After the last election, Peter C. Newman offered the opinion that Michael Ignatieff had presided over the death of the Liberal Party of Canada. But Michael Den Tandt writes from Prince Edward Island that the party is showing signs of life:
Eighteen months ago, at the party’s biennial convention in Ottawa, the party was adrift: Brave talk of policy innovation had produced little beyond a motion calling for legalization of marijuana. Media coverage revolved around the cat-and-mouse game then being played by interim leader Bob Rae, who was weighing a run at the permanent job. Other leadership aspirants – none of them [Justin]Trudeau – were circling each other and Rae, warily. The old Liberal sport of anonymous internecine back-stabbing was, if not at a full boil, then bubbling away on simmer.
Under Trudeau, the Liberals appear to be getting their act together:
This week, by contrast, in numerous conversations, four messages have emerged with an almost Harperian consistency: First, support the leader; second, talk up the plight of the middle class; third, be the most open and accountable party in Ottawa; fourth, do not be goaded by a nettlesome, impatient media into revealing platform policy before that cake is fully baked. If nothing else the approach is organized and coherent, in contrast with the chaos that ruled under previous leaders Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion.
Other than Trudeau's full throated rejection of the Quebec Charter of Values, not much has emerged on the policy front -- and it won't, says Justin, until the dynamic process of consulting Canadians is finished. What the Liberal take on the economy will be is anybody's guess. If it's conserative-lite the party may again face its demise.
But hanging, it is said, concentrates the mind. It would appear that their near death experience may have re-invigorated the Liberals. They're not dead yet.