Anyhow, this isn't intended to be a factual statement, but off the top of your heads, can anyone recall a story about the NDP over the past week that wasn't all about Ruth Ellen Brosseau? This is the Official Opposition, with more than 100 Members of Parliament, mind.
Now contrast that with the time and space devoted to the inner mechanics, machinations, skullduggery and drama associated with the Liberal Party's attempts to select a new leader – as if a new face is all that's needed. This is a third party, just in case anyone's forgotten.
Canadian progressive types need to take a strategic approach and pick their battles. If you're genuinely committed to civil liberties, to an egalitarian society, to equal rights for women, for minorities, for our LGBT brothers and sisters, then you need to figure out where your time and energy are best used. Here's a small taste of what we're facing:
- Harper's got a huge window in which to stack the Supreme Court with ideological soulmates.
- Private-sector pension plans are on the decline.
- John Manley, a long-time Liberal who's now pulling in the big bucks as the chief mouthpiece for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, is firing the opening shots in a long-awaited assault on public health care.
- Funding will dry up for any NGOs not meeting the Conservatives' political litmus test.
- The muzzle's come off some of the backbench SoCon wackjobs, and word is there'll be a private member's bill targeting reproductive freedom before long.
No one sums it up quite like Montreal Simon, so I'll leave off the details for now. But back to that time and energy thing: do you really want to devote yours to the Liberal Party of Canada, especially in its current state? If the past is any indication, even the best-intentioned activism is going to be consumed, absorbed and at the end of the day, there won't be any payoff. With a hybrid beast that tries to be all things to all people – posing as the friend of the average Canadian while trying to keep Bay Street and the Ottawa Villagers happy – the best we can hope for is a slow, indirect process of compromise and incrementalism.
Fuck that. We're going to be under a sustained assault on multiple fronts. Everything progressives have worked for since the New Deal is in the crosshairs of people who want to roll us back to the Great Depression, or the Gilded Age of the robber barons, or the Industrial Revolution, or even the feudal system. If there's been anything about that in the corporate media, I must have blinked and missed it.
Maybe it's just me, but in light of that, perhaps those of you expending your time and energy worrying about whether the Liberal Party of Canada is following its own internal constitution might want to look at the bigger picture. As Shiny ObjectsTM go, it's pretty lame.
- Working against a permanent Conservative majority
- Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold
- Class warfare and the corporate media