The embers of Tuesday's election are still warm, and for some of us the sting remains.
He wears the burden of the result but should not shoulder it alone. There remain many questions but the aim should be to decipher the right answers that will carry the Liberal Party forward, and not into the depth of despair, bigger debt and denial that our opponents are hoping for.
I am certainly disappointed but not disillusioned -- except mainly in the attention and focus of some members of the media. That may be a subject for another post, however it should be noted that few members of the U.S. media ever faced the music or examined with integrity their own roles in the build-up and unleashing of the Bush Iraq War boondoggle. So let's not hold our breath.
Instead, while some prefer to prompt an argument over leadership, I'd rather aim the march to the critical re-birth that the party needs in these times. Just as Lester Pearson, who had suffered a humiliating defeat in 1958, including some almost tramatizing embarrassments, rolled up his sleeves along with the party braintrust and many of Canada's elite thinkers, I feel that is the direction we need to move.
We need to discover our brand again, unearth our purpose for governing and what we envision Canada's future to be. Is that through some large, public spending policies like national pharmacare or a guaranteed income, or updating Canadian democracy through abandoning first-past-the-post heritage that has for the most part served our party well over the past decade? Does it require a shift back to the centre, or a ambitious embrace of more centre-left ideals? Or other multiple options and proposals yet to be debated? Then there's our own machinery that is direly needing updating. The party does not serve it's grassroots well. Here in BC, a creaky, uncoordinated apparatus at the Vancouver office continually fails to respond to the riding executive's needs, whether it be providing quick and current funding reports or membership information, or responding to specific requirements, like producing and supplying information for members. I don't know how it's done in other provinces, but if it is as ineffective as BC's model, then that explains a lot.
Should Stephane Dion want to stay and fight both the backroom battleaxes and the dirty politicking of Harper and his henchmen, I will support him 100 per cent. If he chooses to step down, I will again support him. While I didn't vote for him at the 2006 convention, I have developed an immense appreciation for him, a man of rare integrity, warm intellect and awkward but certain passion.
It's incumbent on all members of the party to face one concrete fact -- the Liberal Party is not equipped currently to survive a long and entrenched battle against a wealthy and unethical foe, who has the ear and weight of the main stream media at its beck-and-call.
We need funds and we need ideas, however we seem to be chasing them in the wrong order. Let us create a platform, through debate and discussion just as Pearson and his team did during the famous 1960 Kingston conference, to lead the party into the challenges ahead. A template has already been created, by Tom Axworthy, that offers a launching pad for renewal.
Great leaders have been attracted to the Liberal Party because of that tradition, not the other way around.
Let's work together on making the party stronger.