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US crisis has some lessons for Canadians

Posted by Bob Rae on July 29, 2011 | No Comments

The deep partisanship that has marked the crisis in the United States Congress has some lessons for Canadians.  Polarisation is not the “new normal,” as New Democrats and Conservatives are preaching.  It corrodes the body politic and takes us away from the simple truth that most people want a moderate, intelligent politics that’s based on facts, evidence, good values and compromise.

In 1991-92 the first ministers of the country met many times to discuss the constitution.  In the corridors and in the inevitable discussions late at night we would gather together to talk about what was really on our minds – the economy and the state of public finances.  The recession was taking its toll, and a “Canadian consensus” began to emerge – the country, and its provinces had to get their finances in better shape.  The twenty year process of increasing deficits and debts had to come to an end.  It was not a Progressive Conservative insight, or a New Democratic one, or a Liberal view, it was simply a widely shared, practical perspective that there were limits to borrowing, and that it would take a common commitment to get us to a better place.

It was not easy, but it was also not bitterly partisan.  When Jean Chretien became Prime Minister in 1993, and began his own deficit attack a year later, most Canadians understood that it had to be done at the federal level as well as in every province.

The red/blue left/right split in America makes bi-partisanship almost impossible, and has taken that country to an entirely avoidable brink.  As President Obama stated this morning, this is not some natural disaster beyond the wit of people to resolve.  It is fixable and takes political will and a sense of the common good to fix it.

Most Canadians do not actually want a viciously partisan, left/right divide in this country.  Despite Stephen Harper’s musings, the country has not suddenly turned hard right.  Sixty percent of Canadians voted against Mr Harper’s party and its politics.  And we need to understand that most goals in politics, as they are in hockey or soccer, are scored from the centre.  That’s where the action is, and that’s where most Canadians are.

But not the dead centre where it’s safety first and always ‘on the one hand and the other hand,’ but rather an action-filled, resilient, and lively centre that is not afraid of ideas, debate, and looking at issues afresh.  And that’s where the Liberal Party needs to be as well.

The one note the Conservatives can’t seem to avoid is the note of smugness and arrogance – about the election, about everyone else’s finances, about whatever issue they discuss.

The Conservatives insist that Canada’s economic record is light years ahead of the rest of the world.  And yet the Canadian economy actually shrunk in May, and the combined debt of all governments in Canada – the number that matters in a federal country where provinces can borrow on the open market – is well over a trillion dollars.  We have no grounds for smugness, and no basis for arrogance.

- Bob Rae

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  1. Avatar of Garry Cornel Garry Cornel said on

    Well said Mr. Rae! This is the kind of statement that we need to see and hear on a regular basis. Unfortunately it is a sermon to the converted. Judging by the number of posts to this blog we (the LPC) are not stirring any hearts as yet. I think the party has a window of perhaps one year where we can try to enunciate vision and policies and then we will need to lock into the Tory POISON GAS campaign. Money is everything. Party members need to put their hands into their pockets, remembering how little a maximum donation will cost.
    It is to be hoped that the LPC will find additional ways to raise funds. While there is considerable enthusiasm at what we may call “grass roots” level there is no spark in the “grass tops”. Volunteers like me, NOT long-term party members but supporters nevertheless, who have chosen this time of crisis to join the LPC need to see some evidence that the party really does want to change and become truly democratic in an effort to truly represent the Canadian People.

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    • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

      As a new member (impelled to join to replace the per vote sum that the CPC said it wil eliminate) I keep asking for an officia set of corevalues to use when talking to non-members & voters,all tono avail.

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      • Avatar of André Brisebois André Brisebois said on

        Hi William,

        The following is taken from the Preamble of the Party’s Constitution (found in the Party documents section):
        “The Liberal Party of Canada is committed to the view that the dignity of each individual man and woman is the cardinal principle of democratic society and the primary purpose of all political organization and activity in such a society.

        The Liberal Party of Canada is dedicated to the principles that have historically sustained the Party: individual freedom, responsibility and human dignity in the framework of a just society, and political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all persons. The Liberal Party is bound by the constitution of Canada and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is committed to the pursuit of equality of opportunity for all persons, to the enhancement of our unique and diverse cultural community, to the recognition that English and French are the official languages of Canada, and to the preservation of the Canadian identity in a global society.

