Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Those who'll play with cats must expect to be scratched."

I'm getting very sick and tired of unelected, unaccountable people in the Liberal Party of Canada purporting to speak for me.  Just as tired as I am with the Party leadership refusing to discuss things with me. I'm not saying that every member of the Party isn't entitled to their own opinion and to express it - and I do think we shouldn't be shy of discussion, even difficult discussion - but I don't recall anyone (serious people!) being given a mandate by anyone, let alone the Party membership to go off and have serious discussions about anything. 

For those musing about dating, living together, shot-gun weddings and birthing babies I gotta say - you are missing the point.  It's the changing nature and role of political parties that we should be examining.  Shouldn't technically, parties have some semblance of being movements of political thought?  Shouldn't technically we govern ourselves in a manner indicative of  how we would govern the country? In an interview in the Hill Times about his new book, Power: Where is it?, Donald Savoie articulates my thoughts exactly.
"Part of the overall problem, as well, Prof. Savoie said, is that political parties "have lost their soul" and politics has been taken over by professional politicians. He said there was once a time when the core values of political parties never changed, but now, all parties are the products of their leaders and not based on public policy ideas and values for which Canadians can vote for.

"They've been captured by the election day, the need to organize around elections. They've been captured by cronies and lobbyists and in the process they've lost their soul," he said. "If you've lost your way, if you've lost your soul, you've lost what the party's all about, then personalism takes over. The Liberal Party of today is Michael Ignatieff's party, tomorrow it will be someone else's party. The Conservative party today is Stephen Harper's party. In a few years it will be someone else's party and the core values will not matter all that much."

Prof. Savoie noted that parties today have focused more on gaining power than about offering ideas, something that has been made easier by the MPs who come to Parliament with no experience in anything other than politics. "They're there to gain power without really spelling out what set of core values drives them to gain power. Power becomes an end in itself. The goal of the game is to secure political power so that your gang of lobbyists and your gang of cronies will do well," he said. "They don't bring a knowledge of other sectors to bear. They bring a knowledge of politics and they play politics. And it's not a process of ideas, it's a process of tactics.""
I hate to say it, but I think it so I may as well, but it is the embrace of this "process of tactics" by Leader Ignatieff and those who trained him that may now do him and if they have their way - ??  - our Party in. 
Concerned Party members should be writing and petitioning their elected (or acclaimed or appointed, because that's most likely what they've got) representatives from EDA Presidents on up to the top, requesting if not demanding an extraordinary meeting to have a big, long discussion about values, principles, ideas, programs, platforms and democracy and to consensually and democratically decide the path the Party should take in its quest to better serve the nation, not itself or its personalities.  We shouldn't be relegating our own responsibility to "party insiders".  We should be doing this work ourselves.
Otherwise, I'm not interested in joining the Kicking Ass Party.  If the smartest people in the room think that's the way to go, fine.  I'll go my own way.  The way of the increasing hoards of people who just don't vote, because if you don't know what you're voting for, how the heck can you know why you should.


  1. Well said! I hope someone is listening!

  2. You're just waking up to this now? As soon as grassroots parties become big enough to achieve Official Party status they take on these char's & cease to be grassroots parties, in order to retain that status. It's the way of our world. Go start a new Reform party, then... knowing it's doomed to fail as soon as it succeeds.