March 15, 2006

No Need to Merge the NDP, Let’s Make the Liberal Brand Appeal to Them!

My Dipper friends always tell me: Antonio, why in God’s name are you not in the NDP? I tell them I was born in Quebec, where winning means something, and where whiners are left whining. I believe the NDP serves no useful purpose most of the time. They are not the kingmakers now and will do what they do best: complain.

This leadership is about rebuilding the Liberal brand and image. Bob Rae is a Liberal now. I welcome him to the party (he left the NDP 8 years ago) and hope he contributes greatly to the debate. I think we have to rebuild a Liberal brand which will entice NDP voters to come around, not the other way around.

We don’t want to rebuild as the party that is everything to everyone. I believe a party whose views are firmly entrenched with the idea that society should treat everyone the same, regardless of their differences, will naturally appeal to NDP voters. The Just Society is a Liberal dream and a liberal dream. A party who builds their core policy around that principle will attract Dippers.

Example: Access to health care. Don’t all Canadians deserve the same access (better and public) to health care in this country, from coast to coast (and for Dennis) to coast? Being a woman should get you the same access as being a man. Being an Albertan should get you the same access as being a Quebecker. If one province has a system that is clearly working better, the federal government should help that system work across the country.

It worked for Health Care in Saskatchewan. The Liberals gave money to the provinces for a program that would deliver public health care, making Saskatchewan’s system Canada’s system.

Same applies for child care. Quebec’s system is the best one and the federal Liberals gave money to all the provinces to set up their own Quebec-style system in order to offer a service to all Canadians as equally as possible while respecting jurisdictions.

That is using the Just Society to build policy.

I know that Just Society stuff scares you Tories but I think it is the fundamental goal of our party, to offer the best services and protection of rights equally across the country.

Let those values guide the making of our policy, and we will not have to merge with the NDP, they will come to us!

21 Commentaires:

Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Hey Antonio:

A couple points:

1. I know you were trying to incite your readership by saying the NDP is virtually useless and all they do is whine. I know you don't really mean that.

As a Liberal myself, I find the NDP to have a very important role in our political system. They offer an electable alternative to the mainstream Conservative and Liberal Parties.

I have American friends who complain about the two-party system out there. Thankfully Canada has more options. I'm glad to see that and it adds to public discourse and democracy in a healthy way.

As for the whining part, the NDP, like the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois, offer another voice of dissent, which is extremely important. They represent different views. You may regard that as whining, but I value their opinions as dissent.

Take yourself for example: you offered a dissenting voice to your YLCQ establishment. I'm glad you did, but others didn't and saw YOU as a whiner.

2. In terms of having a Party that is everything to everyone, I some times wonder if that is too late. We are a Party that has received endorsements from Buzz Hargrove and who now embraces Bob Rae but have also absorbed Belinda (unfortunately - sorry...) Stronach and Scott Brison.

If Bob Rae wins (hypothetically speaking), what will happen to the Stronachs and the Brisons of the Party? Well, it's too late for them to rejoin the Tories, but it will likely leave them feeling disaffected and ignored. That's how shit starts flying - disgruntled Party members (a la Antonio - just kidding, I totally support what you stood up for ;).

It seems as though the Liberal Party is evolving and keeping up with paradigm shifts to the right, especially with the advent of Paul Martin.

Now, where does the power lie? Left-of-Centre or Right-of-Centre. I guess the results of the leadership contest will tell. Regardless, I think there will be some pretty upset Liberals who either a) think that we have strayed from our roots; or b) not practical enough.

3. I think it is unfair to say that Tories don't believe in a just society. I'm sure there are many Conservatives who are deeply committed to universal health care or access to childcare - they just have different perceptions of it or different ways of attaining it, whether you agree with it or not.

For example, many Tories believe (and I, as a Liberal do as well) that every Canadian resident should have equal access to health care. I personally don't care if that is through a two-tier system or a public system. Whatever works best and as studies show from European health care models, a two-tier system might be the way to go.

4. I don't think that its too crazy an idea that the Liberal Party would split and have the Left-of-Centres join with the NDP. I think in the end, a Right-of-Centre leadership candidate will win and down the road (who knows when), the Left-of-Centres could feel left out and join the Dippers.

A professor from Manitoba (I think) is already suggesting the idea, but I think it's still a ways away.

My thoughts. My ramble.

3/15/2006 3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Couldn't the NDP be a force soon in Quebec? Look at how the Canadian Alliance did in the 2006 federal election in Quebec....very well.

And yeah, you do care alot about winnin rather than principles, got to pad that resume and get a cushy liberal job, eh Antonio?

