A dyed-in-the-wool Liberal, Ralph Goodale has a good assessment of the future of the Liberal Party:
LIBERALS HOPEFUL ABOUT FUTURE
Looking back, politically, Liberals will likely remember 2011 as an “annus horribilis” (to quote the Queen), but our focus must be forward – on 2012 and beyond.
Right after the May 2nd election, the Party was naturally flummoxed. But with time and thought, perspective was regained.
We looked hard at the numbers. They weren’t flattering, but they did NOT constitute some great “Conservative conversion”. Barely 60% of eligible voters actually made it to the polls, and only 40% voted Conservative. So the government’s so-called “big mandate” represents just 24% of the total electorate.
Furthermore, the outcome was heavily influenced by two unusual factors that are unlikely to recur – the extraordinary surge for Jack Layton in Quebec, and the reaction to that surge (both for and against) in Ontario that produced many odd vote splits.
So the arithmetic doesn’t preclude a Liberal revival. But recovery won’t come from wishful thinking. We need to work harder and with more imagination than ever before.
That effort is underway. Memberships and fundraising are both up. A national convention in mid-January will continue structural renewal.
In Parliament, Liberal leader Bob Rae outshines all the rest. Our Caucus is smaller, but it’s experienced and cohesive, with a constructive attitude. The election was what it was. We’ve taken its lessons to heart. Now, we need to look ahead with goodwill, good humour and good ideas, to re-earn the public’s trust.
There’s both “room” and “need” for an attractive alternative to the harsh two-way polarization advocated by both Mr. Harper and the NDP.
This country is too complex, nuanced and decent to be content for long with the wedge politics of fear, greed, envy and anger – politics designed to drive people apart.
Canadians will look for leadership that can rise above such mediocrity, inspire confidence, and pull people together to reach higher goals.
Liberals need to be ready.