Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Problem with the Liberals is...

The problem with the Liberals is we've become the PCs of old. Remember those guys? Circle the wagons and fire inwards. Eat your young. Air all your dirty laundry in public. Forget about the silent majority and try and convince others your dogma is where it's at. That was the old PC mantra. The "permanent Opposition". The Liberals were the opposite. We were inclusive, almost to a fault, realizing that people have differing agendas and passions. That the Party was the big tent under which these many diverse voices could be heard and reconciled. That the only requirement was to keep descent within the Party, and remain loyal to the Party and its leadership in public - at all times. Party discipline in other words. The "Natural Governing Party".

Things have changed. The world has changed. The Liberal Party has changed. Ever since Paul Martin began his not so private push to replace Jean Chretien things have gone to hell in a hand basket. It is as if a cardinal rule had been broken - honour thy Leader. Or at the very least, don't push out a sitting Leader until he is good and ready to go - unless you are say Dalton Camp and the other guy is Dief. It does seem though that since that internal battle the Party has lost its discipline in a sense. That great Party discipline that allowed for differing opinions and input - just not public disloyalty.

A great deal of navel gazing has been done lately, at the federal and provincial levels of the Party, about what to do next. Where do we go from here? Who do we need to get rid of? Who can we bring in to change everything, and put us back into the place where we decide the budget? What do we need to change about ourselves and how we operate? Who gets burnt at the stake first: the Old Guard or the New Guard? Does the Party of Pierre Trudeau and Canadian nationalism need to adopt a US primary system to elect its Leader to be meaningful in today's Canadian political system? And so it goes.

The same type of chat is happening on the provincial level. In Newfoundland and Labrador the CBC cranks out endless stories from Dean MacDonald on how the Party needs to "clean house", and how it needs to be credible - as if all those involved for so many years, and the recent additions, were somehow not credible. Perhaps the bigger question is who does he think he is to refer to all those volunteers efforts in such a disrespectful way? Perhaps he is overly confident that he can take the Party at any time and do with it as he sees fit. Perhaps. After all, Danny Williams is a corporate guy, and we know how they like to own the competition as well. Let's see: Jerome becomes the new PC leader, and Dean becomes the new Liberal leader. Nice and tidy. No way to lose when you control both right?

In any case, the problem with the Liberals is frankly they've become the Conservatives of old. You may have noticed the Conservatives have now become the Liberals of old. The movie has changed. The times have changed. It is not the first time this has happened. It won't be the last. The ability to maturely deal with the execution of power is what defined the old Liberals. The ability to eat its own publicly defines the new Liberals. The answer for the Liberals is not all sorts of silly, and in many ways injurious contortions - publicly no less. The answer for the Liberals is to go back to what made them the "Natural Governing" Party in the first place - go back to the future.

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