The Liberal Party's traditional strategy of campaigning from the left and governing from the right led the late Rene Levesque to conclude that the party was "the biggest whorehouse in the world." Now, Paul Adams writes, the party seems to be campaigning from the right:
Martha Hall Findlay calls for an end to supply management.
Marc Garneau wants to open up telecommunications to foreign investment.
And most important — because he appears to be an almost prohibitive front-runner — Justin Trudeau has tried to outflank the Harper Conservatives in welcoming offshore money to the oilpatch. His website has many repetitions of his “pro-growth” mantra, but almost no mention of climate change. He has even gone to Calgary to trash his father’s National Energy Program.
The Liberals have always had close ties to Bay Street. But Adams correctly notes that, until recently, they effectively bridged the gulf between right and left:
The Liberals built their 20th century dynasty by bridging the divide between left and right. The party’s left-leaning social policies took the party where the votes were, but its right wing was also key. No other party in the world was as successful at the straddle — and there were many others that tried.
Now their strategy seems to be to sell themselves as "new and improved" versions of Stephen Harper. In fact, that was Michael Ignatieff's sales pitch -- and it landed the party in third place. You'd think that performance would have caused some real soul searching among Liberals.That exercise has yet to take place.
And there is already one party that does the corporate dance better than they do.