve as a model of democratic reform for the country.

Similarly, parties near power tend not to take risks. They hug close to the status quo, take care not to offend vested interests, echo each other. So it is that even the most glaring policy failures become untouchable. The Liberals, uncursed by contenderhood, can instead be the bold party, the party that takes the principled stands that other parties won’t. On occasion this will take them to the left; on others, to the right. The constant aim should be to stamp themselves in the public mind as the party that tells it like it is.

But they cannot build such a reputation overnight, or without cost. It can only happen if the party is prepared to stick to its principles over the long haul, even at some sacrifice of short-term electoral success. (The Reform and NDP experiences are both instructive here.) The very process of sharpening its definition of itself, moreover, will inevitably lead to tensions within, possibly even a split in the party.

So be it. Before the Liberals can broaden their base, they must be prepared to shrink it. The broad-to-the-point-of-incoherence coalition that sustained the Liberals in power made little sense even then. Out of power, it may be best if it were broken up. Big tents are all very well, but a tent that’s too big will collapse of its own weight.


 

A chance for the Liberals to take a chance

  1. Liberal Party = Toronto Maple Leafs
    Great comparison Coyne.

    You will know if the Liberal Party will survive when the Party and the media in the country stop promoting the vacuous ramblings of their Saviour,  Justin, and start appealing to the intelligence of Canadians by talking about how the Liberals have a genuine plan to help the middle-class of the country.

    • Sorry, you’re missing what’s going on there.  We like Justin, think he’s a great guy, but we (and the media) only listen so avidly so we can LOOK at him.  Fortunately, he knows it as well as anyone and doesn’t assume he’s anyone’s Saviour.

      • My mistake. I look at him and I see an annoying light-weight. You look at him and you see……..Hey, this is a family magazine.

    • For sure.  Leaf fans and Liberal voters are the same people.  No matter what is delivered, Leaf fans and Liberal voters just keep on coming back, whether it’s to the arena or the voting booth.   Meanwhile, the rest of the country is endlessly annoyed that the Toronto-centric media continues to put Leafs and Liberals on the airwaves and in print.

  2. Unite with the NDP…..and the left of center will win the next election. Together, in the last election, they had the majotity of votes.

    • Yikes…that is a scary thought!

    • Don’t forget that you can’t just add the votes together; I gotta think at least some LPC voters would vote for the CPC over a NDP-LPC merger.  Some may vote GPC.

      Also, why would the NDP want to merge with the LPC now? The LPC is in such disarray, and the NDP, despite some mis-steps and of course the loss of Jack Layton, it pretty much doing as well as they ever have.

    • yes that’s the answer. move towards a polarized, highly partisan, disfunctional 2 party system like our american cousins.

    • Amazing how quick people are to dismiss that option, eh?

      • The Conservatives came to power by uniting the right against a split left. The Alliance and PC seemed an unholy grouping, but it has worked in their favour.
        I don’t care either for a polarized us and them brand of politics as in the U.S. but I also don’t care for the present scenario.

        • That’s such a crappy argument.  The Alliance and PCs move was more of a re-uniting that a merger.

          • Hardly…the Alliance was as far right of the PCs as the NDP further left of the Libs. Their merger was strategic from the onset with the hope of gaining all of the right wing vote under one party….and it worked.

          • Almost all of the Reform-Alliance voters were former PC`s—that is what nmm66 is telling you.

          • The term is called “usurping”.

            Why anyone would consider the CPC having anything to do with the old PC is beyond me…

      • If the Liberals were the second place party in the House of Commons, there would be no talk about a Liberal-NDP coalition.  It’s only because the Liberals are the 3rd place party that some people want a coalition.

        • Really?  Did you used to want a coalition and now you don’t?  My position on the coalition thing hasn’t changed at all.  Okay, yes it has.  It has gotten stronger with another election under the belt.  The results of a Harper majority made it stronger, but my Liberals sitting in third place didn’t make me swing from not wanting one to suddenly wanting one.  The thing is, it has to be ahead of an election, and I’ve always felt that.

