Ignatieff spoke


Come to think of it, Michael Ignatieff has been talking about rebuilding parties for quite some time.

Back in the spring of 2005, before he had jumped from Harvard home to Canada and politics, Ignateiff gave a guest lecture at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Here’s a bit of what he said then:

“The raison d’etre of our parties is to create national coalitions… The current capacity of all of our federal parties to do this has been weakened for 20 years. The reasons why are complex: failure of leadership, indifference to ideas, a hollowing out of the parties themselves, their slow decline from vehicles of policy and coalition-forming to professional election machines.”

I wonder how this diagnosis fits this moment. Unevenly across the various parties, I would think. The Tories look like a professional election machine. Liberal coalition-building capacity certainly looks weakened. I’m not sure if it’s fair to say any party in this race was guilty of indifference to ideas.

In any case, the moment seems right for Liberals to ponder the sort of party they want.


Ignatieff spoke

  1. As long as the Liberals remain arrogant feeling it is their divine right to govern Canada nothing will change within the party. It is an old party struturally. Its backrooms are filled with people who do dirty politics. It is a party that keeps proposing the same policies year after year i.e. daycare. It is a party that does not want to deal effectively with the federal government’s constitutional areas of responsibility. It wants to be the big honcho no matter what the provinces think and feel. Paternalistic you bet!
    So unless the party and its leadership move into the 21st century the Conservatives are going to eat them alive. At least the Conservatives learn from their mistakes but not the Liberals.

  2. For over 40 years the Liberals have been ailienating suburban, small town, and rural Canada for no good reason. Be it gun control, soft on crime, human rights commissions, gutting the military and overall urbane snootyness they have over the years drawn further and further away from a signifigant portion of the electorate. They now find themselves restricted to Metro Toronto and Montreal with a few outposts here and there. Even Vancouver has been breached and the Libs that retained their seats were pushed to the wall. Meanwhile the Harper Conservatives have solidified their base and have slowly but steadily widend their base to include more and more Canadians.
    So what do the Liberals have to do to become a national party again? I’m not a liberal so I couldn’t care less but the party has a bunch of smart people in it, they should be able to figure it out.

  3. overall urbane snootyness

    You spelled “snootiness” wrong.

    …I’m off to the theatah. ‘Ta.

  4. Well if that is the best you can do, I guess I hit a nerve.

  5. Arrogant….hmmm – isn’t Harper rather arrogant? Obama has been accused of being arrogant. Trudeau was arrogant.

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