Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Liberals are not poised to Win an election: a rethink is needed

There is no chance whatsoever that the Liberals would win an election.

Over the course of the 40 years the Liberal fortunes have risen and fallen according to the ability to capture at least 70% of the seats in either Quebec or Ontario. For a majority the Liberals have needed to capture at least 80% of the seats in either of those two provinces. The Liberals are not competitive enough in the Western Canada for that calculus to change.

Canada is no longer divided against itself and so long as this holds true this is not a party in need of tinkering. It is a party that needs to be blown up.

One of the main stumbling blocks is that the Liberals and the pundits have never fully absorbed what happened to level of support in Western Canada following the 1974 election. Some of blamed the NEP and others have even claimed the gun registry played a part. The latter claim is ridiculous. The gun registry had no impact the Liberals share of the popular vote or their seat totals. As for the former, it was the fact that the Liberal vote collapsed in Western Canada in 1979 that paved the way for the NEP politically and not the other way around. The NEP was introduced after the 1980 election. The Liberals took 1 seat in the three most western provinces in 1979 election and 0 in 1980.

The source of the collapse was that the more emphasis Trudeau placed on individual rights and a commitment to linguistic equality the more the rest of the country, particularly the West, resented the Liberals inability to put a stop to bill 178 and and 101 and its willingness to make special accommodations for Quebec. Quebec's Official Language Act spelled doom for the Liberals in Western Canada from the mid 70s until collapse of the Progressive Conservatives in 1993. Ironically, it was the Mulroney's willingness to go even further in pandering to Quebec, particularly the Charlottetown Accord, that gave the Liberals some life again.

Of course, the Liberals response to Mulroney taking Quebec in 1984 and 1988 and subsequent success of the Bloc was abandon any thought of national programs and a national vision. The death of universality was the budget crisis of the 1990s and the notion that Quebec is special. This has rendered the Liberals forever impotent in Western Canada. Pay equity, collective rights, affirmative action, means tested social programs and other hall marks of modern liberalism have never had the same appeal in Western Canada as elswhere in the country and that is saying something. Outside of Quebec, such hallmarks are generally and rightly poorly regarded. What did hold the Liberals in good stead was when the NDP and Liberals were jointly pursuing universal social programs or basking in their passage. The success of one party generally meant the success of the other. Until such time as the Liberals recommit to universality they have no chance of gaining traction in the western provinces.

17 comments:

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Not poised to win an election = no chance of winning an election? An uncertain probability does not imply an absolute certainty.The Liberals are not poised to win the election but that doesn't necessitate that they'll lose it.

Anonymous said...

The only foreseeable way the Liberals could win the next election is if Ignatieff resigned. The very way he got the job was repugnant and an example of what is wrong with the Liberal Party of Canada. I sincerely hope there is true reform within the Party after the next election. I'd like to vote Liberal again some day.

Anonymous said...

speaking of "The latter claim is ridiculous" ... yeah, like much (any?) of the electorate even in the West still has a chip on their shoulder for what happened in '74 (when most of the current electorate wasn't even old enuff to vote yet)

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

The way the Liberals could win the next election is through its membership acting to change Canada. Not through talking about polls or the leaders in Ottawa but by leading at home.

When Liberals begin to lead themselves, they and Canada will be the better for it, win or lose.

Koby said...

"no chance of winning an election? An uncertain probability does not imply an absolute certainty."

You take things rather literally.

Liberals will not win the next election = the probability that the Liberals will loose the next election is high election.

"the" koby

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

I'm sorry when people say things I tend to understand they are meaning what they are saying. I apologize.

Koby said...

"speaking of "The latter claim is ridiculous" ... yeah, like much (any?) of the electorate even in the West still has a chip on their shoulder for what happened in '74 (when most of the current electorate wasn't even old enuff to vote yet)"

There was a reason why the coalition with the Bloc was wildly unpopular in Western Canada. There is a lot history there. The "West" is no more than strong opposition in Western provinces to Quebec getting special treatment.

CanadianSense said...

Interesting analysis.

The financial health of the organization is also reflected in the support at the ballots and grassroots.

The affordability of large entitlement programs is going to require a political party that has courage to have the adult conversation.

We are not having an adult conversation regarding real issues.

Helena and glow sticks is a tactical mistake.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to include the Liberals misfortunes in Quebec. It isa direct result of the mistrust created during adscam.

It was theft.

Koby said...

"Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally."

"the" koby

Anonymous said...

Liberal misfortunes in Quebec are not just due to adscam, despite the enormous damage Martin heaped upon the party by the way he handled it. Take a look at the last referendum as an example. Parizeau was handling it TERRIBLY. In steps Bouchard and he distanced himself from ALL of Parizeau's missteps. And Quebec bought it lock, stock and barrel - and instantly. The Liberals could do the same with the right leader and a new direction. But Liberals have the wrong leader and haven't presented ANYTHING substantially new.

Koby said...

The affordability of large entitlement programs is going to require a political party that has courage to have the adult conversation.

"A few short moments with the Canadian health-care books is all it would take for an accountant, armed with a red pen, to flip to the section on drug costs, and begin scribbling wildly. For the past 20 years, prescription medications have been the fastest-growing segment of health-care spending: according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), from 1985 to 2007, the share of drugs in the total health expenditure increased from 9.5 per cent to 16.5 per cent; last year the drug bill totalled a whopping $30 billion.

But rather than seek ways to keep costs down, the evidence suggests that government has for years continuously and consciously overpaid. Part of the problem, it seems, is that drug coverage is fragmented — government picks up about 45 per cent of the tab while private insurers and individuals pay the rest — which has acted as a disincentive.

Instead of bargaining with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices, says Marc-André Gagnon, an assistant professor at Carleton University's School of Public Policy and Administration, "the whole pricing system is based on the idea that we need to artificially inflate costs to create a more business-friendly environment." (In exchange for higher prices, drug companies pledged to invest at least 10 per cent of Canadians sales on research and development.) But as he argues in a recent paper, this practice has raised prices without prompting significant spinoff investment: Canada now pays up to 40 per cent more for drugs than other industrialized countries. (He estimates that adopting a national pharmacare program would save an estimated $10.7 billion annually.)"

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/personal-finance/article/canadianbusiness/1872/the-worst-run-industry-in-canada-health-care

We need is federal government that looking out for Canadians and who is not scared to implement national programs and impose national standards.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Yes I would have called this post hyperbolic.

Koby said...

The Liberals need to again embrace social liberalism and show a willingness to takle up controversial issues. That will help them in Quebec.

Euthanasia is great place to start.

Koby said...

here is another word for you

Pedantic "overly concerned with minute details or formalisms"

Volkov said...

Interesting analysis, though I noticed you failed to provide any real sort of "rethink" about how to cure the organization of its woes. I'd be more interested in seeing something a little more thorough, hm.

WesternGrit said...

I'm with Koby. A Liberal/liberal vision is a vision of national universality. We need to have the balls to act. The dividends will come soon after...