          • You want a coalition because you know it is the only way to win an election, however, as nmm66 as explained above, it is a probable impossibility.

          • I’m taking a Great Course on “Impossible” right now, and our professor cautions us when using that word.  Is it an absolute impossibility?  Certainly not, there are no rules of nature which prohibit it.  Is it a physical impossibility?  Don’t be silly, any human (or more correctly, every human) has the basic physical structure (i.e., humanity) to become Prime Minister.  So it must be a statistical impossibility.  I suggest to you it may be improbable, but not such a long-shot as to take the impossible title.  Of course, the last words our professor just said to me was “a thing travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible depending on what is meant by ‘a thing'”.  I only hope he didn’t include a neutrino as “a thing” or he could turn out to be the poster child for the irony of arrogance with which he started the course.

            The point being, as a Liberal, I don’t expect to ‘win’ an election with a coalition–at best we’d be the junior partner–but I do think it is worth the chance to ‘win’ by getting rid of Harper.  Would a coalition beat Harper?  I don’t know, but I do know that even when some voters switch from either Liberal or NDP to Conservative to prevent it, there will still be more votes NOT split between the two.  Will there be enough?  Hey, its like a horse-race.  If we knew the outcome ahead of time, why bother with the race?

          • I`m going to stick with the probable impossibility as far as a successful NDP-Liberal merger. I know so many Liberals who dislike the NDP more than I do.
            The only chance for your “possible” to happen is for the ” getting rid of Harper ” feeling to be so strong that many future  Lib-Dippers are willing to sell  ( or at least rent ) their soul for a chance for power. The problem is that the longer Harper is PM, the more comfortable he is and the less willing enough people will take to the streets to replace him.

          • Whoa, Calvin, you went from a coalition to a merger!  I happen to agree a merger would be a whole lot closer to impossible.  I don’t advocate for that, in fact I’m fairly dead set against it.

          • I`m confused Jenn.
            Merger- Smerger.
            I don`t know what conspiracies, proposals, unifications, mean anymore.

            Whatever happens, it would be appreciated here if an alternative government would be prepared to govern without the disastrous policies I hear from the NDP front bench lately.

      • Just take a good, long, look south… is that what you want? 

        On another note, you could always move there – if the U.S. is your thing.

        • In fact, I support a coalition (BTW, I don’t support a merger at all!) for the very purpose of keeping us from that kind of polarized nonsense as we see down south.  Try to remember the coalition isn’t an end in itself.

  3. The Liberals as the party of principle … ….     … 

    Need I say more.  No, I need not.

    • Sure, bringing in pension reform, universal health care, needed minority language rights, modernization of the legal and judicial system while finally bring the constitution home after 150 years and negotiating a charter that entrenches individual rights, all are all the actions of unprincipled power hungry cads. There are times when i think hard  core consevative objections to Liberals are based more on jealousy or envy then any real set of opposing principles.

      • There is no doubt that the Liberal party was once great, and thus principled.  That has not been the Liberal party of my lifetime, however.  In my lifetime the Liberal party has been a power-hungry, unprincipled organization which fostered bribery and sinecures with taxpayer money, hewed to the most faddish positions of the day regardless of their merit, and painted Canadians who opposed it as extremists and hatemongers.  This has not won said party a lot of respect among those who value integrity, open-minded debate, leadership, and patriotism.

        As to your specific examples, most of which (as mentioned above) predate me, I will only say that we disagree on the relative worth of several.  Most notable among these is the Charter, which, far from entrenching individual rights, has allowed blatant injustice and the trampling of individual rights in such items as hate crimes laws/tribunals and the killing of children in utero.  But these, and the general uselessness of the Charter, are a discussion for another day.