        In accordance with this philosophy, the Liberal Party of Canada subscribes to the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons under the rule of law and commits itself to the protection of these essential values and their constant adaptation to the changing needs of modern Canadian society.

        The Liberal Party of Canada recognizes that human dignity in a democratic system requires that all citizens have access to full information concerning the policies and leadership of the Party; the opportunity to participate in open and public assessment of such means, and such modifications of policies and leadership as they deem desirable to promote the political, economic, social, cultural and general well-being of Canadians.

        To realize this objective, the Liberal Party of Canada strives to provide a flexible and democratic structure whereby all Canadians can obtain such information, participate in such assessment and militate for such reform through open communications, free dialogue and participatory action both electoral and non-electoral. This Constitution sets forth the institutions, systems and procedures by which the Liberal Party of Canada, in co-operation with its provincial and territorial associations and electoral district associations, works to implement these ideas on behalf of all its members.”

        The Constitution has been adopted by member-delegates at the last Biennial so it represents the membership’s views.

        Members, Volunteers and Party Officials are also having discussions similar to this in ridings across the country as part of the grassroots rebuilding of our Party. If you are interested in finding out more about the discussions that are going on in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier please read their report here: http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/blog/part-ii-rebuilding-ottawa-vanier/.

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        • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

          The only thing we need now is to digest that down to a 30 second elevator pitch, and a 5 second sound-bite. Part of the success of the Conservative party is their ability to compress their message into a 3 second sound bite (i.e. taxes bad, trade good….kind of sounds like the chants in Orwell’s Animal farm). I like what someone said at the Ottawa-Vanier rebuilding session, that Liberal values are ‘evidence’ based.

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  2. Avatar of Craig Robinson Craig Robinson said on

    It is always said that Canada’s economy is dependent upon the US economy. This frightens me. That we are dependent upon a divided and clearly unstable country that cannot agree with each side to save its own future. However deep down I’m convinced that Canada does not have to depend on the US. With real leadership and a “green” vision we can be the global epicenter of Country that produces, manufactures, and distributes energy efficient green technology. Which will create jobs, build our economy by selling these products aboard and build an economy to be reckoned with. All the country needs to do is attract businesses that wish to sell green and energy efficient products here, with tax cuts and incentives to manufacture here. This is a vision worth taking on Liberal Party.

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    • Avatar of Rosemary Boissoneau Rosemary Boissoneau said on

      I agree. The greening of our society and economy is the best way forward. Much of the present problems come from our unsustainable life styles and business models. The present political systems (the US system being the most stark example) are not well equipped for creating the necessary dialogue and innovative political leadership to deal adequately with this crisis of sustainability. The right/left divide grew organically from a different reality than the one we have today, and in its time, worked relatively well as a vehicle for healthy debate within the framework of that reality. Today is an entirely different story. All the right/left arguing we’re witnessing in the States presently is much like a dog chasing its tail–a lot of energy and drama resulting in nothing. As centrists, we Liberals are uniquely placed to forge a new way, one with a focus on sustainability and social justice, that will address the challenges facing us and embrace the change that is already under way.
      We will, of course, face much criticism from the left and right as these ideas shake up their world view and threaten the underpinnings of their way of life. The Conservatives (and to a lesser extent, the NDP) are trying to turn back the tides by attacking innovation, intellectualism and science. It is a politics of denial and the harm it causes us all is immense. I have no doubt that this is the root of the viciousness countered against both Michael Ignatieff and Stephan Dion as both are stunning intellectuals. Such mistrust of creativity, initiative, adaptability and intellect will not stop change, but only make society all the less prepared for its impacts.
      Finding a new way forward will take a lot of energy and creativity, and a willingness to rebuild from the ground up. And that is exactly what the Liberal Party is in the process of doing.

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  3. Avatar of Chris P Chris P said on

    Step 1 – Develop a simple understandable ‘catch phrase’ to link the path Harper has put us on with what’s happening in the US.

    Step 2 – All MPP’s and senators repeat the same message in unison on every media platform they can

    Step 3 – Repeat this message over and over and over again.

    This blog posts are nice but it’s like preaching to choir – many of us have known this information for a long while. Question is why do we give the Conservatives a free pass? Communications as a whole needs vast improvements going forward.

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  4. Avatar of Paul S Paul S said on

    First off, let’s remember that 75% of Canadians didn’t cast a vote for the Liberal Party this last election. It stands that the NDP and LPC stand on the periphery, and the Conservatives are at the center.

