Sunday, February 05, 2006

Out of defeat...substance.

A thought provoking story in today's Sunday Star by Tom Kent with excellent parallels to 2006.

"...By 1957 Liberals had been in power for 22 years. For 12 years Canadians had enjoyed improved prosperity as never before. The cabinet grew to feel complacently entitled to power..."

Out of the defeat of the Liberal party at the hands of Diefenbaker came direction and leadership from Pearson with the focus on substance, policy and vision. Pearson, steadfast in his resolve, navigated a broken party through 4 elections in 10 years and while he never enjoyed a majority, he led the country between 1963 and 1968 with what was arguably " of the best (governments) Canada has ever had."

Tempting as it may have been through 4 elections, the party did not develop "election strategies", but rather opted for substance, policy and direction in developing a "strategy for government."

In 1958 after 22 years of power the Liberals, defeated by the Conservatives were "...hollow at the centre, (and needed to be) restored by new people, most of them political amateurs with their way to find."

Remarkable really how the party can find lessons in its past.
See the full story :

    Mark said...

    Can anyone shed some light on how that really worked? My impression was that it was an extremely policy-heavy exercise, which led to some very well-thought plans for the future direction the Liberals would take in government, but that back then there was virtually no real participation of liberal members.

    This is one of the things we're truly going to have to grapple with. Our party today is a much larger and more participatory organization than anyone from Pearson's day could have imagined.

    A policy-driven exercise is certainly what's needed, I'm just fearful that it will become an ivory-tower driven exercise as well.

    Again - if you have suggestions I'd love to have 'em.

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