        • I don’t have a serious issue with your characterization of the LPC in that first para, particularly after Chretien’s third term – perhaps much earlier. The third term was simply hubris on his part, simply wishing to go for a record. Chretien was a party hack for over 40years, and a good one, often effective, but it ended badly, in some measure down to Martin and their generally toxic relationship within the party – i guess that’s what happens when you don’t really know what you’re in power for anymore.
          As to painting opponents as extemists – yes and no. I did live through that period. And yes the libs did/ have reaped the whirlwind for not respecting the views of political opponents, impugning their motives as well as misrepresenting and distorting the beliefs of religious and family groups. That said there was both bigotry and ignorance expressed quite openly in some quarter by some reformers – that’s a fact. The way to deal with this is not of course to tar everyone with the same brush for purely political reasons; in the short run it paid off, but boy did it come back on them. as it should.
          So, now we have the former victims in the cat bird seat. They of course will have learned these leasons being informed and guided by their superior conservative principles and religious convictions[ not everyone of course] That happened, didn’t it? Steinbeck was right, the belief that people learn anything from their mistakes is itself wrong. We learn nothing!
          As for the charter it has been said[ most recently in Ron Graham’s Last act] that what Trudeau did was take power and responsibility for guarding individual rights out of the hands of individual pols and legislatures, where it had often been subject to the whims of the public and caprice of politics  and put it where it belongs, in the hands of the people of Canada. Polls at the time and to this day show a huge plurality of canadian’s concur.
          I know of no authority that cites the charter as being responsible for hate/tribunals or the tragedy of abortion. Respectfully, i think you are projecting.

          • Well, that is an interesting and well-thought-out opinion.  I don’t think this is the place for it, but I’d be very interested to discuss the impact of the Charter on our society at some future point with you.

          • Sure, My pleasure.

  4. Please elaborate how it is that the “Reform and NDP experiences are both instructive” of the notion you describe as party (ies) “prepared to stick to its principles
    over the long haul, even at some sacrifice of short-term electoral
    success?”

    If the Reform and NDP parties are indicative of anything, it’s precisely the opposite, no?

    • “Reform and NDP experiences are both instructive”, because for years both parties preached principles. Ultimately both parties gained more power as the power craving, power controlling Liberals gradually lost their principles. To further understand this, one must remember that the electorate has a very short memory. Of course, the NDP and Conservative party have been ditching their princples annually, but the electorate has stamped on their brain that both parties are more principled than the Liberals. The Liberals will have to be as principled as the NDP and Conservatives were; thereby gradually, and eventually, overcoming the perception that the Liberal Party is a power craving, political machine without principles.  

      The reasoning by Coyne is logical, but that does not make Coyne’s logical argument true,

  5. “The possibility that the public simply isn’t buying what the Liberals are selling, or that the other parties have succeeded for any reason other than superior efficiency (and deviousness about their true intentions), does not arise. Fix these process issues, and the party can set its sights on victory “at the next Canadian general election in 2015.” The Leafs strategy, in other words.”

    That’s a little harsh AC. The debate that is going on amongst the membership is vigorous, and is looking beyond fixing stuff that is broken other than process. What i’m not sure about is what the leadership core thinks. Certainly they seem to see this primary process as a sort of magic bullet; but to be fair they say this idea has come up from the bottom as much as been forced down from the top. In any case i have the feeling the process thing is meeting significant, if still minority, push back from disgruntled long term members, who want to see more emphasis on rebuilding, reconnecting with the moribund EDAs rather then attempting to lure in new supporters using gimmicky outreach tools – it is not absolutely clear who will win that battle until the 2012 convention is over.

  6. “If it is no longer the party of power, then it will have to spend some time redefining itself. In ideological terms, this means sharpening the definition. The vagueness that sufficed so long as power was in view will no longer. So the first question Liberals will have to ask is: why? Why be a Liberal, and not a member of some other party?”

    I worry about this too. I try myself to push for this sharpening of idealogical definition. Every party has its faults and one of the worst for modern day Liberals is an aversion to offending anyone, and in the process trying to be all things to all people. The party[or its leadership] seems to be risk adverse where risk is necessary, vital even. Perhaps that is what happens to you when you’ve held on to the reins of power for too long; you can see signs of it happening to SH already. Even though i stand opposed to what the man represented pre ’06 i find it quite sad to see the man lose one by one all of his idealogical sharp edges and become Mr everyman with a mean streak. SH pre’06 i could respect – this guy i don’t even recognize.
    I’m starting to wonder whether any party that wins power can avoid becoming a clone of the more vacuous, undefinable Liberal party. It seems to be who Canadians really are; or more fairly who they think they want to have govern them.  

