Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Words of the Wise

"Government by the people, free institutions, religious liberty and equality, unity and progress of Confederation," is what that stone scroll says, though it isn't a direct quote.

This is what's written on a smaller statue beneath the statue of George Brown on Parliament Hill, a Father of Confederation and one of the original supporters and founders of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was sort of the head of the party during Canada's first election, though he was never confirmed as such.

Why are these words important? Because they represent the basic, fundamental idea behind the creation of Canada, as well as the Liberal Party. Those ideas are some of the main tenets of liberalism around the world, but for us, it should have special meaning. We helped build this country based on those principles. We were here when the foundation was laid for it to happen. Liberals, and Conservatives, and people of other ideologies and backgrounds and allegiances were there at the beginning of the country, and helped push for a Royal Act that would grant a fledgling British colony the right to become an independent (more or less) Dominion, one that would govern based on the democratic will of the people, grant religious liberties to its two founding nations, and try to move forward as a united, strong nation, with a government that would listen, respond, and enact the wishes of Canadians.

It hasn't always ended up that way, of course - but I think here in Canada we try and aspire to the same liberal principles that George Brown fought for during the days of Confederation. Members and supporters of the Liberal Party, more than any other party, should aspire to be the party that is the embodiment of Brown's ideals. Who else can?

The Conservatives play the politics of division.

The New Democrats play the politics of populism.

Only the Liberals can play the politics of liberalism.

And that's the story the Liberal Party should be sticking with. We're no "natural governing party," but we sure know what the natural instincts of Canadians are, and we know how to govern accordingly. This country is a small-l liberal country - in 2015 and beyond, let's give them a reason to vote for the party that best embodies those ideals again. Let's give them back the ideals of George Brown. Let's give them back the Liberal Party of Canada. We won't win hearts and minds any other way.

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