    =”The one note the Conservatives can’t seem to avoid is the note of smugness and arrogance – about the election, about everyone else’s finances, about whatever issue they discuss.”=

    No, Liberals still hold the patent on smugness. Disastrously calling an election when no Canadian wanted one and then being punished by the electorate, Mr. Rae still talks like the LPC has the pulse of the nation. Time for the LPC to check their own pulse, if there is one.

    The Conservatives are proud of this fantastic country, and rightly so. Like an athlete proudly carrying the Olympic torch before the beginning of a Games, the Conservatives are proud to Canada’s chosen representatives to lead this country onwards into the 21st. century.

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    • Avatar of Cynthia Collett Cynthia Collett said on

      Paul – Please do not speak for ALL Canadians. I and many other Canadians DID want an election in May … we did not necessarily want the results we were handed – but that is life and we now must make the most of what we have. You are certainly welcome to post here – but please try to be civil, non-argumentative and not critical of the Liberal Party. After all – this is a Liberal Party website … if you disagree with our views, you should not waste your time here. The same holds true for anyone who posts here. We are Canadians focused on bringing Canada back to herself … no ill-intent or south-of-the-border bad politicking … just Canadians being Canadian first and Liberal second.

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      Well I disagree that the Liberals caused the election. The non-confidence motion happened on the contempt of parliament charges, but the budget was set up to be deliberately partisan, thus designed to provoke an election. The Liberals chose to call non-confidence on ethics rather than tax cuts for corporations. There is an argument to be made that the latter may have been a better call – we now have even lower corporate tax rates than the US and look where their low taxes have got them.

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      • Avatar of Sean Wiltshire Sean Wiltshire said on

        Contempt of parliament was entirely a Liberal beast, it wasn’t the whole parliament it was an opposition committee. It was obvious to the voting public that the contempt motion and noise was a partisan tactic.

        Here’s the thing: the election was called by the Liberals and framed as “those other boys are being MEAN!!!11″, the public by and large said “toughen up cupcake”. I sent this to the LPC at the beginning of the election, turns out they tried to make the election about democracy while Layton and Harper ate the libs breakfast. Maybe have a listen next time.

        http://the-mound-of-sound.blogspot.com/2011/03/dear-iggy.html

        Enough weak leaders who can’t stand up to even vague criticism, let’s have some primaries in the Liberal party.

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      • Avatar of Doug Doug said on

        Ireland cut their corporate tax rates to the bone, far lower than Canada’s. Unfortunately, the privateers that were supposed to create new jobs with their tax breaks moved to other countries. Corporate tax cuts do not stimulate job creation. Corporate tax cuts allow corporations to tank up their cash reserves and reduce their workforces.

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  5. Avatar of Gerald Green Gerald Green said on

    Bob, thanks for your view of the interesting situation in the USA. In this age of quick communication, I believe our policies need to be specific and quickly implemented. Vagueness and postponement will not attract citizens to the party. I think we have to discard the ‘old’ ways of taking a middle ground in an attempt to appeal to everyone.

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  6. Avatar of Fayaz Karim Fayaz Karim said on

    This is leadership we can believe in. This is the attitude that has led this country’s valiant progress and international leadership as well. This is the logical and natural way to govern.

    Liberals might have lost this edge over the last five years, but I am feeling confident and inspired we are back on track and will overcome this current blip under Mr.Rae’s leadership.

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  7. Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

    I looked at the Liberal site this morning and in my opinion the recent comments are fast becoming a diatribe from soap boxes. Let everyone be heard & at the same time please put something in place that classifies.

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  8. Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

    Liberal values lead to prosperity. With Liberals at the helm Canadians can prosper.

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  9. Avatar of Joan Richard Joan Richard said on

