Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week One?

This was a great week for the Liberal Party, perhaps one day it can be viewed as a "watershed" moment. In fact, it's hard to recall a week that has generated as much positive energy, healthy debate, serious consideration, and it's no coincidence that underneath it all is a certain boldness, the forever elusive pre-requisite which is finally coming to the fore.

Almost shocking to read a National Post piece suggest that Stephen Harper listen to Bob Rae on tax reforms. The one off more symbolic of a speech which was serious and generally well received, articulating points of distinction, planting a flag or two, throwing some elbows for political space. Just one speech, but one that afforded Rae and the Liberals some credible ink on the economic file. There are two key battles going on here, one is to undercut the Conservatives, the other to outflank the NDP and look the true alternative on economic matters. Rae had a nice balance to his speech, pro business but also addressing resource based distortions on things like the dollar, as well as the shrinking middle class. I would categorize that speech as "in the pocket" of the Canadian mainstream, again "balance" will be a core argument to reconcile competing interests which the two other parties tend to embrace. I see Rae's speech as an opening salvo, received in such a way it allows for further serious considerations and fleshing out.

The speech, as well as a successful town hall, provided a nice backdrop to the big development this week, the Liberal White Paper which has stirred up much debate. Immediately dubbed the most reformist political document in Canadian history, potential hyperbole aside, the designations are a testament to just how sweeping in scope the proposals. Again, we see a boldness in these proposals, perhaps some risk, but also potential for serious rewards. For a party desperate to stay in the conversation, this is the right document at the right time, guaranteeing our looming convention will have an intrigue that process arguments rarely achieve. I said earlier we need a sense of "where the action is" to re-energize beyond internal machinations, this document delivers, the debate will be pointed, spirited, emotional, something is at stake, something to fight for, something to rally behind. Pro, con, irrelevant in a certain regard, job one is to get people talking, so from a political perspective I'm very encouraged.

As regular readers know, I haven't exactly been Mr. Sunshine on the Liberal front recently, so see my newfound optimism within that lens. My political antenna feels something stirring here, substantive debate over ideas with profound implications. I stopped giving to the VF for a couple months, because I took a "show me" posture, rather than being taken for granted, my money directly tied to delivery. I signed back up a couple weeks ago, because I heard rumblings of what might be coming, real change rather than platitudes and back room machinations. This week has confirmed that new found faith, this is a party that finally looks like it wants to get somewhere, that has the potential to be a true representative democracy, accountable and more egalitarian in nature, less bloat, more direct lines, more "street" resonance. The Liberal Party of Canada may have just turned a corner this week, let's hope so...

15 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

Almost shocking to read a National Post piece suggest that Stephen Harper listen to Bob Rae on tax reforms.

Actually it would be shocking if they didn't. The conservatives spent 5 years trying to push progressive liberal voters into the NDP camp by giving good press to them. Now they're simply reversing that in order to try and keep progressive voters bouncing back and forth between the two parties. As long as that happens the CPC comes out on top.

Owen Gray said...

It's in the CPC's interest to keep the opposition divided. However, the NDP leadership race has created a vacuum in that party.

That means that Rae is now the most credible leader of the opposition.

If he can re- establish the party's bona fides,
he will do it a great service.

Robert McClelland said...

Only thing, Owen, Rae isn't actually the leader of any opposition party. So unless he does become leader of the Liberals whatever measure of credibility he accumulates doesn't count for much in the long term.

Steve V said...

That logic could apply to Layton's legacy too then... Makes no sense, Bob can do a lot to reclaim ground and then pass the torch.

Proud Canadian said...

since 2006 liberals have had several good weeks,conservatives have had several bad ones,but conservatives still trounced the liberals last May.

Steve V said...

Wow...ddeeepppp.

Geez.

Proud Canadian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Proud Canadian said...

When Mr.Ignatieff became liberal leader,liberal partisans were all saying that he would be "THE GUY" to put Mr.Harper in is place! We all saw what happened on May 2nd! Now I'm hearing the same thing for Mr.Rae if he should be elected leader,if party rules should change. Mr.Ignatieff had an advantage over Mr.Rae,that is he had no baggage. The Harper conservatives would have a much easier time to attack Mr.Rae in Ontario by reminding voters,"REMEMBER THE RAE DAYS?"

marie said...

,PC says"REMEMBER THE RAE DAYS?"

Yep but I do question if you do as you were likely being pottie trained at the time.

You build your views on the Cons and NDP words. I build mind on living through those days as a voting age adult who used facts and common sense to make my opinions known.

900ft Jesus said...

I love that "remember the Rae days" but narry a word on the Harris days with Flaherty.

Jerry Prager said...

Bob Rae rocks, and frack Mike Harris and the Lack of Common Sense Reactionary response trolls and the horseshit they rode in on.

Jerry Prager said...

Rae is the real deal and Iggy failed to deliver a democracy package, Rae won't.

Jerry Prager said...

Ernie Eves was Harris' Minister of Finance, Flaherty was Eve's M of F; it was Flaherty's lies to the Ontario legislature about a 5.6 billion deficit he was hiding that led to the Toronto Sun deflecting the issue after McGuinty won by labelling the Liberqals Fiberals, but never once mentioning Flaherty's contempt of the Ontario legislature. If the media has a liberal bias, why has never mentioned since ?
Rae days were nothing to the Lack of Common Sense Reaction.

Proud Canadian said...

900ft Jesus said "I love that "remember the Rae days" but narry a word on the Harris days with Flaherty."

Normally I'd agree with you,if it weren't for one little problem. Mr.Harris or Mr.Flaherty aren't the leaders of the federal conservative party,Mr.Harper is! In an election campaign leaders matters all the rest is secondary.

Jerry Prager said...

The Liberals still have to face the reality that 80% of Canadian media is owned by 3 con corporations.
Liberalism needs a democracy based news aggregator,like National News Watch, only without any of the right wing bias of the lame stream media.
The NDP have their own media, they have a much more realistic view of what's actually going on in the world than NNW can provide, and NDP voters look for democracy news, instead of eating a diet of corporatism.
Until the Liberals go back to Keith Davies warnings about concentration of media, and create some policies to do something about it, they're reduced to living on handouts from corporatists.