I have thought and said for a while now, (not than anyone really listens to me on the matter, seeing that I am not a Liberal and have certainly been wrong in the past), that if the LPC has any chance of returning to its former status as the number one party in the country, it needs to do two things; one, shift slightly back to the left where their historical power is, and two, pick a young leader who is forward-looking and ready to introduce real reforms into the party and into the political system in general - reforms that really make our system less top-heavy and more accountable.
Large organizations almost always have trouble reinvigorating themselves when they have gotten too powerful, too comfortable, and frankly too accustomed to their position of advantage. Losing their status as either the first or second party in the country was, it seems to me a result of two basic problems on the part of Liberals. The Liberals shifted a little too far into the rightwing corporatist ideology and they let their position of comfort in power essentially corrupt the political system. Harper's shenanigans are distasteful for sure, but they are really only an extenuation of Chretien's top-heavy, overly strategic approach to the PMO. Canadians have clearly gotten fed-up with the corruption and lack of accountability in our political system, but no party (even the NDP) is presently offering up real solutions to these problems. I believe that the Harpercon's will pay the same price as the Liberals have paid. After a while, they will become the symbol of corruption and lack of accountability. But unless someone does something to change the political culture, we are in a downward spiral to 20 or 30 percent voter turnout and essentially a complete destruction of our democracy.
Since the advent of modern theories of history, beginning with Hegel, many philosophers have thought, especially since the best work of Marx, that real historical changes usually come about by pressure from those outside of the mainstream institutions of power. I am not sure if this is true. I am sure that if the Liberals have any hope of coming back from the political wilderness they need to actually be noticeably left of the Conservatives on economic issues and they need to move into new territory on the democratic and political front.
Though I am not a Liberal, if I were I would be holding out hope that Justin Trudeau would take the helm of the party. But whoever it is who takes the party needs to be a young, forward-looking believer in democracy and the universality that the Liberal Party once stood for. Otherwise, Liberal can just thrown in the towel and realize that without these shifts they are just another version of the Conservative Party.
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