‘No time for tentative steps’

Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc offers his vision for Canada


'No time for tentative steps'

For the second time in less than three years, the Liberal Party is about to select a new leader on the heels of an electoral defeat. At this very early stage in that process of change, there are two facts that Liberals must confront.

First, the Liberal Party is in very real danger of suffering further erosion in the connection it has so long enjoyed with so many Canadians. We must act urgently to re-energize our party, our perspective and renew the credibility of our claim to lead this country in time to win the next election.

Second, that challenge can best be met with a generational change in our leadership. With the kind of revitalization that comes about when a party springs itself forward with a younger, more energized leader.

Simply stated, our mission must be the great task of reconnecting to Canadians. Of igniting anew the belief that government can be a force for good. It is an effort that must be made in every corner of the country and with a passion that rallies people to not just support our party, but our plans to take the country forward.

My father served in Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet and was witness to such a passion. Later, as Governor General, he saw the greatness that gathers Canadians together. He inspired in me a belief in that kind of politics.

For that reason, I will formally launch my bid to lead the Liberal Party of Canada in the weeks to come. After a decade in Parliament, and still only 40 years of age, I believe I can bring about the brand of change required to rebuild our party, to win the next election and to guide our nation into a new era.

I will run a campaign of excitement and enthusiasm. A campaign that invites new people to our cause, that stands for new ideas and that presents a fresh alternative to the narrow-minded, us-and-them politics of Stephen Harper.

For decades, Liberals were the first choice of the broad middle class: those who keep our economy strong and who root our values in principles such as equality of opportunity and diversity. Families of all sizes, sorts and backgrounds.

Today, these same Canadians are uncertain as to who we are and what we stand for. Liberals are virtually impolitic in francophone Quebec and Western Canada, less connected to rural communities, eroding support among New Canadians and far from inspiring to our nation’s youth.

To reconnect in a real way will require hard work. We must draw people back to politics. We must inspire within them a belief in public service and the good we can achieve when we work as one. That cannot be done by simply replacing the head. We must renew the whole. And as an Acadian, I know a thing or two about perseverance in overcoming adversity.

Other political movements have faced similar moments of challenge. In the early 1990s, Britain’s New Labour remade itself, as did Bill Clinton’s Democrats. Today, of course, the example of Barack Obama inspires us all. In each case, success was built on two foundations. First, they reconnected their parties with the political centre. Second, they turned to a new and younger generation to lead the way. And they won.

Just as it fell to those in other countries in their time, so it now falls to a new generation of Liberals to do the same here. To unequivocally commit ourselves to a new path and a new attitude. To rebuild our party and regain government from Stephen Harper by the time of the next election.

During the course of this leadership campaign, I will propose new policies and new directions to better define how I would rebuild and reconnect the Liberal Party. Those ideas will be built around three core commitments. First, Canada must be an open nation. Open to new peoples and new citizens. Open to trade and commerce. Open to diverse opinions and civil discourse. Open to the aspirations of Quebecers, to the New West and to the pride we all feel in our heritage. And we must be a nation that speaks openly with an independent voice on the world stage.

Second, Canada must be a prosperous nation–with an unerring focus on sustainably growing our economy and swelling the ranks of our middle class. With a determined plan to responsibly manage public finances and to create good, high-paying jobs.

Third, Canada must be a fair nation–with strong social programs that help those in need to help themselves. With a commitment to social justice. With an embrace of responsibilities, not just entitlements. And with a fresh approach to our Aboriginal peoples.

As a party and a country, this is no time for tentative steps. A giant stride is required. Our history reminds us that we can win back the country. But that privilege must be earned. We must reconnect with Canadians. We must excite people once about the promise of politics. And that is a task for a new generation.

Dominic LeBlanc is the Liberal MP for Beausejour, New Brunswick


‘No time for tentative steps’

  1. “First, Canada must be an open nation. Open to new peoples and new citizens. Open to trade and commerce. Open to diverse opinions and civil discourse.”

    I am a conservative ideologue so I am clearly not part of your target audience but I am curious to know what that quote means. What does ‘open’ mean? Is anyone who wants to come to Canada going to be able to or will there still be screening of potential immigrants? I like the trade bit but I wonder what you are implying with “open to diverse opinions and civil discourse”. The CHRC is doing everything it can to punish diverse opinions and is trying to impose its ideology on free citizens who should be allowed to think whatever they want. Will you do something about the HRCs which are trying to eliminate diverse opinion?

