Monday, October 26, 2009


It may not be as dramatic as a tectonic shift in the fundamental values which define us as Canadian; but there appears to be palpable evidence of movement in the basic tenets of the philosophical principles of the country.

Likely not since the election of the Progressive-Conservative Government of John Diefenbaker in the landslide victory of 1958 has there been such measurable evidence of a shift to the right in the values, principles, ideologies and assumptions, in short: The bedrock of the nation's foundation.

In the fall election of 2008 a year ago, popular support for the Liberal Party of Canada, the country's stalwart left-of-centre standard bearer since Confederation, fell to its worst ever showing: 26.3% - It may be just one poll; but the latest numbers released by Ipsos-Reid suggest that if an election were held this week, less than one-quarter of Canadians would support the Liberals.

Perhaps the malaise is not entirely within the party nor of its making; but the recent succession of dull leaders: Martin, Dion and Ignatieff share a measure of the blame for their uninspired clarion call to provided safe harbour for the listing ship of the national political left.

Though it is essentially a one man party; the coalition of the right under the banner of the Conservative Party of Canada has achieved the level of success with Stephen Harper that so far has eluded every Liberal Leader since Chretien stepped-down. Though that may not say much for Mr. Harper, like the man on a tight-rope, as long as he maintains a measure of balance between the more extreme elements of the Reform/Alliance wing (from which he spawned), and the centre right Progressive-Conservatives mentored to this day still by Brian Mulroney, the Prime Minister could remain successful for quite some time - Parliamentary minority or not.

The political left - The Liberals, the New Democrats, The Greens and (yes) the Bloc Quebecois - is scattered, divided and ineffective. It was not pretty to watch; Constitutional circumstances and dictates, politics and history, doomed it to fail. But last December's Parliamentary Coalition of three which sought to overthrow the Harper Tories may have been as close as it gets for quite some time. The charismatic, unifying and inclusive leadership the left seeks is not yet anywhere on the horizon.

In short, the Liberal "Barack Obama" remains unidentified.