At least, according to respected author Peter C. Newman, is just about what we saw happening over the last few years, and Michael Ignatieff was simply the unlucky soul to prove it's catalyst.
Now, I have great admiration for Newman, but I suspect I'll have more than a bone or two to pick whenever he releases this book of his, called When the Gods Changed; the Death of Liberal Canada. I think he stole the idea from me and a friend of mine, to be honest - at least the subtitle. Safe to say, the idea has been around for awhile.
Newman says pretty clearly that he thinks this is the utter end for the Liberal Party of Canada. He didn't say whether he thought it was the end for the organization, or whether it was the end of the party's designs on power; either way, I believe he's utterly wrong, though maybe not too far off the mark.
The fact is, Canada's Liberals are still a relatively dominate party. It's true, they're not so much at the federal level after May 2nd, but provincially they are in control of the three largest provinces, and have a recent history of control in seven of the ten, and if things go according to plan, they could even be competitive in Alberta. There are still oodles of provincial and municipal politicians and organizations that still back their old red horse, and even though there are organizations that clash and just outright disagree - the BC Liberals and Quebec Liberals come heavily to mind - they do share certain levels of friendliness and organization, depending upon the area (Vancouver and Montreal). We can use these resources if we're smart, and we can appeal to these people that they're not just propping up a dying horse anymore.
Canadians overall aren't any more or less "liberal" than they were before, but party preferences to tend to change. Part of the Liberal's problem was that they didn't do a hilarious amount of changing at the same time. But even so, one can say that our fall from grace in Canada was nothing compared to the destruction of the Progressive Conservatives; even at only 19% of the vote, we retain more seats and more pick-up opportunities than the PCs did all throughout the 1990's and early 2000's, with our bare-bones base coming out in Atlantic Canada, and keeping us afloat in the three major cities and Ontario's other urban centres, even giving us a moral victory in the fact that we won Toronto proper in terms of raw votes. These are things to be relatively cheerful about, and use to our advantage over the Cons and Dips in 2015.
And if 2011 was our 1993, then one does well to remember that the PCs were well on their way to a slow rebuilding before Charest jumped ship. In 1997 they won nearly as many votes as Reform and had ample opportunities for the next election, but failed to capitalize on them by putting up the affable Joe Clark as leader for 2000. Had Charest stayed on or had the PCs chosen someone else to lead them, how different do you think the situation would have been in 2000, when the idiots over in the Canadian Alliance couldn't tie their shoelaces together without a gaffe or two, but the PCs had a useful leader at the helm?
The PCs were doomed after 2000, but not 1993. It was the decisions they made after that disastrous showing that put the nails in their coffin. The Liberals have ample opportunity to avoid the same mistakes, granted we get our act together. And with those opportunities comes the possibility that we can avoid the bullet that will kill us off entirely; eventually, the Conservatives and the New Democrats will make mistakes, and Canadians are going to look for another party to lead. The Liberals can be that party if we give Canadians a reason to believe it. But we have to work for it, and we have to make the smart decisions. We have to modernize the Party, we have to get new blood in, we have to have the old blood help as well. It takes work, and it will take a hell of a long time, I'm betting - but it's possible.
The death of Liberal Canada? Hardly, I say - maybe this is the new beginning. But it's up to us to make sure we choose the ending, and not let Peter C. Newman's come true.