    Good luck in your run for leader. I, too, would like to see a generational change in leadership for all parties. I am sick of the boomers and wish they would go away.

  2. So long Richard Peregrino–we hardly knew ya!

    Hello Richard Pereropener. Is open more important green? Maybe. I think secretly green would work for me. Get elected, then talk about a carbon tax shift.

  3. “I am a conservative ideologue so I am clearly not part of your target audience but I am curious to know what that quote means. ”

    jwl, I happen to be on the left of the political discourse, also not a target for Leblanc and I, too, have no clue as to what he means by that.

  4. The Party needs to be renewed – check
    Make sure to remind people I’m young – check
    Make sure, like Justin, people know I’m connected to Trudeau – check
    Remind that I am Acadian (French) – check
    Use usual renewal rhetoric – check
    Name drop – Clinton years and Obama – check

    Otherwise, I have nothing inspiring to say.

  5. He’s short on specifics, but I’m glad to see LeBlanc at least understands the challenges the LPC is facing…

  6. Wow I am impressed as to the sheer amount of cliches all stuffed into one statement and still it doesn’t say anything – this guy could go far in the LPC!

  7. I’ll be paying attention in the next few weeks to see how this guy compares himself against the two other guys in the race.
    I’d like to see how he squares up against them with respect to how he’s framed the debate as generational change vs the old party which he implies is represented by two candidates that have a history in the party much shorter than his.
    Lets see, was in caucus during the Chretien years (read adscam), and the disaster known as the Martin government, and sat silent when the green shift tax was launched by Dion.
    Yep real change there.

    But I digress.
    If as LeBlanc suggests, the party needs to move to the center, what way do you suppose that direction is?
    Judging by the vitriol directed at the Harper government, it certainly isn’t to the right, as evidenced by the constant disbargagement of anything right of center.
    Nope, liberal party is not too right, not even in the center, that leaves too far left.
    So if its too far left and LeBlanc wants to move to the center, that in itself is saying (without uttering the words) the liberal party has to….lets repeat that so you understand which way LeBlanc wants to shift the party (and subsequently to whom he would throw his support if he decided he doesn’t have the delegates)….the liberal party has to move to the right.
    Now if only the media would be so kind as to inquire in a diplomatic fashion just what this “giant stride” might be and how far to the right he wants to take the liberal party.
    How long before he throws his support behind Iggy?

  8. A statement by a typical Liberal…lots of platitudes, feel good sentiments but gives the reader no idea what concrete plans he brings to the table that will be different than Rae or Iggy.
    He couldn’t miss the opportunity to criticize Harper. Is this the new kind of leader that Canada needs? Not in my opinion. It is more of the same. Focus on the other guys perceived shortcomings so that you don’t have to talk about specific actions you would take.
    LeBlanc doesn’t have a chance of winning. Has he sat in cabinet? No…Has he been chairman of any of the senior Commons committees? No. Has he demonstrated any real leadership skills that would cause the membership to put the party in his hands. I don’t think so.
    So it will come down to the lesser of two evils…the patrician Iggy and the decredited Rae. The Liberals will not take a chance with Rae because it could have a negative impact on the one area of the country that does support Liberals and so Iggy will be the de facto choice hands down. I agree no more than two ballots will be required to entrench the elitist Iggy.

  9. Apparently, elitist is the way to go – Obama is one those intellectual elitists.

    As Bill Maher said during the primaries – I’d rather have a smart elitist than another Bush.

  10. Open government? Maybe Mr. LeBlanc is speaking about this:

    ‘Many wonder, as there is so little access to him, whether Mr. Lynch or his office has crossed the line from public servant to a political role. The PCO increasingly vets communications and access to information requests and has come under criticism from Information Commissioner Robert Marleau for obstructionism. He gave the PCO an “F” grade in a report last year. Since that time, there have been countless reports of a further muzzling of the system.

    Crossing the line into political partisanship is “a danger,” said Mr. Dutil. “Let’s not fool ourselves,” he said, pointing to many examples from history. “Clerks are political.”‘ –LAWRENCE MARTIN

    Or perhaps he aims to eliminate the billions in overruns spent on commercial software and aim for a open source policy in government. Further still, perhaps Mr. LeBlanc aims to make the process through which ordinary folk like us access their elected representatives and government and allow us input into how the country is run. Open government, open culture, open source. This is the age of information and I hope that ‘open’ in this case actually means something.

