Sunday, February 24, 2008

Whither Liberalism; the Dion Disaster

Dion has been an unmediated disaster. The party has not moved in the polls since he began as leader and the fundraising numbers are dire. Worse, there is no reason to believe that things will get any better. His English still causes him trouble, he is not getting any more charismatic and the only issue he had a chance to fight the next election on and win, viz., Afghanistan, he chose to punt on. He leads a party that is scared of its own shadow and which had long ago “triangulated” its way in ideological no man’s land. Just what does the Liberal party stand for? The Liberals do not even talk a good game anymore.

What little direction Dion has given the party has not been good. There are plenty of remnants of the Martin era. However, nothing remains of Trudeau’s commitment to universality and federalism and Dion seems more willing to embrace “social taboos” than to challenge them. In its place Dion has decided to pursue ill advised alliances with the Green Party and aboriginal nationalists, and has given plenty of lip service to Martin’s hair brained Atlantic Accord. Once a party that championed a united pluralistic Canada, the Liberal party has become the dupe of provincial and special interest groups who have no regard whatsoever with the national interest. Dion does have his principles though. He may not have any qualms about ruining forever what is left of the Liberal brand, but he is willing to implement one of the most loathed tools in the traditional liberal arsenal, viz. affirmative action, to achieve a higher number of female candidates at the expense the party’s already fractured unity.

Only a miracle and a renewed commitment to social democracy, universality and full blooded social liberalism can save the Liberals now.