Canadians are consistenly recognized as the kindest most accepting people on the planet. We strive to have a good international image so we are treated with respect abroad and also be seen as warm friendly people living in one of the coldest climates on Earth. But the latest Liberal Leadership race has really illustrated just how extreme our openness is.
The Liberal Party has strived to become so inclusive that it's not looking for one of its own to lead them. Instead the Liberals are working hard this campaign for new Liberals. Some of these Liberals were NDP or Conservatives politicians a short time ago. Others aren't even federal politicans. (The last time the Liberals have chosen someone with no federal cabinet experience as their leader was the first Liberal Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier) And one has just moved back to Canada after a 30 year hiatus.
Canada is a country based on immigration and accepting people from every part of the globe but surely more than a commitment of a few months is needed to lead the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal brand was tarnished badly in Quebec where the Liberals dropped to the third party there and all there support retreated to Montreal. But outside Quebec the Liberals maintained most of their support and only suffered slight losses. That is why they elected over 100 MPs and are in a stronger position than the conservative party has ever been in opposition in the last 13 years.
If the Liberals are to recover they must embrace their strengths and not hide their failures. The liberal party had many strong ministers who fought hard for Canada and helped the Liberals win four straight governments. Programs such as the sponsorship program, the gun registry, and flip-flopping on scrapping the GST tarnished the Liberal party. But other key decisions such as not invading Iraq, supporting Kyoto, introducing the Clarity Act, altering how political parties are funded, the creation of a national childcare plan, and lastly balancing the budget are supporting by the majority of Canadians.
When the Progressive Conservative party collapsed they went through similar turmoil. Some wanted to radically transform the party and others wanted to highlight their sucesses. Nationalists like David Orchard attempted to seize the leadership of PC party but failed and Joe Clark even referred to Orchard as a tourist in the party. The PC Party before it merged with the alliance did rebuild their party by re-establishing themselves in Atlantic Canada and proudly advertising some of their strengths such as NAFTA. It is time for the Liberals to stop running for their record and embrace the positives.
The Liberals need to elect a leader that enthusiastically supports the charter. The next Liberal Leader must support human rights domestically and internationally. That means the next leader must support the past Liberal record. Canadians a Liberals want a leader who supported the government's decision to oppose the Iraq war, and also opposed an offensive missile defense shield. Canada must also recognize our southern neighbour has become increasingly hostile to regions that threathen its dominance and it appears its abadoning international institutions (UN) that it helped create and is even willing to violate international law. (torture) The next leader must not be a John Kerry who the Conservatives can exploit as being a flip-flopper. In this area the next Liberal Leader must be uncompromising and should not be intimiated by any country violates international law.
This campaign will be fought and won on domestic issues. All of the candidates are trying to persude Canadians why they are the best candidate to beat Stephen Harper and lead Canada. For this position I want a Canadian firmly committed to Canada. I want my next Prime Minister to maintain a strong federation by resisting provincial pressures to decentralize power and recognize Canada's uniqueness and not try to mould it after another country. A strong leader who wants Canada to be a strong country, can unite the Liberals, unite the provinces, and squash the separtists.