I'm fixated with the word "bold" lately when it comes to Liberal policy. One issue that lingers below the surface, but nobody dares address, is assisted suicide. This timidity, despite evidence of broad public support, not to mention underlying moral imperatives within a certain support of individual liberties.
It's a central thesis, which Liberals supposedly defend, a simple CHOICE. Beyond that, it's a very complicated issue in terms of the politics. Despite public support, assisted suicide is a hot button issue and any mainstream party that advocates assisted suicide risks controversy. But, in terms of standing for something, in terms of resonating and engaging, I say no risk no reward.
Three American states have already passed some form of assisted suicide. We've seen private member bills come forward in Canada, but mostly the debate is silent, nobody really wants to address. IMHO it's a pretty simple concept- you don't have to approve, but your perspective shouldn't impact somebody else's decision, it should be left to the individual, within a set of morally sound rules.
I want to see the Liberals add some "spice" to our national debate, rather than just playing it safe and over analyizing every position, to the point we delute, for fear of offending ANYONE. That's where a party gets lost, that's when it becomes mushy, because it measures electoral success with not making waves and offering "goodies". No question the formula works to some degree, but does it really? Canadians are bored with their neutered political process, gotcha over gonna, packaging over policy. In other words, the formula isn't working, because people aren't engaged, the stay at home in droves. Advocating something like assisted suicide is good policy from my point of view, but it's also "bold", within that defining and purposeful, something Liberals desperately need. There's a growing sense, which nobody can deny- voters are having more and more trouble defining just what exactly Liberals stand for. THIS issue conveys that in spades, a policy that's consistent with an overarching view of society and the role of the individual. It's a practical application of the theoretical.
I'm no fool, the mere mention of this idea within a circle of prominent Liberals and strategists would bring a host of cautions, avoidances. Some of the logic is sound, but you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that the public is sympathetic, it's an issue which people deal with in their lives, it's something they've considered and formed an opinion on. Will it offend subsets? Absolutely, but trying to be everything to everyone is a recipe for projected weakness, which loses in the end anyways. Further, if you do regional breakdowns, you'll find opinion is most sympathetic where it matters most to the Liberal cause, so the risk is less pronounced than first blush might suggest.