    I have signed up for all replies to these blogs on my e-mail and have found that my site is filled with inconsequential blathering from about a half dozen bloggers. Inspirational? NOT! In spite of the fact that I have stated my concerns about the liberal.ca website, in that half of the left hand side of the page is missing, no one has ever responded and I am still unsure whether the problem is mine or the entire website. I am a lifelong Liberal and know very well why I cannot move to either the right or the left in the big picture, but, being in the middle is sometimes very hard to defend and justify because, to the outsiders, it appears that we stand for nothing. I think that Bob Rae’s explanation that we follow the evidence, scientific and otherwise, to make our decisions and that social justice should underpin every action taken are pretty good places to start our conversation with the uncommitted. Then we have to prove that the Liberal Party, when next in government, will actually follow those principles to the letter. I would suggest that what is really needed is honesty, a big step away from partisanship and away from rewarding long-time members of the Liberal Party when that is the only qualification they possess in relation to the reward. Canadians are very tired of partisan appointments and we will only see more of that over the next 4 years, if the past is any predictor of the future! It is very difficult when your supporters are standing at the trough, not to give in to that loyalty, but I hope and believe that the Liberal Party at the Biennial Convention will state categorically that, when in power, they will make all appointments based on merit, ability, and qualifications, and choose the Liberal candidate only if all other qualities are equal. I believe that the ultra-partisanship in US politics will lead to their eventual downfall, but recognize that constructive opposition is very necessary in the democratic process. Let’s oppose only on the basis of our stated principles, and object loud and long if those principles, shared by most Canadians, are being ignored by the government, but we sure do not need to oppose and criticize every little statement made, at every political opportunity. That just makes us look small. Enough said from this small corner of Canada. But I really want to see ideas on this blog site, not just a lot of conversation by a handful of the already committed.

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    • Avatar of Kye Harvison Kye Harvison said on

      I realize that this might be taboo, not being a Liberal supporter per say, however I just had to tip my hat off to Joan Richard for her comment eariler, I ahve a large amount of respect for someone who can look at current politics and come up with the conclusion that we all need to stop pointing fingers and just get the job done. The line “Let’s oppose only on the basis of our stated principles, and object loud and long if those principles, shared by most Canadians, are being ignored by the government, but we sure do not need to oppose and criticize every little statement made, at every political opportunity. That just makes us look small” is incredibly well stated and should we all take on the same attitude maybe things can get done in this day and age.

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    • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

      I believe that though the details are forgotten an indelible impression is left when values are built around an entity that is itself valued & prosperity certainly is.

      Whenever a senior office holding Liberal makes a statement perhaps the word ‘prosperity’ or ‘prosper’ should be included.

      Liberal values can lead to prosperity of individuals & groups.

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  10. Avatar of Sylvain Gauthier Sylvain Gauthier said on

    Definitely we should be looking at the US crisis and learn.
    Republicans ride on the Tea party , Conservatives ride on the Reform party. Their positions are clear, small government, low tax, gun lover, gay bashers, bible hugger …. Democrats like us liberals stands for anything the others, GOP or Conservatives, stand for. Our position are vague, we are green but not too much , we are for social justice for whatever it means, we are for helping the poor if we can afford it …..
    Tactics of the GOP & Cons, in your face attack, turning lobbying into weapons of mass destruction , making the democrats and liberal looks like pussies.

    Results: Democrats and liberal are getting their butt kicked , we almost got blown out of the map and if Obama was not the leader of the democrat for the next election , they would be blogging like we do because they lost their jobs.

    Time to suit up to fight. I understand we want to be more intellectual and reasonable but it doesn’t work here , it doesn’t work in the US. Frankly do you really want to have a north American continent lead by the tea party and the reform party?

    Suggestion : separate the intellectuals from the fighters in the Liberal party. Enough putting down anybody who wants to get in the face of conservatives the same way they do.
    The intellectuals: get together give us a strategy that can win , we will rally people that can fight and we will make it happen.

    We don’t have a Barrack Obama to win the next election so we will need to suit up, learn how to be fast with 3 bullets points position, learn how to use talking head to run attack for us, learn to run ad campaign that has punch

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    • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

      I’m with the proposal in general.

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  11. Avatar of Cynthia Collett Cynthia Collett said on

    Just to clarify, Sylvain, Canadian Liberals does NOT equal U.S. Democrat. I know this because I am a former American and I absolutely would not support a Democrat party … not in the U.S. or anywhere else. The Liberal Party of Canada is a very “middle-of-the-road” political party … the U.S. Democrats are extremely left politics (more similar to the NDP – as the name would even suggest). Having said that – please understand that the U.S. and Canada are very different countries with very different political structures and, as such, one simply cannot “match up” parties across the border. It is a mistake many Canadians make and if we are to move our Party forward – we need to get away from erroneous comparisons to the U.S. We should all be proud CANADIANS and leave U.S. politics where they belong – south of the border.
    oh – and thank GOD we do NOT have an Obama in Canada. We have plenty of true Canadians that will represent our Party proudly.

