308 seems to be code for the Liberals should pander to the God, Gays and Gun crowd. Those who advocate such a policy seem to believe that such a strategy would allow the party to become more competitive in rural ridings and would not make the Liberals any the less effective in urban areas, particularly the big three. They are wrong on both accounts. The Liberals are not going to make up 50 point deficits in rural ridings West of Ontario. In Alberta, there was but one riding outside Calgary and Edmonton where the Liberals were within less then 60 points of a Conservative candidate! As for the cities, if the Liberals truly were the Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver plus the Maritimes party they would be much better shape. The truth is they were crushed in suburban Vancouver, lost seats in the 905 and won one but one seat off the Island of Montreal. I need not explain what happened in Quebec over the course of the last 5 years, but Vancouver needs some explaining. The Liberals saw their support in the Lower mainland ridings go up in 2006 even as they lost 6% nationally. The reason for the Liberal surge was that the Liberals were able to use the SSM issue to their advantage. Harper was deemed too socially conservative by many Vancouverites. All of that changed in 2008. Dion’s horrible English, his politically disastrous Green Shift, his lack of answer to Harper’s get tough on crime policies and his decision not to focus on any issue that might anger the social cons cost the Liberals dearly in Vancouver.
Given the economic downturn and a candidate who is fluent in English, the Liberals should be able roll back some of Conservative gains in suburban Vancouver. However, the next Liberal leader needs to put social issues back on the table if the Liberals and at the same time come up with an answer to Harper’s get tough on crime policies. As most of you know, I think a promise to legalize marijuana, would help the Liberals on both accounts. What is true of Vancouver is doubly true for Montreal. As the last election showed, the Conservatives Achilles heel in Quebec is that they are the wrong side of Quebecers when it comes to social issues. However, the Liberals will not be able to exploit that weakness unless they put social issues on the agenda. Needless to say, it would also work when it comes to Toronto.
Saddle Harper with the Sara Palins of the world, and the Liberals will win the cities, particularly the major cities. If they win the cities, they will win the country.
There is virtually no downside. So what if they loose Crowfoot by 80 points instead of 78 like they did last time.