    Then again few if any Liberals could have seen the party propose so bold and visionary a plan as the road map to renewal lays out. So perhaps we’re both underestimating the party’s resilience, capacity to listen and appetite for renewal AC?

    •      I feel like the problem with the Liberals has been a combo of the aversion to offend and electorial pratices that do offend.

           If you look at the last election the LPC had a decent, everyone can basically agree this is a good thing, kind of platform. It wasn’t bold, it didn’t really offer any policy that absolutely required a Liberal government to be inacted, but it also wasn’t likely to push any prospective voters away.

          Contrast that with their ‘marketing’ campaign during the election. They absolutely went on the offensive, expecially during the latter half of the election. One of the ones that really sticks out in my mind is the “Healthcare” ad. It failed because outside of the misquote issue, the crux of its argument was that the Conservatives want to cut healthcare, and the reason they want to cut healthcare is because  their conservative. Any one who considers themselves to be conservative and happens to like healthcare fine but doesn’t like having an attack ad aimed at them is going to be immediatly turned off. You compare this to the effectiness of the Ignatieff ads which attacked the Liberal institution (in this case the figure head) rather than liberal partisans (I would like to say ideologues, but like you have said that’s a pretty under defined term). Both ads were nasty, but one was effective because it attacked the leader, and the other failed because it attacked the ideology and therefore isolated the offending party from voters.

  7. The only coherent vision that Lib Party can have is to be Party that keeps Government off our backs – we don’t need three parties that support bureaucracy over individual.

    Pearson-Trudeau blew up Liberal Party and it has never been same since. Liberal Party traditionally was party that protected individuals from socialists and social conservatives in government who enjoy controlling other people’s lives. 

    Canada is now a nanny state and NDP = indulgent mom, Cons = stern dad and there is no logical role for Libs other than to be party that says we don’t need third parent. Libs are caught in one of those Chinese finger traps and they are never going to escape because the only thing that unites Libs is their snobbery and disdain for people who aren’t Liberals. 

    Mike Crawley ~ TorStar Editorial:
    The myth of the federal Liberals as Canada’s natural governing party has been propagated by its members and political observers long after its potency had already begun to wane. A Liberal opposition, many thought, was simply a government in waiting until the next election set the world right. The elections of the last 30 years, however, tell a different story. Only once since 1980 has the Liberal Party of Canada defeated a united Conservative party. In the last 37 years, Canadians have just once elected a majority Liberal government when a unified Conservative party was an option. Observing more recent trends, the actual Liberal vote has declined in every election but one since 1993. How in the face of such objective facts has the perception of the omnipotent Liberal party been sustained?

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1037815–long-term-decline-of-a-great-party

    • I see you’re offering links now. That Crawly piece is a rather good summation of the LPC’s plight; it has of course a rather different conclusion and recipe for the future of the party then your narrow slice out of it might lead someone to conclude. 

  8. I don’t get it. So what are the Liberals supposed to do? Give up and go home?

    No, like a good hockey team it figures out what it’s strengths are and focuses on those. In an ideologically split parliament there is no point for the Liberals to try and steal an other party’s thunder, so they focus on what they perceive to be an opening: people who don’t fully buy in to the CPC or the NDP.

    What you seem to say is that this approach is doomed. I don’t agree, I think there are plenty of people who agree with both the NDP and the CPC on various issues and it’s those individuals thew LPC needs to focus and get their vote. The LPC is banking on making sure our parliament doesn’t become as divided as the American Congress and if they can drive that point across they have a shot at letting people their party is still relevant.

    You seem surprised that the admitted objective for the party is to win the next general election yet admit that people are attracted to a party that has a shot at being in power… So if you want them to admit that they have no shot at winningm how in the world are they going to draw interest? If the hockey team comes out and says “we’re not even going to try to make the playoffs” who is going to want to play for them?

    Politics, like a lot of things, is a game. People play to win.

