There is much on the Liberal agenda that Andrew Coyne doesn't like. But he admits that the proposals are ambitious -- even radical:
All right. It’s an ambitious platform. Strikingly so, in fact. One consequence of the long campaign is that ideas that are objectively radical come to seem commonplace, through sheer repetition. No, the Liberals would not take Canada on an abrupt “lurch to the left,” as one commentator claimed. But neither is this the formless, shapeless party of old. These are big, bold, often risky proposals, and if some are not especially well-considered, well, you can’t say we weren’t warned.
But there is much else that represents a real departure, including a complete revamp of child benefit policies, scrapping a passel of existing programs worth $18 billion annually in favour of a new Canada Child Benefit that would deliver more to those at the bottom and less to those at the top. Add to that legalizing pot, expanding the Canada Pension Plan, “putting a price on carbon,” implementing every one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and a “non-partisan, merit-based” process for Senate appointments — not to mention the political revolution that electoral reform alone would bring about — and you have quite the packed agenda.
The agenda indicates that the Liberals are serious about "Real Change:"
The point is that they are substantive, lending credibility to the “Real Change” slogan. If the Liberals have absorbed some ideas they once rejected — such as free trade, keeping corporate tax rates low, or providing benefits in cash rather than in kind — they have also proved willing to strike out in fresh new directions of their own. And it worked. If there is one single reason for their remarkable success in this election — from third to first, from 25 per cent in the polls to 40 per cent — it is their daring.
It makes what the Conservatives accomplished over the last ten years look lilliputian:
Contrast, on the other hand, the offerings of the Conservatives. I don’t just mean in the thin little document the party put out as its platform, almost self-parodying in its spray of micro-targeted tax credits in every direction. I mean over the last 10 years. What, in all seriousness, does the Harper government have to show for its time in office? I mean on the positive side. The Accountability Act, its first piece of legislation; the European and Trans-Pacific trade agreements, still unratified; its deft handling of the financial crisis, and its work over the last few years in unwinding the deficit it so rashly plunged the country into.
But, then, the Harperites were never about policy. They were about power.