Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Choice: Is the progressive wing of the Liberal Party readying to walk?

Janine Krieber appears to have signaled that a segment of the Liberal Party is readying to part ways with Michael Ignatieff and the party’s current leadership.

In her now widely reported Facebook message, Stephane Dion’s wife tells Liberals “the time has arrived to make a choice” between a party led by Ignatieff “that risks winding up in the dustbin of history” and “a dedicated party, one that doesn't challenge its leader with every dip in the polls.”

By now, it is no secret that the Liberal Party is more accurately two parties. In brief, one segment of the party is of a progressive-reformist bent, committed to thinking big thoughts on matters of the day and working towards the unfulfilled goals of previous generations. The other party – and the more influential of the two – is an establishment bloc based out of the cocktail parties of Toronto's social elite that is just as conservative in its tone and tempo as the Conservatives.

Perhaps tellingly, it was just about this time last year that the hopes of the “progressive” side were dashed as the “establishment” side reasserted itself. The hasty installation of Michael Ignatieff as leader confirmed that Stephen Harper would get his second chance. All the promise of the historic Liberal-NDP accord was over.

Since then, Ignatieff has overseen a collapse in Liberal support from 37 percent and a lead over the Conservatives to a miserable 24 percent in the most recent poll. Krieber’s diagnosis is that the illness which has stricken her party under Mr. Ignatieff is fatal.

The challenge to progressive Liberals looking at the future in front of them is whether they are prepared to stick with a party that has lost its heart and faces disaster in the next election under a leader plagued by his own contradictions, or as Ms. Krieber urges, are they ready to make another choice?

And is that other choice - “a dedicated party, one that doesn't challenge its leader with every dip in the polls” – a none too veiled allusion to Jack Layton’s New Democrats?


Dylan said...

Or the Greens?

Steve V said...

Ipsos Reid now? Remember that.

Ti-Guy said...

The only thing progressive Liberals should be walking away from is Progressive Bloggers which is constantly undermined by presence of toxic Dippers.

kirbycairo said...

It seems to me that it is not so much an issue of two wings of the Liberal party but total failure by the party under the leadership of Ignatieff to actually confront the remarkable incompetence and corruption of the Harper government. It is as though there is no Liberal party anymore because they are simply silent or ineffective on almost every issue of importance. I don't believe that this is a result of the fact that Mr. Ignatieff is politically very close to the Conservatives, which he is, but it is a result of Ignatieff's total inability as a leader. After all, there are many examples when the leader of an opposition is fairly close to the government on many issues but still manages to find wedge issues to exploit and bring down a government. If Ignatieff was able to do this it wouldn't matter to most what side of the party he was on, they would follow him anyway.

CK said...

I don't think Iggy is that close to Harper on policy.

Harper is from that same Evangelical Christian Far right as Georgie and Sawah:

Info about Harper's church and his buddy, the reverend pastor of said church.

If given a majority, Stevie would: cut all transfer payments to the provinces.
Less government services
Abortion would no longer be legal
Like the U.S. , many will be toting guns on the streets.
Tough on crime measures with private prisons will be the norm
We'll be in Afghanistan much longer than 2011.
The Canada Health Care Act will be scrapped and the American Health care system will be taking over in Canada.
It will be GW Bush's America.

I think Iggy would be more like the old Progressive Conservative.

A Harper majority is far more frightening than Iggy.

Either way, call it a hunch: it's moot. I think in about 6 or 7 months, Iggy will be gone and someone else will have taken over.