3/15/2006 3:26 AM  
Blogger bza a dit...

I'll only join the Liberals if Ainge is leader! We need a PM from BC who will last more than 3 months!

I have my price. :p

3/15/2006 5:21 AM  
Blogger Christopher Young a dit...

As the "Official Quebec Dipper Reader of this Blog"(tm), I can't do anything but disagree with you on this one, Antonio. Is winning in Quebec way much easier with the Liberals than with the NDP ? Yes. Is winning important ? Yes. But does winning should be placed above all principles ? Nope.

When I decided to join the NDP, it was really because I believed in their ideas and principles, and I wanted to help to build the party in my region, Rimouski. Huge "défi", but I strongly prefer having to work to reach outsiders, to convince Quebeckers that we are a credible option, to fight the conservative rise in Quebec regions that having to work inside my party to convince members that SSM is a good idea, or that the "Bouclier anti-missiles" is a wrong one, but to be with the kingmakers, as you said.

And it works, I think : while you saw your share of the popular vote shrinks to historical lows in the province (John Turner, anyone ?), we multiplied our 2000 results by nearly 4, and we sincerely believes it will keep rising.

You chosed to fight for what you call your "progressive principles" inside the Liberal Party, and I respect that. But you have to understand that a lot of progressives don't really like to fight for a guy who cut universities fundings, who watched global warming gaz (I know it is not the right word, sorry) rise without nothing or who promised childcare for thirteen years without delivering results, amongst others.

Anyway, I'm the door open for you... just in case Belinda wins!

3/15/2006 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Hey anonymous (first post): Holy shit, you make a lot of sense. I am a Conservative, but the majority of your comments I agree with completely. I really do think that there are far more similarities than differences between the two parties. If you ran for the Liberal leadership, I might even consider "crossing the floor". Just kidding. Good post.

3/15/2006 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Bonjour,

Pour ceux qui, anonymement étant évidemment trop lâches pour dévoiler leur identité, croient qu'Antonio est libéral plutôt que néo-démocrate afin d'avoir "a cushy liberal job", se trompent carrément. Même si j'ai parfois des désaccords avec Antonio, jamais je ne remettrai en quesiton son allégeance au Parti libéral du Canada et son intégrité. Sa vision est libérale et ses valeurs le sont également. C'est tout simplement "cheap" de penser qu'il module ses valeurs en fonction des perspectives d'emploi. C'est encore une preuve qu'avant de dire n'importe quoi sur une personne, il faudrait peut-être la connaître. D'ailleurs, il n'y a pas une personne sur cette planète qui aurait pu écrire les faussetés qui se sont écrites sur Brigitte Legault si cette personne la connaissait vraiment. C'est une fille totalement dévouée au Parti libéral, qui le fait avec honneur et intégrité.

Deuxièmement, je suis en accord avec Antonio. Bob Rae, de ce que j'ai entendu sur lui, est désormais un libéral, comme Scott Brison ainsi que Belinda Stronach le sont également et comme David Emerson est un conservateur dorénavant... Ce n'est pas parce que des gens ont oeuvré dans d'autres partis antérireurement que leur allégeance doit être remise en question. Je ne crois pas que le passé néo-démocrate de Bob Rae devrait être un critère pour le disqualifier en tant que potentiel candidat à la direction du Parti libéral.

C'est malheureusement trop facile de salir et discréditer les gens. À partir d'un rien, de faits rapportés hors contexte, on peut alimenter des rumeurs. Un coup parti, on pourrait bien soupçonner David Aebisher, le nouveau gardien du Canadien, de vouloir se porter candidat pour le Parti libéral du Québec lors des prochaines provinciales, car il a déclaré à "La Presse" : "Je suis prêt"...

Bonne journée!
Luc

3/15/2006 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Manitoba Liberal a dit...

Coming from a province where the NDP actually win a lot of the time I don't have the expereince of seeing them as only an option of whiners, but I do agree that the Liberal party can do a lot to appeal to NDP voters through our policy and not just fear. I was never more embarssed to be a Liberal last election when Paul Martin wa making an ass of himself begging NDP'er and Green voters to vote for him not because of what he stood for, but because Harper was scary. If we want to be a progressive option for voters we need a progressive leader and progressive idea's.

I hope this leadership will help us find what we stand for.



However if Belinda or some other Tory in sheep's clothing takes over the party I think the NDP will be the one to benift as they move to the centre and pick off progressive Liberals. Which is just another reason why Belinda would be a diaster for our party.

