After the last election, Peter C. Newman wrote an obituary for the Liberal Party. Some of us thought it was premature -- if only because a week is a long time in politics. The coming Liberal convention will allow us to have a peek inside what Stephen Clarkson once called "The Big Red Machine" to determine how much life is still in the party.
Robert Silver writes in The Globe and Mail that those who expect the old party to rise like Lazarus after the convention will be disappointed. It's not that there aren't important changes needed to the Liberal constitution. And the proposal to abandon the monarchy is bound to generate some heat. But, Silver writes,
We still need to develop a new, coherent policy proposal for Canadians that is very different from the one we have put forward in the past. We still need to decide what our new voter coalition looks like. We still need a new leader who’s economically literate, has a clear plan for the party and the country and can dedicate 15 years to the job. In other words, while small progress has been made since May, most of the really tough decisions and trade offs remain. None of that was ever going to happen at this biennial.
The one thing that Liberals have in their favour is time. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper can -- and will -- do a lot of damage during that time. But for the first time in a long time, the Liberals do not have to prepare for an election. If they are wise, they will use their convention to lay out an action plan which will accomplish what Silver says needs to be done. There is still a long ways to go.