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Look at the big picture
October 7, 2012
VANCOUVER, BC, Oct. 7, 12/ Troy Media/ – It is perhaps the irony of ironies that to be leader of the Liberal Party of Canada today requires a strong conservative ethos -in the sense that much of what Liberalism created and celebrated is now under attack.
The gains of old must be consolidated, protected, and conserved against what appears to be a systematic program of deconstruction. Simple ‘destruction’ is too immediate a word for the means being deployed. What is rather at play is piecemeal wrecking: omnibus budget by omnibus budget, speech- by- speech, day by day. It is the proverbial death by a thousand cuts.
Let us examine the ‘big picture’ evidence, and embrace a truly progressive conservative platform for maintaining the Liberal legacy of the past 50 years.
Global big picture: once viewed internationally as middle way, middle power Pearsonian peace-keepers in the world, Canadians are now seen as UN critiquing, pro-Israel, and anti-Kyoto warriors in the cause of the presumed (and unproven) good of economic globalization.
The conservative platform: Explain that the world is still a complex place, and diplomacy should be conducted in the traditional language of diplomacy, not belligerent ‘new age’ economics. Stress that the atomic age requires less conflict, not more. Remember Churchill: ‘Jaw, jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war.’
Connect the dots between heedless, carbon-combustion economic growth and climate change. Explain that climate change is already costing US$1.2 trillion a year and reducing global GDP by 1.6 per cent (DARA and the Climate Vulnerable Forum). A prudent Canada needs to contribute to driving these costs down and increasing sustainable global GDP. The same sources also state climate change is contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people per year. Canadians need to be climate stabilization visionaries.
Economy big picture: Canada’s trade focus is on unrefined bitumen, natural gas, coal, raw log, mineral ores and potash exports. It seems as if we can’t hew wood and draw water fast enough. When our prime minister speaks abroad, it is mostly to hector the economic policy of others and to crow about the strength of our banks.
The conservative platform: The prudent roles of former Finance Minister Paul Martin and former Prime Minister Jean Chretien in systematic national deficit reduction and surplus generation need regular and fresh restatement. Economic stewardship and shrewd investment in the creation of intellectual capital and manufacturing capacity should be championed over rapid, profligate reduction of natural resource equity.
Rational use of the human brain is the best way to create sustainable jobs. We need to stress that advanced education and university research are the best investments to prepare young Canadians for the challenging, difficult and productive work of the 21st century. Discovering, producing and refining our intellectual capital must become the national priority.
Medicare big picture: The realm of healthcare reform has been largely re-defined as a provincial domain. The federal role in leading and setting Canadian health care policy has been reduced to pronouncing funding caps on annual dollar transfers to the provinces.
The conservative platform: The Liberal Party brought Medicare to the national stage, and will continue to work on its refinement by researching national healthcare delivery innovations. Service delivery, premised on conserving capital while increasing efficiency is our goal. A national pill dispensary program, care-by-parent wards, daycare surgery, and team-based diagnostic assessment and treatment centres are useful examples of progressive conservative thinking at work in healthcare. Canadians deserve uniform national standards of health care delivery.
Quebec big picture: La Belle Province once again has a Separatist Provincial government, and our bi-cultural heritage is being soft-pedaled federally to a degree unseen since the 1950s. Anglophilia was rampant.
The conservative platform: Let’s return to the enthusiastic embrace of multiculturalism, and celebrate the spirit of our cultural troubadours like Leonard Cohen and Guy Laliberte. Let us be the country of Cirque de Soleil and Celine Dion, known for our creative and athletic embrace of diversity. Let us return to a Canada where the mourners at our Prime Minister’s Montreal funeral included Jimmy Carter, the Aga Khan and Fidel Castro. Let us reclaim our fair place in the world of nations as the country that lives well the reality of diverse founding nations, and draws from each, ideas and vision to help create our future. Let us show the world that Canada works.
And yes, there will be a time for new Liberal policy to promote further our common good. Right now, however, is the time for standing up for past glories and preventing their dissolution on the grounds of heedless ideology and the chronic lack of an intelligent political expression of the long view.
Troy Media syndicated columnist Mike Robinson has lived half of his life in Alberta and half in B.C. In Calgary he worked for eight years in the oil patch, 14 in academia, and eight years as a cultural CEO. Now back In Vancouver, he is still a cultural CEO, but also has business interests in a resource company and mutual funds.
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