The Liberal platform did contain any surprises. Virtually everything had already been laid out before the election or in the opening days of the campaign. Sadly, it is a real mixed bag. I quite liked the Liberals learning passport, thought their family plan and pension top up plan mildly interesting, and was amazed that they could come up with a childcare plan that much worse than the poorly thought out plan Paul Martin trotted out. The rest is largely forgettable. I liked the party's commitment to net neutrality and their decision to increase language funding for immigrants, but a commitment to increase the number of family class immigrants is prime facie dumb, and commitment to equity had me momentarily longing for a Conservative majority.
What the Liberals needed to do was to establish themselves as categorically different from the Conservatives and this regard Igantieff's platform is a miserable failure. Take away the empty rhetoric about prisons and planes and the major tenets of the platform are not all that different from what the Conservatives might offer. The one thing that used to separate the Liberals and Conservatives, viz., the Liberal's tepid social liberalism and Tories robust social conservatism are gone. I find this development puzzling. After all, even though the Liberals had been rocked by the Gomery inquiry findings in the spring of 2005 and slipped below 30% in the polls, with SSM debate dominating the headlines over the next few months the Liberals surged to 38 percent by the time SSM came into law. Meanwhile, Stephen Harper was dressing up like one of the village people and many pundits were writing him off.
Since then the Liberals abandoned social liberalism and have pretty much turned all their attention to tweaking the tax code. As a result, the Conservatives do not seem so scary anymore, Canada is no longer "cool" and the Liberals have lost their commanding lead amongst younger voters and urban voters. A commitment to social liberalism was the party's only chance of making a breakthrough in Quebec and forming government, but the party decided stick to tax deductions instead.