The Shotgun Blog
Friday, July 09, 2010
Lamenting the loss of the liberal Liberal Party
Lorne Gunter has a nice piece up in the National Post, grumbling about the Liberal Party going from Wilfrid Laurier-style classical liberalism to Trudeau-style anti-liberalism.
Here's an excerpt from his "From Pearson to Ignatieff, the party of elitism":
Trudeau completed the transformation of the Liberals, begun by Pearson, from a party that believed in equality of opportunity (classic liberalism) to one that sought equality of outcome (socialism). In short, the Liberals have become "elitist"--because they no longer trust ordinary people to make the right choices for themselves.
Gunter is not the first to comment on this. Brian Lee Crowley (of the new Macdonald-Laurier Institute), Jason Clemens (Pacific Research Institute), and Niels Veldhuis (Fraser Institute) have penned what I think is a spectacular new book entitled "The Canadian Century: Moving Out of America's Shadow ." Therein, they lay out the vision of Canada's best prime minister, the actually liberal Wilfrid Laurier, and argue that a return to the policies of Laurier would really make the 21st century the century of Canada (or, to use Laurier's phrase, "the [21st] century will be filled with Canada").
Interestingly, and possibly surprisingly if you think all that matters is a party label, they spend a great deal of time talking about "The Redemptive Decade," which was a multi-party unwritten agreement to balance budgets, downsize the government, and cut taxes, plus free trade at the federal level. This decade, the late 80s to early 90s, saw an NDP government in Saskatchewan, Conservative governments in Ontario and Alberta, and, perhaps most significantly, the federal Liberals under PM Jean Chretien and finance minister Paul Martin, usher a return to the "Laurier plan" (Brian Mulroney gets a tip of the hat for NAFTA and replacing the MST with the GST).
But you'll learn a lot more directly from the horse's mouth. So here's Jason Clemens giving a talk at the University of Windsor courtesy of the Institute for Liberal Studies which helps explain both Laurier's vision, and why the Redemptive Decade was so redemptive:
Canada simply cannot survive without the US, so all of these ideas are meaningless drivel designed to sell books. Moreover, there are no "founding values" since none ever articulated any. Confederation, as I understand it, was a series of compromises not inspirations. The same applies to the American Founding Fathers as well, so relax. This Ron Paulish veneration of a mythical past will get you people into serious trouble.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-07-09 6:12:01 AM
Enough of this "man crush" that so many people have for Laurier! Laurier was okay not God like. He did some things right economically. However, he also helped to ghettoize Canadian politics into its current situation where francophones vote for anything with a Liberal or Bloc label(because voting center-right is not what a francophone does). He used his office to push the cause of the francophones over english speakers. He used the execution of a certain Louis Riel( a traitor) to cement Liberal Party dominance. He started Quebecers on their power hungry trip where they think they can push the rest of Canada around. Heck, we even seem to have this convoluted idea that has taken hold in our group politics(Liberals and NDP) that every other prime minister should be from Quebec. Don't you see that Laurier set the stage for the costly bilingual society that exist in Canada today? How much do you think bilingualism cost us in government waste? Do you think that we get the best choice of prime ministerial candidate when we require them to be halfway fluent in both french and english? Maybe the best candidate is the one that can only do the one language? So many complain about the unique Catholic school funding situation. Laurier supported the public funding. He was the kinder face of the seperatist element of Quebec. He just realized that it had to be done slowly and carefully! Laurier and MacDonald were both mixed bags(some good, some bad). The sad fact is that just about every prime minister since has been a disappointment. Harper has come to the closest to being respectable in my opinion. However, the truth is that with the brainwashing that Laurier started in Quebec, we have never had a chance at getting a real pm who would transform this country for the better. That's why, you never got a Reform party or Social Credit federal government. Instead, we get political parties dominated by Quebec and the Toronto area. The Brits had inspirational leader like Thatcher and Churchill. The Americans had Washington, Lincoln, Coolidge, and Reagan. The Australians had Menzies and Howard. When does Canada get its first truly inspirational conservative leader?
Posted by: Bob | 2010-07-10 3:23:26 PM
When? It will occur when Mr. Harper leaves office. He's the best by far - a national savior no less for stopping Kyoto.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2010-07-10 3:47:52 PM
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