Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Liberals need to forget Chrétien majorities and build a movement

The Liberal's problem in nutshell is this. The Conservative party is part of larger conservative movement and very notion of liberal movement sounds well odd. Conservative party draws strength from the movement and movement in turn draws strength from having a party that reflects their values. There is no liberal movement in Canada and the Liberal party, especially under Ignatieff, has done nothing to foster one.

Without a core set of policy goals to work towards, it at little wonder why the Liberal party is purely reactive and dominated by short term thinking. Other than returning to power, the party has set itself no goals. This is marked contrast to Harper. Harper has a long term vision and long term strategy for how to accomplish it.

Chrétien's successes provide the Liberals with no template. The seas parted for Chrétien in 1993. The constitutional wars sidelined two two major federal parties (NDP and PCs) for a decade and gave birth to two new parties (Reform and Bloc). The Liberals were the only established party left standing after the 1993 election. His subsequent majorities were based on taking a 100 seats in Ontario. The Liberals would do well to pretend that they never happened.


Anonymous said...

Would I be wrong in saying the 2 things that hurt the Liberal movement are the 2 things that allowed him to govern as long as he did? You've already talked about how national unity took 2 main political parties out of the picture but I'm sure managing a difficult deficit as he did and making tough decision did a lot of damage to the liberal movement.

CanadianSense said...

In 2000 JC benefited from a perfect storm in a split right of centre, weaker NDP; incumbency, growing economy.

Since the 40% in POP (2000)Liberals have begun a slow steady march down in one direction. Some think 10-14-08 was the floor. A few of us think under MI another 1-3% drop is realistic.

It is easy to blame apathy, biased media but a shift and loss of voting blocks supported by a study from McGill shows a much deeper problem that won't be resolved by quick fixes.

The problem is much bigger and simply changing leaders is not the solution.

Economy 2000

Koby said...

Managing the deficit hurt. However the Liberals decision to abandon universality altogether, a new fear of provinces, particularly Quebec nationalism and decision not to build on what they had with "cool Canada" has left them mired in an identity crisis.

Canadian Sense. If 1993 to 2000 was an illusion, then Liberal erorsion since then is not much to write home about. The Liberals taking 100 seats in Ontario was not normal.

CanadianSense said...

I agree many voters voted for the Liberals and some will continue to do so.

My point is the 177 seat count reflects the perfect storm in vote splits in many ridings for the Liberals.

Those conditions no longer exist for the Liberals to exploit. The NDP were at 8.5%, Greens did not exist either.

The shift of voting blocks leaving the Liberals should be required reading. It will change the dynamic of the debate.

It is a mistake to keep changing leaders and expect a different outcome. Voters are too smart to be fooled by cosmetic changes.