The Commons: Save the Liberals - Macleans.ca

The Commons: Save the Liberals

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“We need to save Canada,” said the woman at the microphone.

A line of people stood behind her, waiting their turn at this Friday afternoon open mic session on the present and future of the Liberal Party of Canada. A man in a suit stood just behind her, taking notes on a large white pad of paper propped up on an easel.

The next woman talked about Paul Martin and balanced budgets. Liberals need to remind people of those days, she said. “That’s how we’ll go forward,” she ventured.

An elderly lady fretted that the country was losing its compassion. The Liberal party needed to bring back such virtues. A Lynden Larouche disciple took the mic and lectured the few dozen listeners on the Glass-Steagall Amendment and the need to overhaul the monetary system.

Consider these 15 minutes—whatever they amount to—in the context of a weekend (whatever it amounts to).

A young man lamented Stephen Harper’s refusal to listen to reason, his insistence on fighter jets and prison expansion. “You must be prepared for the next tomorrow, today,” he mused. The next gentlemen offered a short history of the term “Grits,” which apparently has something to do with sand. “We need to reclaim the grassroots,” he prescribed.

A man in a wheelchair, a former New Democrat, advised the Liberals to “stay the course.” A former Conservative, and a former police officer, offered a short history of marijuana prohibition in Canada and argued for its legalization. The next man implored the party to stand for “freedom and fairness”—namely the “freedom to be rich,” but the responsibility to do so in a “socially just way.” The man after that beseeched Liberals to be the “party of inclusion.” And then a woman from Calgary explained that the Liberals benefitted from being to able to take “the best from both sides.”

In the midst of all this, a young man stepped to the microphone and attempted an intervention.

“Truthfully,” he said, “young people do not care what the Liberal party has done in the past.”

So there. And perhaps four years from now, if the party can learn that much, six million or so Canadians will mark their ballots in favour of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. And these last three days will have been worth it.