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Saturday, March 15, 2008

i'm not doing anything for the liberal party of canada.

James Bowie has challenged six bloggers (yours truly included) to declare what they are doing to help the Liberal Party of Canada. The challenge originated from a post by Jason Cherniak that caused a bit of a stir over the past week or so in the Canadian liberalish blogosphere (you can check out how Jim Curran, Quito Maggi, and A BCer in Toronto responded to Bowie's challenge).

As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, I'm not doing anything for the Liberal Party of Canada. Indeed, I haven't had much involvement with the Federal Liberals since I spent the 2004 federal election volunteering with Anne McLellan's successful re-election campaign in Edmonton-Centre.

How come, Dave?

I woke up and came to the realization that I have some pretty big beefs with how the Liberal Party of Canada had governed Canada (whether it be on the environment, post-secondary education, international affairs, trade, and of course, Adscam, among others). So, I let my membership lapse in 2006, and since then Stephane Dion's hand sitting maneuvers haven't done much to entice me to re-join his party (not that I'm impressed with Stephen Harper, either).

Since then, I've been content to spend my energies over the past couple years working with the Alberta Liberals and the Council of Alberta University Students on the provincial level, and on improving public transit in Edmonton.

In 2006, I lent Jack Layton my vote and voted for NDP candidate Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona, but in 2008 I'm not sure who I'd vote for. Even though none of the federal parties are really doing it for me, I'm happy to take the Joe Clark approach and support individual candidates on the federal scene by wishing Elizabeth May, Jim Wachowich, Irwin Cotler, Nathan Cullen, and Oliva Chow good luck in their election campaigns.


eh said...

Great post. I take the same approach to federal politics.

James Curran said...

Well written. Good on you. Many of us aren't happy with the current state of Ottawa.



Gayle said...

Me: vote for Linda Duncan, volunteer for Jim Wachowich.

Anonymous said...

Honesty from a Liberal instead of ranting about the evils of the Right.
Appreciate it. As a Conservative it is refreshing to see.
I believe both sides have quite a number of partisan fools. However, neither side is evil.
Adding you to my daily reads.

Anonymous said...


There's hope for you yet :)

Marianne said...

I think it smells of desperation when Liberals have to ask Bloggers to tow the Party Line, in a threatening fashion to boot.

The culture of entitlement oozes from the LPC, they should consider EARNING our respect and our votes.

Sad Ex-Liberal who Hates Harper

Ken Chapman said...

Dave - I have used the Joe Clark approach since 1976 and it soothes the soul. I had lunch with him earlier this week when he was in town and the chat reinforced my belief - left vs right is dogma and doggerel. Always vote for those individual candidates who believe in encouraging, enabling and enhancing life in all its forms.

I am voting Jim Wachowich and will likely volunteer for Linda Duncan and all the while try help the provincial PC party and its leadership get back to being progressive and conservationist - from the inside.

Anonymous said...

You like Cotler? yuck

His performance in legal matters should have seen him stripped of his degree.

janfromthebruce said...

The Joe Clark approach is similar to the thinking of Ed Broadbent, who stated that politically, politicians actually agree 75% of the time, and it's that 25% which is what they actually tangle over. Thinking about it in that way, there are many places where political opponents agree, and for the most part, the rest is grandstanding. That said, these days it seems there are some pretty big fissures between parties on the envronment, Afghanistan, Deep intergration, crime and punishment, social programs, and economic policy.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I had the chance to play chauffeur for Nathan Cullen the last time he came through Edmonton, and it was very enlightening. He's an amazing MP and would probably be great as his party's next leader.

Alex said...

I think a lot of people agree with the Joe Clark approach (I'm certainly one of them, though I haven't decided who I'll vote for or volunteer for next election).

However, under the Westminister system that we use, it's difficult to separate the person from the party. In fact, since the campaign finance reform introduced by Prime Minister Chretien came into effect, you can't vote for a candidate without also supporting the candidate's party financially.

Anyway, my point is this: with all the talk about democratic reform, maybe we should be talking less about systems like MMP that entrench the party structure, and more about a model like our municipal governments, where we directly elect a chief executive and individual representatives. Party politics wouldn't go away, but this system would help empower the individual representative, which is something my gut tells me that most people would like to see.

Anonymous said...

Who the hell is Jason Cherniak to challenge anyone on what they do?

The nerve of the guy.

Anonymous said...

Dave and Gayle... why would you volunteer for the Liberal in Edmonton-Centre and then vote for the NDP candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona?

Yes, they are both the best candidates in their respective ridings. Yet given how incredibly hard it is to elect anyone who's not CPC in Alberta, wouldn't your efforts be best spent where you can vote?

I know Linda Duncan is going to need a small army of volunteers if she's to get rid of Jaffer and win the seat. I'd encourage both of you to join her team and put your efforts where your vote is.

ch said...

What?! It's possible to support the provincial Liberals without automatically enrolling in or registering your vote for the federal Liberal party?

Wow, I can think of a few Alberta PCs who must be experiencing some extreme cognitive dissonance right now...

Anonymous said...

great post and good choice. partisanship is overrated.

Gayle said...

anon - because I believe both candidates can win. I personally know Jim Wachowich and believe he would be a great MP. He is in a winnable riding too. Every NDP'er in the city will be working for Linda, every liberal for Jim.

What I hope is that the stupidity that goes on in the two ridings between the two parties can be toned down this time around. We all know Wachowich is the only hope to defeat Hawn, and Duncan the only hope to defeat Jaffer. Can we stop pretending otherwise?