3/15/2006 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

If you are all about the Liberals Antonio then you must support the Afghan War....War Mongers are a disgrace

3/15/2006 12:09 PM  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

I do support the Afghan Mission, just like I would support the removal of any regime who abuses human rights.

Another reason why I cannot ever be a part of a party who is too idealistic.

The NDP is only good at dissenting, that was my point. The Liberals can truly effect change in this country, if we choose the right leader. I was not a Martinite in 2003. I think that has become evidently clear by my lack of support for assymetrical deals like the Atlantic Accord, to my vehement opposition to strong-arm tactics in a leadership race.

3/15/2006 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Janet a dit...

If the Liberals elect a Right-of-Centre and the Dippers move to the Centre, I consider becoming a Dipper.

I only wished the Dippers had better ideas with regards to health care. But like Christo mentioned, I'm tired of watching our environment go to shit, seeing cuts left, right and centre to our university funding, or waiting for eons to get childcare.

It's really too bad that I'm half Tory half Dipper. I know it seems ironic, but that's how I found my home with the Liberal Party - a compromise.

If the Libs continue their shift to the Right, I don't know what I'll do.

The Tories appeal to me because I value the importance of the economy and making it work as best as you can DOES positively affect people; gives them independence. I know this full well because I'm an Economist with the Federal Finance Department.

On the otherhand, I do care about social issues like gay rights, more progressive women's programs, etc.

On some policy fronts the Tories appeal. On others the Dippers appeal.

Yikes!

3/15/2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Janet a dit...

P.S. I also support the Afghan mission AND the Iraq mission (only it was a total fucking disaster).

Like Antonio, any government that abuses human rights and its citizens, ought to be removed.

3/15/2006 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

We don't live in an ideal world. If we truely cherish our democracy and see how blessed we are to live in the best one in the world, shouldn't we want others around the world experience it?

The Afghan Mission was neccessary... it's too bad the international community didn't respond sooner to the monstrous atrocities commited by the Taleban. It took 9/11 for those who enjoy freedoms to get ehir ass in gear.

The Iraq Mission had merits, and by all means, Saddam Hussein should have been removed after all the countless deaths he's responsible for. However, the US went about it in the wrong way... they made up the story about WMD. Instead they should have been truthful... To remove a madman and his henchmen and give Iraqis some form of a more peaceful secure life. One can argue over the sucess of the mission today, but despite the clashes b/w the sunnis/shites, the vast majority of the public still wants peace. There is still hope.

Like I said, we don't live in an ideal world. Militaries are essential, for peace-keeping and disaster-relief. But as freedom-loving people, we who live in rich democratic nations have a responsibility to ensure that dictators don't commit acts of monstrocity over their people and neighboring peoples.

Imagine if the USA wouldn't have joined WW2... I think we'd be speaking German today.


Liberal Party Member

3/15/2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat a dit...

Next time, it's gonna be different!

The New Tories under Harper will not realize what hit them come the next federal election. They will be fighting a different Liberal Party, a much more formidable force than the one they narrowly defeated in January.

Why the difference? Because:

1. Energy - Leadership campaigns, if held openly and honestly, can invigorate parties. With the many good candidates the LPC now has considering a run, this will happen to the Liberals.

2. Harper's ethics - Hopefully, the new leader will not have a sorry history of participating in, downplaying, or turning a blind eye to abuses in the political system. There is a good chance the leader will be untainted by electoral scandal or ethical misjudgments, and so the major factor which defeated Martin's government will no longer apply. This time round, it is more likely going to be Harper's ethics being questioned by voters ...

3. One party - The party will be united. The factions that tore it apart over the past 10 years will have learned their lesson. Those who sat out the last election because they felt unwelcome, or were made unwelcome, can now reconsider and join in the fight to ensure the Canada they know and love as Liberals, is protected from the neocon onslaught.

4. Principles - There will have been a public debate about liberal principles and policies, and chances are the new Liberal leader will be leading a party which will coalesce around five or more significant principles, incorporating the best of liberalism in Canada.

5. Homecomings - Those Liberals and independents who voted for the NDP because is represented a relatively unsullied party, and who wished to admonish the Liberals for their breach of trust with citizens on ethical issues, will now have a chance to come home, to a cleansed party. The tent door is always open.

6. No free ride for neocons - The contrast between a Conservative Party running a tightly controlled election, focusing on corruption and a handful of baubles to toss to the citizenry, and a Conservative Party which is in power and must now openly debate the consequences of its platform in January and new platform in the next election, will be stark. The free ride will be over. We have seen the mainstream media have second thoughts already; this will only increase as the reality of the neocon agenda of the New Tories sinks in to people in the regions.

