In the Globe and Mail, Akaash Maharaj wonders if the LPC’s long time in office — and the resulting accretion of power-seekers rather than idealists — can be atoned for in time to regain the hearts (and votes) of Canadians:
There is no denying that the Liberal Party’s long association with domination made it a magnet for individuals drawn to power rather than to public service, a tool of Liberals of convenience rather than Liberals of conviction. The question that will confront its next leader is not whether the Liberal Party can rebuild its fabled political machine into one capable of waging an effective campaign; it is whether it can rediscover its ideals and return as a party deserving of our country’s trust.
If it is to have any hope of doing so, it will need to find the courage to resist the lure of comforting self-deceptions and the seduction of recent polls.
The party’s decline at successive elections was not due to some lapse in judgment by a rueful electorate that yearns to repent at the next opportunity. It was not a want of resources that can be remedied by a new crop of bagmen or ward heelers. It was not an absence of messianic personalities whose charisma could substitute for grassroots renewal.
The Liberal Party instead received a calculated rebuke from Canadians against the divisions and hubris they saw gnawing at it. It was dismissed by an electorate who concluded that the Liberal Party was no longer willing or able to deliver liberal policies or governance.
He then goes on to enumerate what the Liberal Party should be — and it’s a pretty fair list — but not what most people would associate with the Liberal brand, unfortunately. Since Stephen Harper has co-opted the position the Liberals used to occupy (both in the political and philosophical senses), there’s definitely room in the Canadian political spectrum for a party that believes “liberty is the highest political good, and that as a result, the first duty of government is to seek the greatest liberty for the one that is compatible with liberty for all.”
A party that truly believed and worked towards that would be a Liberal Party worth supporting. Maharaj seems to want the Liberals to become more libertarian … and I think that would be a great improvement.