Yes, it's true that Harper would have loosened bank regulations in the past, he didn't support Liberal initiatives. Yes, it's true that the Conservatives have weathered this current economic downturn, largely because of past Liberal policies and fiscal management. Yes, it's true that Canada was better off with the past Liberal government. It's also entirely true that Canadians don't give a rats ass and references to the past are counter productive, the rearview mirror offers no future electoral reward.
Canadians booted the Liberals years ago, there is no room for revisionism- what that brand now stands for, permanently cemented in our minds. For that reason, the pre-occupation with past glory, the effort to remind Canadians of Harper's past failings, does nothing for a party that truly needs to re-position and re-invent itself. The focus is particularly non-productive, when you consider our current leader has NO ties to the past legacy- why he would want to carry the weathered flag escapes me.
John Manley offers some "advice" today, namely that the Liberals need self-examination a "new generation to reinvigorate the party". Nevermind the irony of an old war horse championing the need for new leadership, it's a valid perspective. Some time ago I posited the idea that we needed some new faces on the MP front- this was met with much resistance, everybody loves their democratically elected fiefdoms in the Liberal Party. A inward looking party, that sometimes fails to see the situation beyond the institutional circle jerk. A simple fact, until the Liberals present something revolutionary, they will remain within the confines of the tired brand, that continues to erode.
To Ignatieff's credit, and his team, you do see a concerted effort to rebrand the party on the policy front. However, that outward expression must be accompanied by inward reform, which might require stepping on some toes. Forget the pecking orders, I've been here longer, surround Ignatieff with the fresh blood we already have in place, and augment it with further, aggressive recruitment- present a spry, energetic picture, rather than something that resembles the Vatican.
The Liberals have been hand wringing for years now, and our current state demonstrates little progress. I submit part of the problem is all the tinkering around the edges, that lacks the political courage to violently shake the Liberal identity and suffer a few casualties along the way. One way or another, the Liberals will turn the page, I'd just like to skip a few painful chapters and get to the inevitable climax.