    • I think AC’s point might have been that you can be an effective and idealogically focussed opposition while in opposition[ a la reform/ndp] without giving all your principles in the thirst for power[ IOWs you get influence – think Tommy Douglas] Ironically SH seems to have shed most the baggage and deadweight of his principles in order to wield the power he once railed against. My question is, is that an unavoidable stage in Canadian politics for almost anyone?
      Where i agree with you rather than AC is that from what i have seen the liberals get this now – that it might be a two or multi-step process – at least Rae’s rhetoric to the membership would lead to that inference.

  9. The road map merely restates that the Liberals are a party of the centre?  It spends several pages stating exactly the opposite, reminding readers of its values, which are not on the left-right continuum that endlessly debates what’s better labour or capital, government or the free market.  Maybe that part was too academic, citing Hooker, Locke, Mill, Green, Acton, Popper, Berlin, Voltaire, Rousseau, de Tocqueville, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Rawls, Nussbaum, King, Amartya Sen, Hernando de Soto, and on and on.  The solid anchoring of those Liberal principles as a well-defined set of values quite distinct from the left-right spectrum is something that no one had worried about before.  It’s not about redefining the ideology, it’s about reminding people of what principles have been there all along, having now shed the opportunists wanting to ride some coattails to power.
    And it’s certainly not about developing or adopting new policies.  This is a trap set by pundits who expect an infinite number of detailed policies from Liberals but not from other parties.  It is about communicating the distinctiveness and the basis for Liberal values, to understand how the belief system of Liberal candidates differs from the other venerable political traditions of the country, without having to read 40 books.

  10. The Liberals are offering us Bob Rae and Sheila Copps…that about say it all.

  11. This is a well-written expose of the Liberal Party of Canada’s weakest suit. I suppose from the point of view of a lifelong Liberal party supporter it might be referred to as open-heart surgery – while fully conscious.

    The truth must be confronted. The Libs lost and lost big – and it isn’t anyone else’s fault, but theirs. It is surely the time for introspection and renewal.

    Where will that come from? This party is about as stodgy as they come.

    It will come from selling new memberships in the party, especially to youths. The new ideas will sift their way towards the party leadership and policies will then be tailored accordingly. Many demographics are dying of quiet neglect and may enthusiastically weld themselves to a party willing to be the vehicle for their aspirations.

    New blood is what it’s going to take! I can’t say it more forthrightly than that.

    I’m not saying throw out the baby with the bathwater, far from it! The tag-team effort mounted by former PM Jean Chretien and former FM Paul Martin, to solve the terrifying federal deficit and debt problem in the 1990’s – the full extent of which was hidden from the public – was unprecedented then, and still is. Well done to both leaders.

    PM Pierre Trudeau saved Canada from the separatists AND brought Canada’s constitution home, where it belongs.

    Something to build on.

    Rather than re-invent the wheel, the Libs must continue to do and showcase what they have done extremely well over recent years and explain it properly to potential voters – especially the young, up-and-coming voters. Whatever positive accomplishments the Libs have in their history, (and it is a rich history) a way must be found to make it relevant to a new generation of Liberal voters.

    If they do it right, it is not an unsolvable problem. If done right, the pain scale should be that of a root-canal – not open-heart surgery.

    I wish them well.

    @JBSCanada

  12. I still haven’t heard a single, solitary decent idea or proposal from any card-carrying Liberal about how they might actually make themselves electable in Western Canada.  As far as I can tell, most card-card carrying Liberals want to ignore this problem and pretend it’s not a problem.  I sure don’t hear them talk much about it.

    • They can’t make themselves electable in Western Canada. The west has been brainwashed to think that the east is out to get them and that the Conservatives are their only hope.

      • I know OB is going to be put out by that assertion[it being so broad as generalizations tend to be] But there is a good deal of truth in it too. Sure the west has some pretty good reasons not to trust Ottawa and liberal govt’s in particular, but demonizing the east has been a cottage industry out west for as long as i’ve lived out here – at least 35 years and going strong. Unfortunately that seems to be an unavoidably tempting option for politicians everywhere…to stress their victimhood and play up the faults of their perceived oppressors in order to make their point/get elected. I honestly don’t know if it will ever disappear for good in a competitive antagonistic political system.

