Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Watershed Moments

I must admit, I'm pleasantly surprised how the Liberals have managed to keep themselves in the news, despite a NDP leadership race and the obvious struggles for a third party. As a matter of fact, I think you could cobble together a fairly convincing argument that the Liberal Party is where the "action" is at the moment, a thought I wouldn't dare conceive of only a couple months ago. There is a small undercurrent of momentum, and this perception and interest is being driven by this emerging spirit of reform within the party. Much of this conversation, will come to a "head" so to speak as we Liberals gather in Ottawa next week, although really that is just a starting point.

Ibbitson column today asks the relevant question:
Will the delegates take the risks needed to fundamentally renew a gravely damaged political brand? Or will the old guard undermine reform in the interests of protecting what little turf is still left to them?

Based on conversations with people who spoke candidly in exchange for anonymity, the news for Liberals is mostly encouraging.

I would take it one step further and say who we elect as well, a clear signal moving forward, hardly trivial or "inside", but a overarching statement. There will be much decided during this convention, as you can clearly see in the many proposals put forth. Liberals can differ on what proposals they favour or reject, but there is the capacity for significant reform, of the type that can begin to revolutionize the party. I see many of these proposals, candidates, as laying the framework for a true reformist practicality moving forward, a certain playing field ripe for potential activism. As well, the potential for a culture that still has a necessary hierarchy, but is inclusive and egalitarian in many regards, sending a clear message that we have a representative party, modern in scope and welcoming. It is here that Liberals can start to engage lost generations, the slow rot could be reversed. I am in no way saying reforms will lead to true electoral revival, only that there is more potential for a resurgence should we implement, than sticking with old imagery and mostly the status quo.

Many proposals will fail, not all are sound or wise, bu the debate they've generated is healthy and productive. My hope is we come out of Ottawa with certain reforms in place, something beyond window dressing, show Canada that the Liberal Party has the capacity for internal reform. Liberals need new faces, new veins to mine and modernized approaches to Canadian politics. If we get the nuts and bolts right, I suspect we shall see compelling policy and people come forth in the months ahead, this could well be an exciting and inspiring period.

Let's see what happens, the question Ibbitson asks is a key one...

No comments: