The center of Canadian politics is not so much a place as a pose. How something is said is often more important than the substance of what is said. What the Liberals have failed realize is it also matters who is saying it. Striking the right pose is not enough. How centrist a party is deemed depends in no small measure on the party's chances of electoral success. In other words, the center often turns out to be no more than who is at the center of Canadian politics. The fact that millions more Canadians than ever before voted NDP confirmed for Canadians that the NDP has moved to the center. As with the Reform party after 1993, in the beginning the deed. Defined as such the Liberals have no hope of occupying the center. The party is no longer at the center of Canadian politics; the NDP and Conservatives occupy that spot.
So what do the Liberals to do? For starters the Liberals must accept just how dire their situation. Namely, the party will be lucky to survive the next election yet alone win it. Thomas Mulcair poses an existential threat to the party. Mulcair will hold onto Quebec and in so doing will recreate the same conditions that saw the Liberals wiped out in Ontario in 2011. With no prospect of the Liberals winning anything out West or in Quebec, suburban Toronto will again break for the Tories, and urban Toronto for the NDP. Only this time the situation will be worse. The same thing could happen in Montreal and into the Maritimes. If the 2011 election proved anything, it was that the Canadian population feels no loyalty to the "natural governing party" whatsoever.
The only chance the Liberals have avoiding the fate of the Progressive Conservative party is not as Andrew Coyne has said being "more Conservative than the Conservatives on some issues, more NDP than the NDP on others." http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/04/18/andrew-coyne-liberals-fail-to-grasp-direness-of-their-situation-nearly-a-year-after-collapse/ No, the party must aim to blow up the status quo. It must strike a revolutionary pose and not a "centrist" one. The party must seek out confrontation not consensus. Let the bleeding hearts bleed. It should no longer concern itself with what is politically possible, constitutionally possible or what the Americans might say. Let the chips fall where they may. Sacred cows need to be slayed. Only then will the party stand the chance of attracting enough loyal followers to fight further elections.
Needless to say, Charlottetown Bob is not the man for the job.