  11. Dominic LeBlanc reminds me of why I’m a Liberal. Unlike Michael Ignatieff, Leblanc won’t compromise the values that are most important to Canadians, for example the invasion of Iraq which Ignatieff supported. Also it seems to me from everything I’ve heard and read, that LeBlanc has head in the right space and the requisite drive to win, something that has been lacking since the departure of Chretien. Bob Rae seems to think his tenure as NDP premier of Ontario would be helpful, I’d have to disagree. I am seriously considering backing Dominc LeBlanc come next April.
    -Charlie Everson
    Calgary, Alberta

  12. It’s great to see young faces aiming for the political heights. However it is only great when they truly bring substance and ideas, convictions and a substantive vision for the nation.

    So far LeBlanc has failed to do any of this. He is simply proving that he wishes for a seat in cabinet. Stop wasting time, money and energy.

  13. I’m a boomer and I’m tired of them.
    I have been a Liberal for a long time and I think we all know it’s time to hand things over to the younger generation. As for ye nay sayers… Mr.Leblanc will soon put forward his vision for the country and his views on some major policy issues. Don’t underestimate how hungry Canadians are for change.
    Do you think if Canadians were completely satisfied they would give Harper a minority?? Of course not.
    Settle down…he just threw his hat in the ring.
    Previous comment
    “He couldn’t miss the opportunity to criticize Harper” Puuuhhhleeeeeaaassse
    Mr. Harper (and I use the term Mr. quite loosely) spent 21/2 yrs slinging mud at his opposition leader and you take issue with this guy taking a swipe at him.

  14. Let see, my choice as a Liberal for over 50 years, is two very white guys, older than I am and looking as tired as their ideas of yesterday and Mr. Leblanc representing a new generation who maybe can bring some vibrancy to the party. I keep asking myself these days, “Ou sont partir les rêveur de l’avenir?
    I expect this critical mass of members will want to decide what happens next. I will have to bide my time and make a decision about my involvement this time to another couple of years , of listening to the Media and the select few who tell us what is best for party. I will however keep myself informed as time goes by and see if I hear anything new from the two very white guys from the same neighborhood as well as keeping my eyes and ears open for what Mr. Leblanc has to say.

  15. Where is “Our Barack Obama”,where ever you are please stand up,because we sure need “change”.What we do not need is another batch of warmed-up left overs leading the Liberal party of Canada.The Liberal Party has been in steady state of decline ever since the lame duck days of Prime Minister Chretien when it appeared that his main goal was to have Canadians understand that he could care less what they wanted,it was what he wanted that counted. It was a sad day for Canada when Frank McKenna announced that he would not run ,because he could turn Canada around as well as the Liberal Party.I don’t know anything about Mr.Leblanc but having said that and given a choice I will take him over the other two any day!

  16. M LeBlanc, you kept the richer and fairer part in your opening statement, but you forgot the greener.

    I can understand that it’s politically astute to distance yourself from the totally bad communication job on The Green Shift . But please don’t throw the baby out with the Carbon Tax bathwater. Global warming is still large in the minds of many, many Canadians. Good and bad economies come and go. I want a safe world for future generations of my family. Please, make it core to your policy and start putting us on the road to a sustainable future.

    Otherwise I’m going to have to vote for David Suzuki for Prime Minister, tip of the hat to Mendelson Joe.

  17. People are asking “where is out Obama”, and I think that Ruby Dhalla can be our next Obama. She is a fresh face and represents exactly what Obama does. Dhalla represents a racial minority, she represents youth and women all at the same time. She could be a great candidate for leader of the Liberal party!

  18. Speaking for myself, Mr. Leblanc: I don’t want to see a campaign run on excitement and enthusiasm. I want to see one run on ideas. Come up with concrete ideas, Mr. Leblance, and the excitement will come. Trust me on this. Learn from Obama. Give people a real hope for change and they will flock to you.
    Marnie Tunay

  19. People keep talking about Obama and I’m so frustrated by this. Canadian politics will NEVER be like American politics so forget about Obama. In the U.S., leaders can raise $125 million a month and campaigning runs for over a year. In Canada, our entire election costs are $300 million. That being said, getting the popularity to reach a fever pitch like that of Obama will never happen here. While some may counter with “Trudeau-Mania” it was not 1/10th as big as Obama’s run.

    Also, no disrespect to LeBlanc but the last thing the Liberal Party needs is a leader with a French name and no economic strategy. It didn’t work with Dion and it won’t work with LeBlanc. I’m a Liberal and it seems clear to me that the party needs Iggy.

Sign in to comment.