Thursday, December 29, 2011

Liberals Moving From Entitlement To Enlightment

Reading Belinda Stronach's column this morning, I was struck by this passage in particular:
In the case of the Liberal Party, it has actually been liberated by circumstance to think about the state of politics and the future of the country in a way the government just can’t do. This is a time of flowing creativity, a free and humming marketplace of proposals. Not every idea from inside this incubator will come to pass, but the process is long overdue.

I don't support Stronach's term limit proposal, at least not her parameters, but that's not the point. I actually don't support many of the ideas floating around Liberal land, I'm even supporting people at the convention that I at least partially disagree with on certain key issues. What I do support is the notion put forth by Stronach, that the Liberal Party is showing signs of moving from the party of entitlement to one of enlightenment. I've been aboard this rotting carcass for almost six years now, no time approaches this current moment, in terms of true discussion, debate and constructive dialogue.

Cynicism aside, for the first time a party that actually feels as though voices matters, a proposal legitimate, no matter the source, no matter the status, we're debating merits, origins irrelevant. Stronach is like every Liberal these days, pitching an idea, throwing it out there for digestion, agreeing is secondary to this emerging culture. The question of sustainability is to be answered later, this convention lead up could be a blip, the results themselves perhaps a setback, but there is a different foundation being built moving forward and it does have a "genie out of the bottle" flavour.

Liberals numbers are smaller, we're a million miles from power, but like Stronach asserts, this predicament is actually freeing. The Liberals objectively desperate circumstance is morphing into a gift of sorts, out of our shackles, everything on the table, a sense we can just be what we want, rather than forever trying to be what we perceive our audience wants to hear. This emerging culture demonstrates the capacity to step on toes, be provocative, I even hear the word BOLD used now, without it being accompanied by "risky" or "reckless" to dial back the mere suggestion.

Not everyone agrees, there is no consensus emerging, but there is very much a debate occurring, juices are flowing and people are engaged, more now than at any time I can remember. It's healthy, it's optimistic and it's generating some substance, which hopefully is just in it's infancy. A few months ago I dialed back my commitment to the Liberals, my perspective was "show me" before I support in robotic fashion. I mention this because this optimism I project now isn't knee jerk partisanship, it's a sense that reform is on the table, real reform, something different possible, excitement is emerging from a stale and decidedly esoteric culture. It doesn't even matter is my philosophy entirely jives with whatever manifests itself, I support the spirit of the debate, moreso than the result, if that makes any sense at all.

I don't support your idea Belinda Stronach, but I love that it's being cultivated on newly found fertile ground. That healthy culture is the essence within, and it bodes well moving forward....


Dan F said...

Its time to Portugal our pot laws, cut cops in half, and make Personal Freedoms and Civil Liberties the centrepiece of Liberal policy. It would go a long way to solving budget issues, and bringing the west back to the Libs in a way they haven't been since Trudeau. Its possible to be a radical Civil Libertarian and still embrace universal health care and even an expansion of a universal higher education system. I can't make it to convention, but if I was there, this would be my pitch. Are there others in the party who might feel the same way? Any potential leadership candidates who would embrace Civil Liberties (including privacy and online freedoms)?

Dan F said...

The other advantage of a focus on Civil Liberties would be to distinguish Libs from the NDP, who sometimes share Harper's affinity for dumb-on-crime legislation.

Steve V said...

There was a time when liberalism did stand up for individual civil liberties and personal freedoms.

Tomm said...


The Liberal Party should have recognized the need for this 6 years ago.

I am impressed that they are going this way. I also think Dan F might be onto something.

I was watching Gerard Kennedy on Evan Solomon's show a couple of days ago. He was in essence saying that a party that can broker a middle ground has some resonance with voters today.

The argument was falling flat. It is too much like the "councillor" or the "mediator" or the "facillator" running the government. It doesn't come across as "leadership"; only as manipulative at worst and a hail mary pass at best.

Anyway, I like where your party and this post is starting to go.

Omar said...

Wow, what Dan F said. If the Liberals went down a path toward these types of policies I'd come back and support them in a heartbeat. Not holding my breath though.

Möbius said...

Sign me up, Dan F. This, plus fiscal conservatism (meaning, no more big government programs) would get my vote.