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    • Avatar of Rosemary Boissoneau Rosemary Boissoneau said on

      There is a lot to be learned from the US situation, but Cynthia is right; despite certain obvious parallels, Canadian and US politics are two very different animals. The American fight characterized by extreme attacks and purely ideological stances has resulted in no winners, and very many losers with the S&P still lowering the US credit rating after all the initial yelling and finger pointing died down. (There’s a heck of a lot more to come!)
      The biggest thing that we can learn is just how vicious and entrenched conservatives have become as they see their way of life vanish. As Richard Florida explains in his book “The Rise of the Creative Class”, the western world now has a new dominant class made up of scientists, innovators, artists and intellectuals. Without really realizing it, they are replacing the capitalists as the class that has the power to shape society and the economy. The conservatives (generally capitalists) and the socialist leaning folks (generally labour and union types)are finding themselves in new, untested waters where they can no longer effectively call the shots and get the results they hope for. (For example, the Rep. got pretty much all they wanted in the debt ceiling deal, but the credit rating still went down and the much protected “job creators” are still going to have a very tough time of it regardless of the presence or lack of tax increases.)
      I see the Liberal Party as the best to represent this emerging creative class. This gives me much hope for the future of our Party and our country. The US lacks this middle party to give a voice to this new class, and I feel that is why the struggle in the States is of such a greater magnitude than here in Canada.
      What are we going to do about all this? I’ll leave that to brighter, more politically adept minds. But be sure, the struggle is only going to get greater as conservatives and possibly even the far left will see the creative class as the enemy, and will want to demonize science, the arts and all things intellectual even further. Tighten your seat belts, ladies and gentelmen, and prepare to win the societal struggle before us.

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      • Avatar of Sylvain Gauthier Sylvain Gauthier said on

        I agree US and Canada don’t have the same system or philosophy and comparing them at the level is useless. I’m comparing PARTY strategy and tactics and whether you like it or not the GOP and conservatives use the same or are converging rapidly towards the same. The foundation is radical (tea party reform party), big business funding, religious movement backing and the gameplan is easy: let it rip. How far they are willing to go, well how about hijacking the country to force adeal that is so bad that you get punish by the market and credit agencies. All of this to undermine the president and democrats to be able to take the power. That’s how far they are will to go to gain power to push their idealogy.

        We will not beat Harper with good ideas only. Reality is by the next election he will have achieve deficit 0, unemployment will be down from where it is today (net of retirements versus new labor force , not Cons policy) and chance is that they will have new assets for the military in place.
        We have to start nailing them where they will be weak: Debt, productivity , trade balance ( $ will continue to go up) .

        The CREATIVE CLASS , i like it ! its very catchy and could rally a lot of people ! thanks for the source ill get the book

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      • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

        May I add that minds are (well) minds & that those not receiving higher education can be intrinsically creative.

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        • Avatar of Rosemary Boissoneau Rosemary Boissoneau said on

          Oh, there is no doubt about it. I didn’t mean to imply that the creative class is the domain of only those with the highest education. Creativity is not bound by education, income-level, ethnicity, gender, etc. In some ways, it can be a great equalizer. However, I believe that a lot of the populist mistrust for academia and the so called elites stems from this often inaccurate characterization. Not so long ago, elite meant a middle-aged suit clad man in a Bay Street bank tower. Today it usually means somebody in Burkenstocks, drinking a latte next to their bike at a campus coffee shop.

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    • Avatar of Sylvain Gauthier Sylvain Gauthier said on

      Cynthia, the title of the article is about US crisis lessons learn by Canadian so yes i will make comparison because they are relevant. Specially when you compare strategy & tactics (Leave the phlosophy aside)
      Did you realize how easy it is to connect GOP and conservatives (Canadian)? How about democrats and liberals or NPD as you proposed ? Not that easy because they are all over try to be in the center on some issues on the left on other or on the right when polls say so.
      The three do share commonality , they try to be the smart people that knows best.

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      • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

        You are correct that the connections between the US Republicans and the Canadian Conservatives is strong. I’m not sure how the Democrats could help us. They are generally funded by corporations which are diametrically opposed to the populist interests that they campaign on.

        It seems that nowadays, the Democrats only get elected en masse, when things are so bad in the US that folks mark ‘someone else’ on the ballot. Do we really want things to get that bad?

