Friday, 27 September 2013

Paul Martin drove me away from the Liberals

I see that Michael Ignatieff has written a book about his role in the downfall of the Liberal Party.  I haven't decided if I will read it; I probably won't.  The Liberal Party of Canada lost my support some time before Iggy took over.

I am an admirer of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (I could start with an earlier PM like Pearson or Laurier, but let's keep things within my lifetime!).  I think he did great things for this country when he patriated the Constitution and created the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Trudeau's successor, John Turner, did little to impress me, but I feel that Turner's successor Jean Chrétien did a good job as prime minister, especially in working with Paul Martin as minister of finance.

Paul Martin, however, managed to drive me away from the Liberals.  He organised a palace coup, rallied the party faithful against a still-popular prime minister and took over the party and thus the office of prime minister.  He then faced the Canadian voters, who punished him and his party for usurping the position that they had given to Chrétien by first taking away his majority in parliament and then his minority government as well.  The lesson here is, don't kick out a popular prime minister!

Stéphane Dion's Green Shift sounded good to me, but Dion wasn't able to sell it.  The Conservatives seized the initiative and defined the debate, and Dion wasn't able to catch up.  Following Dion's meltdown as leader, the Liberals has a coronation for Michael Ignatieff.  He seemed to believe that he deserved to be elected, but just came off as arrogant.  And when Iggy had to go, Bob Rae made the right choice and also stood aside - it's unlikely he'd have any more resonance with the voters.

Unfortunately for the Liberals, what was meant to be a wide open race for the party leadership ended up being another coronation, this time for Justin Trudeau.  JT is charismatic, but he hasn't won me back.  While there is no way that I could support the non-progressive Conservatives, and the NDP are struggling to keep their gains, I am not ready to support the Liberals.

My biggest concern is that I don't know what they stand for (other than legalising pot).  I know what previous versions of the Liberal party supported, but the current version is being cagey.  I understand not wanting to give their opponents ammunition to attack them, but they also need to give voters a reason to choose the Liberals, and not simply because they want to throw out the rascals that are currently running the show.


  1. You sound like me, except I am a conservative...

    Stephen Harper had grand ideas but he seems to pander too much to the social conservatives in his party and not enough to reality.
    I have a hard time voting Liberals (Chretien's legacy leaves a bad taste in my mouth), and it is even tougher to vote NDP.

    1. I am not able to support Harper's Conservatives, so we are likely to disagree no matter which party eventually wins my vote! Funnily enough, I think Harper has more or less kept the social conservatives muzzled, but I'm opposed to his modified form of Reagonomics (which I will comment on in a future rant).

  2. Harper managed to do one thing very well, and that was unify the conservatives, and muzzle the nutbars. Anyone that could get Rob Anders to simmer down deserves some respect.

    Martin and Chretien's fight may have torn the guts out of the Libs, but they were also the team that pulled Canada out of deficit and started to address the debt.

    I don't see any miracles coming from Trudeau or Mulcair. Next election looks a little dull.