7. Canada's voice - The new Liberal leader will speak for Canada. This is the Liberal role in Canadian politics. He or she will represent all voters, in all regions, and will protect the power of the federal government to ensure that Canada is indeed more than simply the sum of its parts, as Harper thinks.

8. Framing and fighting - The new leader is more likely to run an organized, effective election than the shambolic, unfocused campaign we just suffered through. Harper's framing of issues and avoidance of clear and honest debate of major issues will not be allowed this time around: he will be nailed, and forced to defend policies with more than a terse "It's good because I say it is good, now let them eat cake!"

9. BlogPower – This time, bloggers, now busily organizing, are going to be spearheading truth squads, building memory banks of past statements, organizing public debate, helping the Liberal candidates in each constituency to launch their own websites, blogs and electronic fund raising methods. Canada will see just how powerful a force the blog universe is.

So cheer up folks; exciting times for Canada lie ahead.

3/15/2006 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

If you are in favour of the war, then strap a gun on your chest and go fight, don't be a chicken hawk now.

3/15/2006 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Janet a dit...

Anon 7:58: Just 'cause I support the mission in Afghanistan and Iraq, doesn't mean I need to go to war. I also support abortion - doesn't mean I'm going to have one; or gay rights - doesn't mean I'm going to turn gay or anything.

What kind of logic are you using?

3/15/2006 11:51 PM  
Blogger Muad'Dib a dit...

Excellent post!
s

3/16/2006 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

Because people's lives are at stake you tool. And it's a policy where you can get involved. The gay rights analogy was one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. You can't turn gay, but you can go to war.

3/16/2006 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Janet a dit...

Dear Anon 4:28pm (aka "Fuckhead").

Listen Asshole, I'm not going to Afghanistan or Iraq just because I support the mission out there.

Why should, just because I support the cause and "people's lives are at stake", I obliged to go.

YOU MAKE NO SENSE!

The example regarding gay marriage is an analogy to show you how rediculous your argument is:

I + My Support for a Cause = Participation?

I don't see how it's necessary.

3/16/2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous a dit...

look janice, you monkeywrench (aka toolSHED), the US has build a pipeline for oil through afganistan, has not stabilized the country in 4 FREAKIN YEARS.

Strap a gun on or shut the fuck up.

3/17/2006 12:13 AM  
Anonymous janet a dit...

Anon,

Wow, can you even read, asshole? No, because you would realize that my name is Janet and not Janice.

Now as much as I would love for you to play with fire over that oil pipeline, I know you would never even have the balls to protest your pot-smoking-tree-hugging-ganola-etc out there.

I'm blown away at your lack of intellect or reason. If you did, you would have given me a reason why I am in any way obliged to go to war because I support the mission.

Your lack of empathy for the Iraqi cause makes you the biggest Goddam pussy. Would you also care to flip the bird to our WWI and WWII veterans - the ones that fought so you wouldn't have to speak German, or so that you could leave in freedom, or that protected Jews from complete anhilation?

God you are pathetic. Useless sacks of shit like you are a disgrace to me and my country.

Having said that, I'm sure you would be singing a whole different tune if you were one of the Iraqis who had their family members shot in front of them and then charged with a bill for the bullets; or to have one of your children's nails ripped off; or even having to drive through town, only to count the torture chambers to pass by.

As far as I'm concerned, it is attitudes like yours that have let the Iraqis suffer.

3/17/2006 12:57 AM  
Anonymous janet a dit...

Anon,

Wow, can you even read, asshole? No, because you would realize that my name is Janet and not Janice.

Now as much as I would love for you to play with fire over that oil pipeline, I know you would never even have the balls to protest your pot-smoking-tree-hugging-ganola-etc out there.

I'm blown away at your lack of intellect or reason. If you did, you would have given me a reason why I am in any way obliged to go to war because I support the mission.

Your lack of empathy for the Iraqi cause makes you the biggest Goddam pussy. Would you also care to flip the bird to our WWI and WWII veterans - the ones that fought so you wouldn't have to speak German, or so that you could leave in freedom, or that protected Jews from complete anhilation?

God you are pathetic. Useless sacks of shit like you are a disgrace to me and my country.

Having said that, I'm sure you would be singing a whole different tune if you were one of the Iraqis who had their family members shot in front of them and then charged with a bill for the bullets; or to have one of your children's nails ripped off; or even having to drive through town, only to count the torture chambers to pass by.

As far as I'm concerned, it is attitudes like yours that have let the Iraqis suffer.

3/17/2006 12:58 AM  

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