Lately I'm having trouble understanding what the Liberal Party stands for. They've just had two leaders (Michael Ignatieff, and Bob Rae) who are complete mysteries to me. I really don't know what they stand for, or what they're passionate about.
Apparently I'm not alone. Here's the view of Thomas Walkom from a column in the Toronto Star a few days ago [Do Canada’s, or Ontario’s, Liberals matter any more?].
On the other hand, it’s not clear what the Liberals represent any more. They would like voters to think of them as the non-Conservatives — the alternative to Stephen Harper federally or to Tim Hudak in Ontario.We've been discussing this issue with our former Liberal MP, Omar Alghabra, who happens to be a member of Justin Trudeau's team. Justin, for those of you who don't follow Canadian politics, it the son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau and he's running for the leadership of the Federal Liberal Party. We want Justin, and all the other candidates, to speak out on what the Liberal Party stands for.
But are they?
Paul Adams, an astute political observer writing in iPolitics, argues that the federal Liberals have transformed themselves into the old Progressive Conservatives, socially progressive but fiscally to the right.
I’d go further. I reckon the old PCs of Joe Clark would find federal Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay’s talk of dismantling farm marketing boards a bit too right-wing for their tastes
Similarly, Liberal front-runner Justin Trudeau’s enthusiastic embrace of the Alberta oilsands would probably be seen as a tad naive by the Red Tories of former Ontario premier Bill Davis, most of whom believed that strong business required equally strong regulation.
As a party, the Liberals haven’t had a new idea since the 1980s. Individual party members have (Stéphane Dion’s green shift comes to mind).
But the party, as a whole never signed onto Dion’s environmental agenda. Nor has it signed onto anything else.
The Liberals talk of holding policy conventions that would replicate that golden period of the 1960s, when the party embraced medicare, public pensions and welfare reform.
But they never do. Former federal leader Michael Ignatieff hosted a thinkers’ conference that headlined prominent conservatives. Nothing came of it.
The conventional wisdom among Liberals is that strong policy positions should be avoided at all costs in order to avoid alienating voters. Instead, Liberals prefer to talk about what they call values.
Omar sent us a link to this video. It's obvious that Justin is avoiding the question. He stands for some trivial issues like legalizing marijuana but what about the bigger issues? How do I tell the difference between the Liberal Party and Conservative Party or the New Democratic Party? I don't think I can vote for Justin Trudeau or for any of the other leadership candidates. In fact, I'm not sure I can vote for the Liberal in the next election. The NDP is looking very attractive.