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Archive for November, 2012

The Liberal Party of Canada, that venerable institution, is at a crossroads. It has to not only select a new leader, but also rebuild a shattered organization that leaves it with little institutional heft outside of the traditional Toronto stronghold.

I believe that the purpose of a party is more than a collection of policies. It is a way of thinking about the challenges that confront a country. No party can turn back time; our ever-forward trek presents us with new obstacles and challenges to overcome. The purpose of a party is to chart a course over, under or around these obstacles using the particular tools that it has in its ideological tool kit. It is in the overcoming of these obstacles that we can achieve greatness.

The purpose of the leader is to build a team that can deploy these tools with skill and guile, and to make convince Canadians that our strategy is one that will benefit them, their families, and their communities both now and into the future. I have faith in the ideological underpinnings of the Liberal Party of Canada. I think that an open, generous, responsible and intelligent party that bases its decisions on evidence rather than ideology is exactly what the country needs. I want a leader that can apply these principles to maximum effect.

I believe that leader is Martha Hall Findlay.

Martha is a politician with guts. She has the courage to take positions that are right even when they are unpopular, and the skill to engage Canadians in such a way as to convince them of the merits of those positions. Canadians admire principle and respect conviction, two traits which Martha has in spades. She has experience running large and unwieldy groups of people, and if large and unwieldy doesn’t describe the Liberal Party, I don’t know what does. She has the talent to combine the aspirational and the educational roles of a party in a way that will make Liberals a force to be reckoned with.

There is always the elephant in the room – why not support the frontrunner? Frankly, I do not want to see a coronation of Justin Trudeau. While I am of the opinion that Justin has the potential to be a competent and even inspiring leader of the Liberals, he has significant challenges to overcome. He needs to be tested in this race, and he needs to win the respect and trust of both Liberal stalwarts and Canadians in general. I am not supporting another candidate because of some vehement desire to block Trudeau – indeed, I respect him, and in the event that he wins, I’ll be behind him 100%. I, however, am supporting the candidate I think is best equipped to lead our party.

In 2008, during the election, I drove Martha around the Lower Mainland in Matilda, my beater of a Volvo. We had a couple of hours to chat as we drove from the Tri-Cities to Chilliwack and back to UBC. I had a chance to get to know her during that time, and my impression of a principled and gutsy politician has stuck with me to this day. She’s exactly the type of politician my party and my country needs.

In 2006, after Martha and Stephane Dion bounded out of her bus on the last day of voting, they needed someone to guard the bus.

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