Sunday, June 5, 2011

Liberals and Greens

Hello. I am Teddy. I am the admin of Riding by Riding, and, a new contributor to this blog. I am a liberal. I've always been a liberal. The problem has been that I've not been a Liberal in some years.

Big L and small l. I've always backed Liberal policies, Liberal ideas, even the Liberal record, but I've had difficulty backing the Liberal party. For the past two elections I voted Green. Wheather it's Green, NDP, or Conservative, the fact remains that there are millions of small l liberal Canadians who have not voted for the party. In order to put the party back in government, the party needs to bring them back, and get them voting Liberal once more.

In this quest, the biggest threat is not the NDP, or the Conservatives. It is, to a degree, the Green Party. I can already hear some of you laughing, but hear me out. I want you to think of 10 different policy points, things that are not the environment, and compare where the Greens and the Liberals stand on these issues. Chances are that you will realize Green Party polices are similar to that of the Liberal Party. This, my friends, is the problem. It is a problem because the Greens are seen as "honest" while the Liberals are not. People who are willing to consider the Greens over the Liberals are also willing to vote NDP or Conservative. This is what happened in the past election and caused the Liberals to reach it's lowest low.

I want to take this opportunity to point you back to 1921. In that election, the Progressives pushed the Conservatives into 3rd place. I ask you what happened to those Progressives, but there is no easy answer. The high ranking members; the "party brass" ended up joining the CCF, and eventually, the NDP. The "strategists" and marketing whiz kids ended up joining the Conservatives and taking the party name with them. The Liberals, however, were the ones to gobble up many Progressive policies. Looking at what happened in the UK, this is a very good thing. In the UK when a progressive-like party, the Labour Party, rose up, it was the Liberals who vanished. This, brings me back to the Green Party.

Around the world, Green Parties and Green movements are springing up. Much like the 1920's and Socialism, the Greens represent more than just policies on a single issue. The Greens represent an entire world-view. A way of looking at the world. The one thing that we find is that the Green world-view and the Liberal world-view are actually very similar. I share the Green world-view. I share the Liberal world-view. I am, in fact, happy to announce that I have contacted the Liberal Party and asked for a membership application to be mailed to me. I want to help rebuild the party that I always seem to come home to.

If the party plans to retake it's position at the head of the pack, I can not be alone in thinking this way. The Green world-view is becoming more and more popular. At the same time parties like the NDP are convincing more and more people with this world-view to vote NDP. If we plan to return to power we need to do to the Greens what we did to the Progressives back in the 1920's. We need to assimilate them. We need to take the Green Party and Green Policies and somehow vacuum it up. This does not mean we need to "steal" their ideas, or "merge" with their party; it means that where we are similar - and we are very similar - we need to let people know. We need to sell those ideas that make us Liberals, we need to sell who we are. We need to sell not what we do, but WHY we do it, why do we support the things we support, why do we want to spend money on this and not that, why do we want Canada to play the role we think it deserves on the world stage.


  1. Although I agree with you that the Green party has taken many votes away from the Liberals. I don't understand how since the Green Party lost votes in the last election. The Green party went from 6.7% to 3.9%. The NDP looks more like a bigger threat to me as their policies I think are very similar to the Liberals I think more so then the Greens.

  2. I'd have to agree - after years of the Liberals having no identifiable core or message, I've bolted to the Greens myself. It's nice being able to believe in a centrist position that's actually coherent and positive, not focus-grouped to death.

  3. In 1921 the Liberals were nearly finished in the West, with the rise of the second-place Progressives. After 1925, Mackenzie King let the Progressives caucus with the Liberals, in addition to their own party caucus - it was what kept him in power despite coming second place behind the Tories in seat count. The concept of "Liberal-Progressive" came about in 1926, and this electoral alliance was also replicated at the Ontario level (view also the careers of Henry Nixon and Mitch Hepburn).

    The other minority "wing" of the Progressives MPs were part of the "ginger group" caucus, which favoured left-wing policies and an alliance with Labour (rather than the Liberals). The "Ginger group" was effectively the fore-runner of the CCF/NDP.

    Western Canada tilted Conservative in 1930, retiring most of the Liberal-Progressive caucus. The United Farmers of Alberta ran under their own banner in 1930, and perhaps under influence of Alberta socialist William Irvine, most joined the nascent CCF. The other early "Ginger" group giant from the Progressive era was Agnes McPhail.

    There's no real connection between the Progressives and the Conservative Party until Manitoba Progressive premier John Bracken became federal leader, resulting in the rebranding of the party as "Progressive Conservative" in 1942.

  4. @vanillaman Those voters were twice loaned; from the Liberals to the Greens, and from the Greens to the NDP.