Thursday, December 29, 2005

Why I’m voting Liberal

Besides my already mentioned strategic NDP vote in 2000 I’ve always voted Liberal federally since I was old enough to vote. As a youth coming to voting age, I looked at all the major parties and found the Liberals to come the closest to sharing my political philosophies: sound fiscal management with a social conscious.

I don’t always agree with them. One point of remaining pain is when, as finance minister, Paul Martin exempted student loans from the bankruptcy act, at the same time slashing the education component of the transfer payments to the provinces. I’ve never considered bankruptcy as an option personally for my student loans, but I fail to see why a shady businessperson should have the option and not a starving student.

Still, despite disagreement on issues like student loans, lack of support for the military (important to me as a former Air Force brat) and disgust with the so-called Liberal MPs that voted against same-sex marriage, we’re mainly on the same page policy-wise. I might be a Red Tory were it not for Brian Mulroney’s legacy, and the NDP is just a little too holier than thou for my tastes.

I’m going to get into the Liberal civil war and Martin’s poor handling of Gomery, the last campaign and his time in office in a later post, but in this post I wanted to talk about how why, despite everything, I’m still voting Liberal.

I share the feeling of many inside and outside of the party that some time out of office would be good for the Liberals. The house needs to be cleaned, some rather substantial egos need to be deflated, and, sadly, leadership needs to be changed. I voted for Paul Martin as leader, but this is not the Paul Martin I voted for. That’s another post though.

The alternative is a Conservative government, most likely a minority. The question becomes, can Canada handle even 18 months of Conservative rule? Maybe with a Peter McKay or Bernard Lord as PM, but not Stephen Harper. Try as he might, he just can’t escape his Reform past.

Stephen seems to have learned his lesson from the last campaign, and taken a page from George W. Bush, hugging the centre while campaigning. Remember Dubaya’s compassionate conservatism? Once in office, it was replaced with deficit-financed tax cuts for the rich, along with cuts in services for those in need. Harper is now trying to out-Liberal the Liberals in this campaign, but I have no doubt once in office we would see his true colours.

Having been a volunteer on the periphery of the Liberal Party for a few years and having met some of the players I can tell you two things about this party: it’s cutthroat, and only winning is acceptable. Even if Paul Martin wins another minority, he’s through. This will be his last election. The party members will demand a new leader who can deliver a majority and he’ll have no choice but to resign, giving us the housecleaning we need without letting Harper into office.

I think there’s a lot of good in the Liberal Party. Most members are honest people committed to a vision of Canada that I share. I’m also mad as hell at those few that have acted inappropriately, and I want them dealt with. The RCMP is investigating, and I’m confident that those responsible will see justice. But the actions of a few bad apples don’t tar the entire bushel, and sponsorship isn’t the only ballot-box question. It’s fine to be mad, and I’m mad too, but I don’t believe in cutting off my nose to spite my face.


Given all these considerations, I’m still be voting Liberal January 23rd. And in favour of leadership review at the next convention.

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15 comments:

Red Tory said...

I concur with just about everything you said. I'll take the Liberals (warts and all) over the CPC any day. The parallel between the way Bush campaigned in 2000 and what Harper is doing now is very apt.

Anonymous said...

Yours is a recipe for one party rule. That is worse than 18 mons of Conservative minority government (warts and all).

Anonymous said...

...and because I'm in a cult and I've been brainwashed.

Paulineee said...

I could have (and probably actually have) written exactly what you did. The only point I disagree with is what Harper might be able to do once in office, compared to Bush - assuming Harper has a minority. I think both parties need a change of leadership, the Liberals desperately need a hosing down and the Conservatives need to drift back to the center. Whether a Liberal or Conservative minority will better accomplish these goals, who the hell knows...

Anonymous said...

Harper is safe to vote for. He cannot get a majority because he won't get any seats in the 416 area code and no more than half of 905. With a minority Harper would never be able to pass anything right wing. Remember the majority of MPs will still be left leaning (Liberal, NDP, Bloc). Thus after 18 months we will have a Liberal Party renewal plus 18 months of completely ineffective conservative rule. Of course, followed by a new Liberal majority.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Anonymous said...
Yours is a recipe for one party rule. That is worse than 18 mons of Conservative minority government (warts and all).


I too dislike one party rule, but give me an alternative. As I said, were someone with more legitimate centrist credentials at the helm of the CPC I could handle 18 months of Conservative government. But I couldn't handle PM Stephen Harper.

Anonymous said...
With a minority Harper would never be able to pass anything right wing.


