Liberals getting a rise out of the partyBy Advertising Admin Published 2012-07-09 02:31:38 pm
If you listen to critics or Peter C. Neuman, the liberal death has already happened.
Neuman’s book, When the gods changed: the death of Liberal Canada, explains how there is no comeback this time for the federal Liberal party.
Ralph Goodale begs to differ.
“The rumors of the death of the liberal party are greatly exaggerated,” said the Saskatchewan MP and Deputy leader of the Liberal party.
“We received a real body blow and the party had really lost its equilibrium and balance, and really its self-esteem,” the former finance minister said. “The first few weeks after the election were painful.”
After last springs election saw the party reduced to 34 seats, only 12 years out from being elected to a third straight majority in 2000, Goodale says the party had to critically assess itself.
After crunching the numbers Goodale says the party realized there were a number of factors, such as the Orange Crush and the rush to stop it. But Goodale didn’t stop short of criticizing his own party, saying its not for a lack of passion, as recently they attracted over 3,000 members to a national convention.
Will Wilson is a 28-year-old who holds an undergraduate in law and minor in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa. He is currently studying journalism at Algonquin College and is a lifelong Grit.
Wilson surprisingly says he wasn’t shocked by the last election result, but insists Neuman’s facts are still wrong.
“The demise of the Liberal Party actually began in the 1960′s and early 1970′s.”
Wilson says this period coincides with the Liberals increasing concentration of support in major urban centres and French Canada.
“From 1867 to the 1950′s, it was not uncommon to see the Liberals top 50% in national support or hover near that mark,” Wilson said, noting Trudeau came close on a few occassions post 1950.
“They have not really come close to this level of support since Pearson was elected leader in 1958.”
Wilson says the conservatives have always found a hard time finding traction in Urban Canada, leading them to generally focus on rural and suburban Canada.
Likewise he says, the NDP’s traditional base was found in urban Canada and select rural ridings so they have campaigned very heavily in these areas.
“The Liberals have not taken Western Canada seriously for generations now, so there is no reason to expect Western Canadians to take the party seriously in return and support it,” Wilson said.
Wilson insists the liberal party “is not entitled to their votes,” and the push should be on to earn them.
“I have not seen any genuine effort to embrace Western Canada from the party, and it appears that Western Canadians agree with me.”
Wilson likens the most recent rise of the federal NDP to the rise of the Liberals under Mackenzie King in the past.
“They simply took advantage of context and their opponents’ temporary weaknesses.“
Wilson says a complete reboot is the only way the party can recover in the next election.
“The party needs new, younger leadership,” Wilson said. “New, young members and new ideas. The old party is broken.”
Wilson says the liberals are the natural leading party in Canada.
“I believe Canada is a moderate country at heart,” Wilson said. ”It does not swing far to the left, and it does not swing far to the right. It belongs in the center, and this is where the Liberals properly sit. “