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The Liberal NDP merger.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

Ask any young person about politics and they’ll say don’t care! Better than that they might say, “don’t care, don’t give a shit”! This is a sad commentary on politics today.

The reason why fewer that 55% of Canadians bothered to vote in the last federal election and why more and more Canadians are voicing displeasure with the politicians is because they (the voters) feel helpless and unengaged.

I joined the Liberal Party when I was 14 years old. In the past 35 years, I have enjoyed the experience of fighting no fewer than 15 provincial and federal elections combined, 7 leadership conventions, two leadership reviews and myriad policy conferences. Suffice to say, I am a child of MY Party. The sad fact today is that it means a hill of beans.

My political mentor John Turner, for whom I worked, laments that the democratization of parliament is an issue second only to the bolstering of policies and ingratiation of Party faithful. These people own the Party, NOT the bunch of appointed flacks who serve the Leader of the Party. The recent private discussions that have been undertaken by old flacks in some secluded spots in Ottawa are a symptom of a larger problem for the Liberal Party how to re-engage Liberals or attract new ones.

Instead of a re-evaluation of this option, these wiley old timers seek to merge the oldest political brand in Canada with a left wing rump. Let’s face it the NDP will never assume power in Canada’s federal parliament, nor were they ever expected to – they were, however, a Party who’s philosophies and policies embraced that of a true perpetual opposition. Not so with the Liberals. This is a Party that bore most of the social policy reforms that have made Canada a tour de force internationally.

A discussion of a merger at this juncture should be taken for what it really is a cynical attempt to wrest power through mathematics. The Liberal Party on its own has neither the leadership nor the voter appeal at this point to become government. Perhaps a deal with the NDP to gain power now might be a possibility but ask Bob Rae if this benefitted him in Ontario in 1985.

The simple fact is this – the appointed flacks in the Leaders office, the unelected Senate members who claim to be the conscience of the Party, the advisors and consultants who skulk around Ottawa are NOT the Liberal Party. It is the hundreds of thousands of Party faithful across this great land who believe in the philosophies of Wilfrid Laurier, MacKenzie King, Louis St. Laurent, Mike Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and others. It is also the Party of great thinkers like Vincent Massey, Norman Lambert, Gordon Fogo, Gordon Dryden, Boyd Upper, Walter Gordon, James Scott, Keith Davey, Al Graham, Norm Macleod, Martin Connell, Maurice Sauvé, Paul Desrocher, Iona Campagnolo and many other great Liberal thinkers across Canada who have perfected the Liberal brand.

There is no cross road here, the silly talks about a merger should be outed for what they are a frustration at the current prospects of a Party in disarray, with little attraction from voters. If the attempt is to increase a paltry 25% voter approval for a leader no one wants – then following that logic, what does a Conservative PM do at 32% – who does he merge with???

Let¹s get smart all you Liberals say something!

- Marc Kealey
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