Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Liberals need to Abandon Asymmetrical Federalism once and for all

While the Liberals are hatching a plan to draw out the leadership race as long as possible and in the process make the Liberal party even more of an amorphous irrelevant mess than it is now, the other parties are moving forward.

Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair are busy playing to the soft nationalist vote in Quebec and Harper is busy cementing his domination of everything west of Quebec by taking note of everything the NDP is promising Quebec nationalists as ammunition to use against them in Ontario and the West.
When the Liberals finally come to in 2 years time or so, the party will probably plan to spilt the difference between the two major parties and in the process get wiped off the map.

The Liberals need a plan and that starts with abandoning asymmetrical federalism once and for all. The Liberals need to differentiate themselves from the other parties by being willing to propose national programs and national standards. So long as the NDP are going to play to the soft nationalist vote in Quebec they will be unwilling to play that role. Everything they will propose will come with the following proviso and so will amount to nothing. "We will work with the provinces to" The Conservatives on the other hand are philosophically opposed to such programs and so will never offer them.

Yes Quebec will squawk and so will Alberta. However, that will work in the Liberals favour. Remember, Harper's plan is divide a wedge between Francophone Quebec and everything west of Quebec. Decoupling Alberta from Ontario and pairing Quebec and Alberta is exactly what the Liberals need to do to stand any chance of making a comeback in 2015. Meanwhile, the Liberals can challenge the NDP's hold on Quebec by promising policies that are popular with the NDP's socially democratic base in Quebec but which can only be implemented federally.


hyper-con said...

Probably the smartest thing I've heard a L(l?)iberal say.

Now that the LPC is out of the limelight, they should attack the conservatives in AB and QC. AB could pay dividends in a few years with concerted effort. If the libs ever got a toehold in the west again, they could easily come back.

Hitching QC to that wagon would be quite the task, but not impossible.

WesternGrit said...

Great post. I agree on this particular issue. Well said.