Filed under: Democratizing the Liberal Party
#1 Quit talking about four years of rebuilding. You guys really need to give your head a shake. When you say things like that its almost as if you’re saying, “Okay, Canadians, okay. We’ll do four years in the wildness and THEN form government again.” The rebuilding will take as long as it takes and then maybe you’ll earn government agains, but expect a minimum of eight years. Yes, E-I-G-H-T years. Don’t do some four year plan. Plan on eight years of rebuilding. Perhaps the stars and planets will align for the Liberals to return to power in four years. But do not plan on that, plan on eight years.
#2 Have competitive riding nominations. This is the most important step of any rebuilding effort. If you do nothing else do this. Sitting MPs should not get a pass. Some of the dumbest things said and done have been by Liberal MPs who figure they were guaranteed to be re-elected anyways. Do away with this! Make them earn their nominations. Some sitting MPs will lose their seats over the years with these new rules. Good. That’s called renewal!
#3 Make the Liberal Party the most grassroots party in the western hemisphere. That’s right, don’t just make it grassroots. Aim high and be the most grassroots party in the western hemisphere, if not the world. Change the processes, mechanisms, EVERYTHING, with a view to making the Liberal Party a grassroots party. Because right now it isn’t. And if the Liberals really, really want to return to being a powerful force to be reckoned with this is the way to do it.
#4 Stop staying 60% of Canadians voted against the Conservatives, or at least stop taking solace in it. The statement is mostly untrue, but for what truth there is in it it is equally true that 80% of Canadians voted against the Liberals – and that is far more telling a statement.
#5 Understand that the negative attack ads played a minor role in your historic defeat. They most certainly played a role. However, your inability to respond probably played more of a role than the attacks, and that is due to the Liberal Party’s inability to connect with its base in a way the motivates them to donate in large numbers. That’s a problem … that’s a serious problem. But also look at the polling numbers for this election. Liberals were basically stuck at 29% for the first half of the campaign. Then came the debates. And following the debates the Liberals went into a slide. What does that mean? Well, Ignatieff had the opportunity to directly connect with Canadians during those debates and he failed. Deep down grassroot Liberals relate to this and are not surprised, because most of them never connected with Ignatieff either. However, the latte-elites of the Liberal party still can’t figure it out. It must have been the attack ads because they were so sure that Ignatieff was almost as good as the second coming – and they can’t be wrong. They literally, very literally, thought there would be Iggymania around the country. These people need to give up control of the Liberal Party. They should be welcome to stay, but they are completely out of touch with Canadians. THEY are a far bigger problem than the attack ads ever were – root them out and remove them from their leadership positions. Yes, the attack ads were a problem. But the LIBERAL PARTY has been the biggest source of damage to the Liberal Party. Once you figure that out, and stop blaming others, then and only then will you be able to rebuild. And if after all this you still think the attack ads were the main problem then you just don’t get it.
I will say this. Ignatieff himself was only a minor problem. What’s more significant about Ignatieff is that he was a symptom of a much larger problem in the Liberal Party. But I do feel the need to point out that Ignatieff had so many unfriggin’ believable opportunities put in front of him, and he completely missed all or nearly all of them. It is truly astounding. And frankly I think there are two reasons for that: 1) Ignatieff’s political instincts suck; and 2) Ignatieff simply does not believe in some of the core tenants of the Liberal Party; so when opportunities presented themselves that any true Liberal could have hit a home run with he decided to sit out of the issue. Shame. Shame on Ignatieff. Shame on the elites who shoved him down our throats. And shame on the grassroots for rolling over when it happened. Good boy, grassroots, good boy. Here’s hoping you grow a pair and get some pitbull instincts.
And one last thing, a word of warning. If you think rebuilding is going to be easy, it won’t. It will be excruciatingly difficult. There’s probably a 50% chance that the Liberal Party will cease to exist as a viable political force in the country. Liberals will have a reduced role and visibility in Parliament. Liberals will have a smaller Parliamentary budget given its tiny caucus; more than likely Liberal MPs are going to have to give a small portion of their own budgets to try to make up for this. And Harper will use every level at his disposal to further cripple the Liberal Party – he isn’t to nice to kick his opponent when they are down. Say goodbye to the per vote political subsidy but also be prepared for much more. Harper is going to be ruthlessly effective at making the Liberal Party’s ability to rebuild nigh on impossible.