        I will bring something up that the Globe and Mail once brought up. What if the Liberal party was loosely associated with a non-profit foundation or think tank? The Conservatives are associated with the Fraser institute and the Manning Centre, so why not a similar think tank that ultimately feeds policy research and direction to the Liberal party. It also helps in terms of getting ideas out into the media. How many times are these Conservative think tanks quoted in the paper, promoting an idea which ultimately is executed upon by the Conservative party. The think tank “socializes” the idea in the general public, then it becomes a policy plank after the public seemingly has adopted it.

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        • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

          To Robert’s question: In a way this Blog forum is becoming an ad hoc think tank in its own right. I propose taking it to the next level. My wife and I were discussing this this morning. I am hearing ‘evidence based’ as a Liberal Value. A foundation can do the research to **get** that evidence as well as to promote it in the media. There are liberal academics that have been for the most part side-lined over the past 10 years (due to funding cuts at our universities), and there are young people out there that could do fabulous research for the good of the country – all they are missing is a foundation to sponsor them.

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        • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

          To William’s point regarding financing (since the reply mechanism only allows a depth of about 3 – Tech team, are you reading this?): Where does the money for a foundation or think tank come from? Good question. Well, there is a reason why the Conservatives changed the funding limit from $5000 to $1100. They saw that Liberal donors were fewer in number but left larger amounts, while they with their grass-roots, folksy campaign were getting larger numbers of small donations.

          What this tells us is that there are reasonably well off folks who do want to donate to the party but can’t. So you hit your limit of $1,100 for the party, $1,100 for your riding association but you still want to help out financially? A foundation/think tank offers the ability to effectively help the Liberals get their message out, much like funding the Fraser Institute or Manning Centre allows conservative minded individuals and corporations to help the Conservatives without exceeding the funding limit.

          When I was at the Ottawa-Vanier riding association brainstorming session, I floated one idea that there are winners and losers among the corporate sector. This foundation/think tank idea is a way for eastern corporate interests (i.e. manufacturing) to reassert itself in the face of a government that is ruled by the resource sector.

          Unlike the NDP, we cannot count on the Unions for support, nor do we necessarily want to. The Liberal party is a pragmatic party when it comes to business – it’s among the reasons it has enjoyed power for much of the 20th century.

          I’m not one for being a corporate shill, but I am pragmatic – we need to access deeper pockets than those we currently access. We need to buy media attention, and at a certain level, convince the business interests that own today’s media that the sky will not fall if a Liberal majority government is ever re-elected. And finally, there are wealthy among us who would like to give something back.

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        • Avatar of Sylvain Gauthier Sylvain Gauthier said on

          Hugh , i support this excellent idea of being associate with think tank. Not only they can carry our message, they can help shaping public opinions

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        • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

          Simply put, thought is free but thought expressed publically costs & where is the cash to come from?

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    • Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

      I hardly think the Democrats are extreme left – perhaps extreme left in the context of US politics. Actually, I see the American problem is that despite the partisanship, both parties are directly funded by the same corporations. In Canada, corporations can’t directly fund the candidates or the parties.

      There is little we can import from the Democrats that can help us. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have imported the Republican’s ability to get the poor to vote against their economic self-interest.

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      • Avatar of Cynthia Collett Cynthia Collett said on

        Well said, Hugh … and, yes, extreme left in terms of U.S. politics only.

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    • Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

      & I agree with that.

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  12. Avatar of Pascal Dorion Pascal Dorion said on

    Great article Bob, brief and to the point. We as Canadians are radical moderates; the result of being born of a native Indian father, French mother and a British King. I feel the Liberal party exemplifies this and that it must be its core value. The opposite would be spineless fanatics which represent our decadent and doomed neighbor and some obsolete inertia-driven parties of our great nation.

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  13. Avatar of Kerry Nelson Kerry Nelson said on

    MP and Finance Critic Scott Brison has a new blog post up asking for questions on the economic crisis that he will put to the Finance Minister tomorrow morning at Committee. Read his new blog post and submit your questions as comments here: http://www.liberal.ca/newsroom/blog/put-questions-finance-minister-tomorrow/

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  14. Avatar of Pascal Dorion Pascal Dorion said on

    Here is a nifty test to see where you fit:

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

    Also the site tries to peg current Canadian parties:

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/canada2011

    Of course parties sometimes lose their essence and must rebuild, Tories did that and now us Liberals.