        • I admit it is a sweeping generalization, but I have to deal with the demonization of the east on a very regular basis. Obviously not everybody out west feels that way, but there is an obvious political movement that thrives on it and it seems to help them stay in power.

          • But you two are engaging in a classic non-sequitur there:  it does not necessarily follow that because there is anti-Ottawa sentiment in Western Canada, Western Canadians cannot elect Liberals.  Do you not see the obvious flaw in your reasoning there?

            And the fact that you two would jump into that logical trap to me shows much that is wrong with the LPC mindset these days.  The West is where the population and economic growth is.  If the Liberals can’t even be bothered to make a real good-faith effort to get elected there, then they really are doomed.  And I don’t think they have to be doomed.

            Pop quiz for you:  name me a single high-profile “star” candidate that the federal Liberals have run in Alberta in any of the last 3 elections or so.

          • I figured that you wouldn’t be able to name me one.  Because there isn’t one. 

            Further proof that the Liberals have made no serious, good-faith effort to get elected there.  They’ve been mailing it in for years now, and they are paying for it at the ballot box.  They’re a Potemkin village national party.

  13. As long as the Liberals insist on being in the middle of the road, they will continue to be run over.

  14. The LPC is the party of experts, historians, intellects and the courts,
    not a people’s party.

    When the CPC campaigns against the Long Gun Registry, Canadian Wheat Board, long form census etc, or advances policy that is non-nuanced and non-politically correct, the Libs and their media trott out the experts, ex-crats, ex-diplomats and ex-Lib PMs.
    Coyne calls us the Stupid People’s Party.
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/08/17/a-know-nothing-strain-of-conservatism/

    Here’s a start for you Libs.
    If you are going to rail about the death of democracy by closure on debates in the House,
    perhaps you could try showing up to ‘listen’ to those debates, when the camera’s are off.

    ‘…the day of the vote on the budget bill – the one the opposition parties claim they haven’t had sufficient time to debate. Yet, the chamber is almost empty — 30 MPs out of 308 are scattered around the empty benches and none appears to be listening to Conservative MP Chungsen Leung…’
    Ivison

    • So do you thinks historians, intellectuals and the courts do not serve the people in any meaningful capacity at all? They’re just in it for themselves, right. It is your kind of mindless cynicism that sets up just such a false dichotomy in the country – you can have experts or the people – choose!
      As for your other assertion, maybe you have a point? But then again i don’t think you have much of a track record for unbiased reporting of important stuff like facts.

    • I’d like to point out that experts and intellects (which include historians) happen to also be people. Also to you what consititutes an expert? Is it some one who has long experience in a specific field, because that would rule out alot of seniors from the people category. Are experts people, sorry Liberals, with specific training and job experience in a given field? If so I guess that would mean cops, most military officers, lawyers, doctors,  middle managers, etc could not be members of a people’s party. While I agree with your sentiment that the LPC has acted in the past few year with more of an eye for style than substance, your first critque of the Liberals not being a ‘people’s party’ is not defendable if it’s based on the criteria of members careers.

  15. We always seem to end up with a government that has a much
    narrower agenda that that expressed by the public. (The Conservative now rule with
    an iron fist with 39.6 % of the popular vote) This swing in political ideology that
    generally sidelines altering opinions is a direct result of our dumb electoral
    system. I know that as soon as I mention Proportional Representation I will be lambasted
    with “look at Israel – look at Italy”.  I
    say “if you want to see disgraceful policy records for democracies look at  Canada, the US, the UK, Pakistan, India,
    Iran and Bangladesh with their Plurality/Majority systems”.

    To many it is obvious that Plurality/Majority voting like
    First Past The Post (FPTP) and Alternative Vote (AV) have a negative effect on
    the global fight against climate change and the fight for more eco- friendly
    lawmaking. What is less evident is how it creates inequality within a nation;
    aggression and suppression against a nations own citizens and aggressive
    foreign policy.

    We will never have true democracies where the will of the
    people is expressed until we rid the world of P/M systems.

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