There was a time I felt a Conservative minority would be the best thing that could happen for the Liberals. Harper would have to get into bed with the BQ, Canadians would be disgusted, and a Liberal majority would follow. Now I'm not so sure.

Harper is no idiot, and neither is Gilles Duceppe. Both know it's not in the interest of either party to be seen as too closely allied. I think they would keep their cooperation on the down-low, and they have enough in common to do some serious damage. I'm thinking in particular of a radical decentralization of Canadian federalism. Not something I'd like to see.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying... just saying that it would he "healthy" to vote in another party for four years. Pick one - anyone. Give the Liberals a year or four off.

Miles Lunn said...

Couldn't agree more. Even though I come from the other side of the spectrum since I use to be a Tory, I will also being voting Liberal this time around. Harper has tried to appear moderate, but I don't buy it that he has moderated. And even if he has, how are we to be sure he won't flip-flop again.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you guys are so right. I mean, Canada is so much more like a European nation, and just like the French, it's much better to vote for the crooks . . .

short temper said...

What a bunch of chirping sparrows. So much energy but so little action.

Please tell us all what specifically you are frightened about with respect to Stephen Harper. I'm almost positive these ideas are figments of your over active imaginations. Have you seen anything he has said this election that could be considered frightening. Do you really think he could persuade the largest democratic political organisation in Canada to do things that they the members would not want. He would be out on his ear so fast.
You seem to agree that a change is necessary but have this fear based on mythical events which will never happen.

Anonymous said...

You know what I am really sick of -supposed Liberal bloggers who make the case against voting Liberal as in Calgary Grit, and worse, those like you who apologize before they say they will vote Liberal. You know why Kerry and the Dems lost last year, aside from the privatized rightwing owned election machine co. (http://www.whoscounting.net/)??? Because they let themselves get swiftboated, that's why. They laid down and cried 'Oh please don't hurt me'. This liberal corruption crap and the Mr.Dithering of Paul Martin is the same thing. Grow a spine, get some starch and stand up for the Liberal party or quit calling yourself a liberal. There is ample evidence for calling the conservatives the party of corruption so how about some offensive here, quit playing defense. Besides, you want corruption and misuse of taxpayers money, try living south of the border for awhile with a deficit in the trillions and Georgie finding new ways every second to steal from the middle class and the poor. It will make the liberal 'million dollar' scandal look exactly the way it is in the real world, nickels and dimes. Do Canadians know the difference between a million and a trillion because it is the difference between a mistake and a crime - that's corruption.
-WV

Anonymous said...

Wow, WV, that is sooo Liberal of you. It's nice to see you attack the Conservatives on corruption (from what? 15 years ago?) and then slide off topic and attack the US! 'Cause we are electing a government to stick it to Bush, after all. And what's a few Million stolen? That's not a crime, Bushitler is a crime! ("Cough"bfiscation, ahem).

With supporters like you, saying what you do, is it any wonder anyone with a conscience is ashamed to be called a Liberal? Nope. And one more import you should already know about: Broken Glass Republicans. Yup, that's what's gonna do you in. People who will crawl across broken glass to vote Liberal thieves out. So, how confident are you that Lib voters will even bother this time around?

A BCer in Toronto said...

You know what I am really sick of ...those like you who apologize before they say they will vote Liberal.

I'll have to go back and reread my post, I missed the part where I apologized. You know what I'm sick of? Blind partisan hacks of all stripes that think the feces of their respective leaders are not at all odorific.

Maybe its the journalist in me, but I am not and will never be a party hack. A blind faith is a dangerous one. It's called talking truth to power, and the PMO would be better off with a little more of it.

Anonymous said...

See. This comment makes my point for me. This tactic is used all the time by slime bags like Limbaugh and O'Reilly. Like its bad to be a liberal; something I should be ashamed of. What a crock. I am proud to have liberal values. Liberal, liberal, liberal.
Oxford dictionary - general broadening of mind, giving freely, generous, candid, unprejudiced, favourable to democratic reform, individual liberty. Sounds good to me. And I love Paul Martin!!! I think he is a fantastic leader and a wonderful human being. Hahahahaha!
-WV

Anonymous said...

Dear WV, you can call yourself a Liberal and quote definitions 'til cows live in your bedroom, but that doesn't mean that the def. describes you. If the Oxford dictionary were to define Federal Liberal in Canada, it would go something like this:

Tending towards thievery, espousing weathervane-like policies, mind closed to any alternative to the one likely to result in election victory, entitled to entitlements, and incapable of truthful self-criticism.