Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Progressive Party?

Andrew Coyne is upset. The Liberals may have a new leader. But he worries that they are pretending to be a left wing party:

This is not a “new” or “reinvented” Liberal party; it is not even the centrist party of recent memory. From the evidence of the convention, it is an almost parodically left-wing party, and even if, as expected, the leader ignores most of the members’ handiwork in drafting the platform, what has been coming out of his own mouth is not hugely dissimilar: a difference more of degree than direction.

The fact is that it's just too soon to know what is really happening in Montreal. However, there is hope in what Coyne finds frustrating -- national strategies:

A small sample of the resolutions before the convention (almost all of those proposed to date have passed) would include: a National Transportation Strategy, a National Energy Strategy, a National Grid Strategy, a National Manufacturing Strategy, several National Strategies for Childhood Development, a National Framework for Mental Health, a National Action Plan on Disability, a National Water Policy, a National Pharmacare Program, a National Youth Jobs Strategy, a Science-based Innovation Strategy and a Transformative Canadian Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Coyne worries that they would all cost money -- which is true. But they signal an entirely different approach to the federation. They would require consultation with the provinces -- something Mr. Harper hasn't done in eight years, even if his ads on the Canada Job Grant give the impression that consultation is standard Harperian procedure.

The truth is that Coyne doesn't buy Trudeau's argument that the middle class is struggling:

It’s simply not true that the middle class is in such dire circumstances as Mr. Trudeau claims. Real wages are at record levels; family incomes have been rising for the better part of two decades; average net worth, for all the talk of household debt levels, is also at an all-time high.

One assumes that he does buy the fiction that the average income for a family of four -- two adults and two children -- is $120,000 a year. If the Liberals really want to help the middle class, they'll have to become a progressive party. So far, there has been scant evidence that's who they are.


Lorne said...

Although I think Andrew Coyne's outlook has grown considerably in the last few years, Owen, his conservative biases are pretty obvious in his opinion piece. Like you, I think it is too early to render a definitive evaluation of the 'new' Liberal Party under Trudeau's helmsmanship.

Owen Gray said...

I think it's better to withhold judgment at this point, Lorne. Time will tell what the Liberals have or have not done.

Dana said...

Coyne's just realized that all his criticism of the Harperites has been taken seriously. People thought he actually meant it. But really it was a just a way to get a few more eyes to his columns now and then, to maybe put off for a few moments the demise of the pointless rags he's published in.

Now he's just coming back to where he's always actually been most comfortable.

With his head up some Conservative ass or other. Even if it has to be his own.

Owen Gray said...

Coyne has rightly criticized the Harperites because they are anti- democratic, Dana.

Unfortunately, he has never seen through their threadbare economic agenda.

Dana said...

Being undemocratic isn't enough to keep them from being his preferred option though is it?

He's a hypocrite of fine standing and an intellectual fascist.

Owen Gray said...

He did go on record as voting for the Liberals last time, Dana.

It will be interesting to see what he does next time around.

Dana said...

You believe him?

I don't.

I think he was trying to make himself more accessible to the centre.

Owen Gray said...

Coyne has made no secret of his scorn for a government without principles, Dana.

What bothers me are the economic principles which he continues to espouse.

Anonymous said...

Good grief!! It is pretty hard to miss what Harper is? The Canadian Na*is donated to Harper's Alliance in 2002. Then Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989.

There are Journalists that ride the fence. Once the flavor of the day shows up? Journalists jump off the fence and side with that, flavor of the day.

Owen Gray said...

Lots of people -- including journalists -- haven't dug into Harper's political past, Anon.

I suspect that, if they had, he would have not been elected.

The Mound of Sound said...

We'll all know when the Liberal Party has returned to the progressive fold when they address the big issues of the day.

I wouldn't hold my breath.

Owen Gray said...

Their reputation is still "Conservative Lite," Mound. Until they put people ahead of corporations, there is no reason to believe the rhetoric.