Friday, July 21, 2006

Some things Liberals could and should be talking about

Here are a list of topics that Liberals in general and the Liberal candidates in particular could be talking about.

With each topic I have included some general questions that could facilitate a debate.

Vision for the Liberal Party: Where do you want to take the party? Why do you want to take it in that direction? Why should Liberals follow you in that direction?

Liberal Party Renewal: How do you propose to change membership rules? How do you propose to deal with the fundraising issue? How do you propose to change the administration of the Liberal Party to prevent people like the 10 Liberals in Quebec who brought us Adscam from ever having positions of trust within the party?

I think it is sad that a relative newcomer to the Party and someone who is not a leadership candidate stole a march on both the leadership candidates and a commission set up to renew the Liberal Party.

Vision for Canada: Where do you want to take Canada? Why do you want to take it in that direction? Why should Canadians follow you in that direction?

Vision for Canada can be summed up with one simple yet vital question: Why do you want to be PM?

Here are some policy topics that would be worth debating. (It is by no means exhaustive.)

Fiscal policy: What is your position on the balance between taxes, programme spending, debt reduction and budget surpluses?

Health Care: What is your position on the increased privatization of Canada's health care system? If you agree with it, why? If you disagree with it, why and how do you propose to stop it or at least slow it down?

Trade: With the functional failure of the NAFTA how do you propose to protect Canadian industries from the predations of other protectionist industries in the US? How do you propose to assist the Canadian agriculture industry if the Doha Round of the WTO talks fail, which is a distinct possibility? What steps would you take to assist Canadian industries in diversifying their export markets?

Foreign Policy: How do you propose to maintain a good working relationship with the United States? What is your vision for Canada's place in the post 9/11 world and how do you propose to get us there? How do you propose to protect Canada's interests and sovereignty in a international environment dominated by an aggressive hyperpower?

Defence Policy: Canada has increased defence spending but there is no overarching plan on what Canada's defence policy should be. Kind of makes wasting a fair chunk of that money inevitable. So what would you propose Canada's military role in the world should be? What would you propose as the post 9/11 defence strategy for Canada?

Environmental policy: Kyoto has failed in Canada. What would you propose to replace it? What would you consider to be Canada's greatest environmental need and how would you address it?

Social Programs: How would you protect them? Do you have any proposals for new social programs? If so, what are they and why do Canadians need them?

Aboriginal Policy: What do you propose to help First Canadians to escape the cycle of poverty that many of them live in?

These are just a few issues that the Liberal leadership candidates can be talking about.

I realize that it is unrealistic to expect them to talk about all of the issues in depth but it would be nice if they began talking about some of them in a sustained debate.

I also realize that talking about trivialities is a part of all political campaigns but I think it is unfortunate when campaigns are dominated by such trivialities instead of debate about substantial and substantive issues. I also believe that in the Liberal leadership race the dominance of debates about trivial issues will ultimately be self-defeating for the party.


Blogger Cherniak_WTF said...

I can see the Libs recycling some old policies -

I mean child care was actually a good one. And they can borrow a few good Con ones... I mean the good Con one (that Arctic sovereignty rocked).

Good post ottlib.

July 21, 2006 10:15 PM  
Blogger Miles Lunn said...

Good questions. I think these are the type we Liberals need to ask and also not be afraid to think outside the box. We won't just defeat Harper through fearmongering, we will defeat through bold new ideas and a strong vision for the future, which Harper clearly lacks.

July 21, 2006 11:49 PM  

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