The Liberals seem to be scraping the barrel trying to build their membership numbers. There's a sense of desperation to it. E-mails from the national, provincial and riding offices in a steady stream over the past few weeks inviting, beseeching the wayward son to return to the fold.
Missing from all of these pleas, every one, is any reason why someone who has grudgingly decided to leave should go back. For old times sake? Because they're other than Harper conservatives? Is that it?
Here's the key thing that's keeping me out of the Liberal tent. They're not fit to govern my country. I am not going to let Harper's quality of government set the bar for the Liberal Party. Slightly better than bloody awful isn't enough.
There are a great many serious challenges facing Canadians. Not so much my generation, but certainly the under-40s and the generations to follow them. The only path to meeting those challenges - and threats - is a progressive path. The priorities surely are inequality and climate change. Inequality of wealth, income and opportunity. Climate change adaption and remediation.
Inequality and climate change are inseparably linked. Inequality is by its very nature divisive and corrosive to society. It is the path to oligarchy and puts the interests of the powerful few above society itself.
Climate change is actually a basket of changes and threats that require adaptation and remediation strategies and solutions. The most essential tool to meet these challenges is a cohesive society that will pull together and sacrifice together. Inequality undermines social cohesion and sharply narrows our options. Hence, inequality and climate change are inseparable.
Canadian political leadership is failing on both these fronts. The Liberals, like the Tories, have become a solidly corporatist party. Even the NDP is in trail. Look back to Ignatieff's "thinkers' conference." What thinkers? The speakers' list was stacked to the gunwales with management consultants and CEOs each opining on the way ahead for their Canada. Their Canada, not yours and certainly not your grandkids'.
I was struck last week by a remark Noam Chomsky made while addressing Occupy Boston. He spoke of politics "dissolving" in his country, the distinctions between the Republicans and Democrats steadily narrowing. Chomsky might as well have been talking about Canada. The once clear divide between the PCs and the Liberals is pretty well dissolved even as the former PCs have transformed into Harper's far right Conservatives. Is it any wonder that so many are disengaging from politics all together instead of merely changing parties? A pox on all their houses.
It's not over for the Liberals. They have a chance to re-invent themselves as something that cleaves more closely to their historic path. But that means largely clearing out those who have steered the party so poorly over the past decade or two. The current iteration of the LPC can't even address the challenges of the day much less propose effective policies to deal with them. Nothing short of a reformation can again make the Liberal Party fit to govern Canada. Until then, I'll just say "no."