Musings —01.23.2012 03:02 PM—
A nice person from Post City, Michelle, asked me to offer up my thoughts on the rebranding of the Liberal Party of Canada, and whether their pot thing helps them do that. Here’s what I told her, below. Your thoughts are welcome, as always.
The pot thing is a sideshow. It’s relevant, in a serious way, to perhaps no more than a few hundred people in the entire country. It’s not the kind of issue that captivates enough people to matter to the outcome in a general election, let along a by-election.
The things that matter to voters are the things that have always mattered to voters: economic and managerial competence. In era like the one we all live in, with all sorts of economic drama going on in Europe and the U.S., Canadians want to see a stable governance, and no surprises. That’s why Harper has so studiously played against type, and avoided the sorts of pitfalls (abortion, gay marriage) that so many in his backbench want to see gone.
The Liberal Party will become relevant again when it stops talking about itself, and it starts talking about the country. It’ll become relevant when it recaptures the two things that helped it dominate governance for so many decades: strong central government and managerial competence.
As long as it preoccupies itself with trivialities, it’ll continue to be relegated to the sidelines, where the other trivialities can be found.