Liberal Party On Ice

It’s January in Ottawa and it’s freezing cold. Parliament is on break and the next major political event scheduled is the federal budget. The Ottawa Convention Centre is a warm place and there’s not much else to do.

For a party in third place in the House of Commons, Liberal organizers will tell you they are pleased by 3200 registered delegates who are attending their biennial convention in this temperate refuge from their harsh environs outside of these walls.

There is also a large contingent of media that have gathered to huddle with the Liberals. Perhaps there really is nothing else to do, or that the Liberal Party is on the verge of a national comeback, or they’re doing something really important like electing a new policy chair and party president. Or something.

So why is there so much interest in the national media for the down-and-out Grits? Why is the meager battle-royale of party presidential candidates Sheila Copps vs. Mike Crawley garnering more press than say the ongoing leadership race of the Official Opposition NDP? What’s the big fuss?

“The death of a party is always news and seeing a zombie rise would also be a big story,” Sally Housser, deputy director of the NDP, rationalized tongue-in-cheek.

Yet, I’d like to offer an alternative analogy.

The Liberal Party is the Toronto Maple Leafs of Canadian politics. You’ve always heard your parents talk about their glory days, even your grandparents will tell you about the mighty unstoppable Leafs. Yet the team hasn’t won in a while and fans suggest in response that it’s the “rebuilding” phase. They’re the Central Canadian Establishment’s hometown favourites, and yes, the CBC swears that this year there will be a parade down Yonge street.

Will Liberals get boarded when they leave the convention for having a weak game with little to show for their efforts? Or will the media allow this storied team skate because everyone likes a good comeback?



  • Liz J

    It’s pretty hard to put a positive spin on a political gong show but the media will try to do just that.
    When they’re finished that they can instruct us on how to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

    For me, the highlight was Sheila Copps divulging the state of her sex life and Justin T raffling off his facial hair.

  • Liz J

    Guess we could also add legalizing pot to the “highlights”. That plus allowing non-members to vote for the leader sounds like a winning strategy, especially for Bob Rae, he agrees with legalizing it.
    All he needs to do is pass the pot and get the votes………

  • Dr. Dawg

    Heh. I do like the Leafs analogy. Now, where is that beer you promised? :)

  • DougM

    It’s surprising that people think that conservatives or NDP would vote for a leader which they think would kill the Libs.   Democracy is a good thing – the crucible of debate is also good.  Were I to vote for a Liberal Leader, I would vote for the best they had, capable of (for once) not declaring war on the west to sweeten their pockets in Upper and Lower Canada.  Unfortunately, the Libs are a Rosedale gang now – not a national party – the likelihood of them getting there will either take a long time or not happen at all.