Can the once-mighty Liberal Party of Canada rise back from the ashes? The simple answer is yes.
But, it will take time, perhaps a few more years. At one time known as the “natural governing party” the Liberals will definitely rise again. The Liberals are determined to connect with Canadians again.
In the coming four years, the Conservatives will become more annoying to more people because of the direction it is leading Canada to and stand it is taking on so many issues important to people.
The New Democratic Party is also losing its luster. Canadians will abandon the New Democratic Party and many of the supporters will seek solace with the Liberals. And, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will sooner rather than later lose the support of Canadians.
Liberals from all across Canada met in Ottawa to plan resurgence after a major setback in the last federal election when the party went from the official opposition to the third party status since Confederation.
This was very hard lesson to digest for many Liberals and supporters. The Liberal party has been down before. It lost more than half its seats in 1958. The same situation was repeated during last May’s general election.
The Liberals have already started to rebound and take power. During its national convention in Ottawa, the party laid down the groundwork for rebuilding the party. This time the party is determined to seek input from the general membership rather than solely relying on selected and elite officials.
More than 3,000 delegates discussed and debated ways to reconnect with Canadians and rebuild the party. The party learned the hard way it cannot operate as a select club. This applies to the selection of top leaders as well as party candidates. This speaks well for the party. It is determined to get the membership involved.
There is no place for factionalism and fraternity. The Liberals plan to mount a sustainable fundraising operation since the direct taxpayer subsidy has been cut off. It will take a lot of time and hard work to do this. But, it can be done.
The Liberals need to focus on what issues concern the majority of Canadians. Among the issues are national unity, economy, health, environment and education. In recent years, the Liberals have gone from one leader to another. This has not worked as we saw with Paul Martin, Stephen Dion and Michael Ignatius.
It is extremely important for the Liberals to clearly state what the party stands for and why Canadians should again embrace the Liberal way of doing things. It will take Liberals time to pull the party back from the brink and begin the long and difficult process of rebuilding.
The interim leader Bob Rae, the former premier of Ontario, has been doing a terrific job. But, I am not sure if his efforts will be enough. The general membership has to pitch up in major decision making issues.
Rae is an excellent speaker and a very good debater. There are very few politicians who have the ability to stand up to Harper. Rae gained these skills when he served in Ontario.
The Liberals have already elected a 42-year0old wind industry executive as the national president. He beat out Sheila Copps, who was perceived as the front runner. Copps, a former cabinet minister and one time the deputy prime minister, was a member of the “old guard” and many Liberals were not happy with the excess baggage she was carrying.
She lost the top position by a mere 26 votes. Rae’s future attracted a lot of attention at the national convention. When he took the post of the interim leader, Rae made it clear he would not seek the party leadership position. Since then Rae is thought to be having a second thought.
However, it will depend on the new 33-member executive, with eight new members, to make leadership rules over the next few months. The leadership contest is slated for the spring of 2013. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s name has been suggested.
But, he has not given any hints on whether he is considering this possibility. On the other hand, his brother, a MP from the Ottawa area, is considering the run for the top party post. Another person interested in running for the leadership is Canadian astronaut, Marc Garneau, the MP from Montreal.
Premier McGuinty could be the front runner if his brother has a second thought. It is now clear that the Liberals are looking for new faces to begin the long, hard job of rebuilding.