Tuesday, April 17, 2012



Politics is first and foremost about
values and ideas, and it is from
ideas that policies spring.

Liberal Party’s biennial convention


As a fellow who spent a lot of time and energy in the past beating around the Liberal Party, the current state of affairs is disillusioning.  Without a doubt, I could have easily been a provincial tory, if my family had not been ardent Federal Liberals.

It used to be that I knew what a Liberal was, or at least I thought I did.  We were not fixated on ideology, we believed in a just society, we believed in the collective good and our nation's values were reflected in how we governed. Liberal government brought about social progress, fiscal responsibility and environmental sustainability. We were the big tent, pragmatic party. Much of this has changed since the Liberal Party was thrown out of government.

The progressive vision of Canada has been replaced by a radical, dogmatic Conservative Government that does not reflect the collective good or reflect Canadian values. Instead, we are in a period of re-branding, an attempt to cleanse the progressive state and replace it with a self-serving, Darwinian Conservative society.

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the envy of much of the world. A progressive example of balancing minority rights against the will of the majority, The Conservatives feel the Charter robbed democracy, that the two are in conflict. They refuse to celebrate this incredible document on it's 30th birthday. The Charter is not a partisan document, it is a proud Canadian institution.

The Conservatives approach to this historic and important document reeks of the intolerant, biases, some might even say, racist undercurrents that still run strong in the Conservative Party. These currents have evolved from the days of the reform party and the Alliance. They have lain in wait, building pressure, waiting to erupt..

I agree with Bob Rae,  "Politics is first and foremost about values and ideas, and it is from ideas that policies spring". Stephen Harper is a political master. His ideas and values have secured a strong base from which his government's policies spring.

The NDP may been about causes and issues than governing. That has changed. Thomas Mulcair promises to bring the NDP from the great success of Jack Layton to the pragmatism needed to govern.

The Liberals remain lost. The leadership is unresolved.  They have not become the progressive alternative to both the NDP and the Conservative parties. They have a long way to go to catch up to the NDP and the Liberals.

So, as we pause to reflect on our Charter of Rights and other Canadian institutions that are the envy of the world. Let us not forget that they are products of progressive policies implemented by a progressive party that was not held hostage by left or right wing ideology.

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