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  15. Avatar of Kye Harvison Kye Harvison said on

    Robert, I would be open to support any Party who is willing to listen to the people and do for the people. I am in no way saying that the Liberals are not trying to do that currently I am merely making the statement. In terms of stiring up the juices, that’s what we need to do, but it needs to not be boiled down to back and forth insults on the party leaders, that just brings us back to the terrible highschool mentality towards your “opposition” whatever it may be that we should all be long done with. If everyone were to analyze a situation and choose whichever party were to promote their ideals rather than choosing whichever party has “made less mistakes” then a true governemnt would be put into place. True the stigma is that the Liberal party has made a lot of mistakes in past while in power but we need to focus on who will be progressive, put the past in the past and who will actually have the determination and the resources to represent the country as a whole for all of our futures.

    I am in no way an expert on the government and have only just started taking an interest in what is going on and just had to respond to Joans post because of all the ones I had read prior hers was more along my way of thinking, it was refreshing to read.

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  16. Avatar of Fayaz Karim Fayaz Karim said on

    William,

    A few months ago I was at the UTM gym in Mississauga, the Canadian paraplegic basketball team were practising in their wheelchairs. After seeing them at their game, I dropped the word disabled from my vocabulary! Actually, they made me, a fairly healthy individual look physically incompetent. This team touched my heart and had me thinking deeply.

    When one becomes ‘disabled’ [I will use this word to make my point] in the normal social context, they are not really disabled, a world of new abilities open up for them. The Canadian paraplegic basketball team proved this. We usually take these human differences for granted because we see it fairly often, but we should actually contemplate and learn from it.

    So, in context of the discussion going on here [somewhat], we Liberals have suffered a political setback, but, a world of new possibilities and abilities must now open up for us. A different style of governance and leadership is necessary, which I am pleased to say we are witnessing. For those who expect perfection, I say wrong planet.

    Liberals have a pretty strong political history that laid the foundation for Canada being where it was until Stephen Harper came on the scene with his Republican/Tea Party style governance, disrespecting the institutions that made us strong. We Liberals have to take this message to the public with full force, we have to be proud of Liberal accomplishments historically and remind the public why Canada has been prosperous.

    We are at another historic moment in Canadian politics and we need to go back to the basics of governing, respect for our citizens, institutions, rules and regulations.

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  17. Avatar of Cynthia Collett Cynthia Collett said on

    I like the way you think, Hugh!

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  18. Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

    Hurrah! & also let’s rememember that although the next federal general election may be years away the lasting impression has already started.

    Please start inserting ‘prosperity’ & ‘prosper’ whenever the opportunity arises.

    Prosperity includes good economy plus other good things. Always remember that whilst a good economy is an essential component of prosperity that it is possible to have a good economy without individual prosperity & this fact can be easily retained.

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  19. Avatar of Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson said on

    And to elaborate on this in the context of the Liberal failure in the last election, let us examine the three campaigns. The Conservatives ran a non-campaign, focusing on a simplistic message and playing on people’s reptilian instincts (‘tax cuts good’, ‘tax hike=unemployment’, ‘put criminals behind bars’). The NDP ran a feel-good campaign (hope, joy, love, smilin’ Jack). In neither campaign was there any real substance or realistic platform. The Liberals took the approach of developing a serious platform which was realistic, and probably the platform that most realistically could have been implemented. The plan failed.

    I would suggest that the Lberals need to have two separate strategies running in paralell: strategy 1 is a ‘feel-good’ campaign to get elected – don’t bother with platform specifics in this strategy as no one is really paying attention. Strategy 2 is a long term ‘how are we going to actually run the country, and bring this about’. Strategy 2 plays into strategy 1 as it arms the candidates with ammunition to answer the tough questions, but strategy 1 is all about generating a buzz.

    Actually it will be a challenge because let’s face it – media in this country is owned by a few large corporations whose interests are best served with a Conservative agenda.

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  20. Avatar of Cynthia Collett Cynthia Collett said on

    Sad but true. At least we know what we need to do as a political party … not the least of which is to arrive at a short, concise message that can be played over and over until the public “accepts it as gospel.” Of course, in our case, it probably is gospel. :)

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  21. Avatar of William Stephenson William Stephenson said on

    Skype is ok for the majority but it rules out the minority cosisting of the disabled with a speech defect like me & able to type with just 1 finger all as the result of a stroke.

    Still, the majority properly rules & I cannot in good faith object .

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