All right. The Liberal party has a pillow stuffed down its collective throat for some reason, and refuses to lay out its policies for the next election. I think this is a mistake, because no matter how pertinent these policies may be, the electorate needs time for ideas, especially big ones or different ones, to perculate down to the core of voter mentality.
So I’m going to do Justin Trudeau a favour. I’m going to release what he should be saying ahead of time, so the voters can think about it and be ready for when it comes.
Plank #1 Attack the Conservatives.
I know Mr. Trudeau wants to take the high road and stay out of personal attacks, so I’m going to leave out the part about Stephen Harper being a pocket Mussolini. (Comparing him to Hitler would be much too flattering.) I’m talking about attacking the most legitimate political area there is: legislation. If you look at all the legislation that has been passed recently, you will see that none of it has done anything to improve the condition of most Canadians. In fact, a large percentage of it has not even been meant to apply to Canadians. Bills have been strictly designed to play to the governing party’s political base. The huge amount of legislation that has been rammed through Parliament with no realistic chance of passing judicial review, for example. These acts, culminating in the useless Combating Terrorism Act and the recent Balanced Budget act, are complete bags of hot air, to be punctured by the government themselves at the next moment of need. But they play beautifully to election-minded supporters. And fill the coffers of the party. So don’t hold back, Liberals; TELL EVERYONE! Spend your money on election ads which attack the Conservative legislation record.
Plank #2 Evidence-Based Social Policies.
Take for example the legalization of marijuana, or safe needle exchange programs. You have two choices: the old Victorian “blame the user and punish him” philosophy, which has mostly created the problem, or a more logical, non-political policy of doing what is proven to work to mitigate harm: first to the individual, second to the whole of society. And that does not include providing an atmosphere where organized crime has a reason to flourish.
The solution is to look at where organized crime is making all that money and take those areas over as government services. The production and regulation of marijuana is right at the top of the list. Who knows. Maybe money laundering would be the next priority? Oh, that’s right. The banks already have that one covered.
Plank #3 What Everyone Wants Done
Take action specifically in areas like the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. Blame all the problems on 12 years of Conservative inaction.
Same with Aboriginal treaties, minimum wage, and all the social areas that need work.
The Conservatives have made a great deal of political hay about Doing Something in the areas their supporters think need action, no matter how misguided. A political party that actually Does Something in the areas that will help the Canadian population and economy to flourish could garner a lot of votes.
Plank #4A Do Something About Isis.
The Liberals have been forced into an unpopular policy by the necessity of opposing the Conservatives, whatever they do or say. But popular public opinion wants something done about the horrors that extremists have been perpetrating in the Middle East and around the world. The easy way out (watch Mr. Harper) is to follow the Americans and bomb the hell out of them. I know this doesn’t sound like proper Canadian policy, but sooner or later the Liberals are going to have to decide who they are going to steal their winning votes from in the next election: the Conservatives or the NDP. My guess is that if they try to edge the NDP out, they will end up with another Conservative government. If they can slant their policies towards soft conservative voters, the worst they will end up with is a minority government or a coalition with the Left. So on the subject of the international terrorist threat, I suggest a more military solution. The Liberals would certainly get a lot of votes from the centre right if they could create some policies that would solve the military procurement debacle. Nothing the Conservatives have done is more despicable than their vote-procuring on the strength of aggressive foreign policy pronouncements, while at the same time cutting monetary and moral support to the military to finance their tax cuts to their business allies.
Plank #4B Educate the World
A more difficult route, one which would require more actual thought and planning, is to follow Mr. Trudeau’s inclination and provide real humanitarian relief. However, since we know the record of what happens to free stuff sent to backwards countries, the humanitarian relievers need to be protected by Canadian soldiers.
The most potent weapon in Canada’s arsenal against the violence in the world is our education system. One begins to wonder whether “Free Education Zones” couldn’t be created throughout the developing world, staffed by Canadian teachers and administrators, protected by Canadian soldiers, but slanted towards the requirements of the local people. The local input is crucial, but the Canadian Federal support is also important. NGOs and religious organizations have been trying to set up schools in developing countries for decades, and only succeeding in any meaningful way when backed by some powerful organization like Rotary International.
Our whole “let charity take care of the poor” approach has failed in Canada; how can you expect it to work in areas of the world where there is no administrative stability to back up the efforts of the educators?
I know British Columbia teachers complain about the antagonistic attitude of their local government, but I somehow doubt if their situation compares to teaching in Nigeria.
If the Liberals really want to gain political ground with less aggressive solutions to the Radical Islam problem, they have to come up with something creative and effective. Something that no one has thought of before. That kind of creativity would take the wind out of Mr. Harper’s “the sky is falling on Canada” sails and create votes from all sides of the political spectrum.
The Bottom Line
It is the time for bold, creative, and inspirational policies. The Conservatives have taken the “same old, same old” approach to dizzying depths. If the Liberals try to campaign on a platform of doing the same only worse they are doomed. Only by creating a new vision that inspires Canadians can they regain their position as the dominant party of Canada.