It's disappointing to listen to the federal Liberals these days. With the exception of Joyce Murray and Martin Cauchon, they're all saying the same thing. Their chorus confirms that they have learned nothing over the last decade. They insist on being Harper-lite.
Michael Ignatieff tried that and it didn't work out well. Stephane Dion had a radical program. But he was a poor salesman -- particularly in English Canada. Their candidates this time around are more fluent in both languages. But their policies are thread bare. Paul Adams wrote earlier this week:
Forget the market crisis of 2008 that plunged the world into economic turmoil. Forget the inequality and insecurity that is gutting the middle classes. Forget the fact that climate change, building slowly but inexorably, is on a completely different time scale from that of the executive pay and bonuses which are the embodiment of short-term economic thinking.
Essentially, the Liberals have ignored the lessons of the Great Recession -- and they have turned a blind eye to climate change. Worse still, they refuse to acknowledge that the two crises are joined at the hip. Solutions to both crises will require an active and committed federal government, which goes beyond what Adams calls "rights liberalism" -- abortion rights, perhaps the right to smoke marijuana. Unfortunately,
What this economically-conservative/socially-liberal formula jettisons is the legacy of the Liberal party from William Lyon Mackenzie King through Paul Martin of providing security to ordinary Canadians using the power of the state: pensions, medicare and unemployment insurance.
That vision was last expressed in the Kelowna Accord, which the Harperites trashed. Those who wonder why Theresa Spence was camped out on Victoria Island should read their history -- their recent history. Unfortunately, most of the party's candidates haven't done that.
They are in a race to lead the lemmings.