When and how will the Canadian Liberal party get back into power?

Even though they’re the natural ruling party, having support all over Canada in pretty much all demographics that significantly vote, the Liberals have been weak for the last 5 years.

When and how will they get back to being serious contenders or even win the general election?

As soon as they stop thinking that they are the natural ruling party of Canada and start giving the voters a reason to vote for them again.

When people call them that, I’m never sure if they’re kidding or not.

Is there really a place for a low-ideology center-left bilingual Liberal Party in a Canada with the NDP, the Greens, and Quebec nationalists?

If you want a milder version of the Tories, maybe. But it looks like the NDP are the social democrats, the Greens are the progressive liberals, and when the Bloc Q. fell apart, the NDP and the Tories picked up the seats, not the Grits.

Maybe the “generic establishment Canadian” isn’t enough of a selling point. Or maybe the Grits have been so successful at defining Canada they have no clear velocity as a party now. If you have a bunch of guys who want, “pretty much what we have, with minor variations depending on the individual,” then they’re not all pushing as hard nor in the same direction.

That said, if you guys had proportional representation, you wouldn’t have so many of these wild swings at elections. You’d tend more toward slow changes in parliamentary makeup. Also minority and coalition governments.

If that happens might not the Liberals go the way of the British Liberals?

That’s the question, isn’t it? The NDP has a golden opportunity to put a nail into the coffin of the Liberal Party. Losing Jack Layton won’t help, but still . . .

Maybe the Liberals need to have happen what happened to the PCs. Splinter into three parties, and regroup with a new sense of focus and purpose.

First they have to find a purpose.

Putting a Canadian on the Moon?

Good lord I hate the whole self satisfied “Natural Governing Party” bit. Makes them sound like the Alberta PCs.

I think I was too dismissive of the Grits in my last post.

Some of us think that the NDP and the Liberals can come to a sort of power-sharing deal in the next election, where they try not to trip each other up, but instead coöperate to knock the Tories out of government. NDP could encourage its voters to vote for a Liberal in some districts, and the Liberals could back NDP candidates in other districts. That may be a useful temporary tactic to undo some of the Harper Government’s policies.

How did they come to be called that?

One of the groups that coalesced into the Liberal Party was called the “Clear Grits” Reformers, because somebody once described them as “Sand and no dirt, clear grit all the way through.”

They’ll get an upsurge next time there’s a (new) depression/recession/market crash while the Conservatives are in power.

When the only people who get a vote on leader, are those willing/able to pony up $500+, for the privilege, you don’t really have a future, in my opinion. That’s how you got a Harvard professor last time. Turns out people didn’t take to being lectured to, by a guy with a God complex. Who could have guessed?

So they don’t eat grits in Canada. Good to know.

There’s a reasonably good chance the Liberal Party is, federally, as dead as a doornail.

The “natural governing party” thing is a very recent invention, and in fact was invented by Liberals and made popular in the 90s. If you want back to, say, Pierre Trudeau’s first term and talked about the “Natural governing party,” people wouldn’t know what the hell you were talking about. The Liberals are not the natural governing party of Canada and never were; they won elections by winning elections, by convincing voters to vote for them because they had policies people liked. Once they actually started selling themselves on the “vote Liberal because we’re the Liberals” platform, they were doomed.

There isn’t any compelling reason why Canada needs a Liberal Party, or why the Liberals couldn’t be a third party. The NDP is a perfectly logical alternative to the Conservative Party.

That said, it’s quite unclear what will happen in 2015. The NDP is much stronger than the Liberal Party in terms of grassroots support and financing, and once they have an identifiable leader will assume a personality again and do okay. The Liberals have very little organization outside of major urban centers and no money, and so in 2015 would have to count on huge Tory and NDP screwups to luck into winning a lot of seats. But hey, that’s entirely possible.

But then again they could just wither away and leave the field to the Tories and NDP. There may soon be no need for the NDP to bother merging with the Liberals. They could just take all their voters.

So who is?

Nobody, obviously. Why does a democracy need a “natural governing party”? What on earth even makes that a meaningful or intelligent question?

The best hope of the Libs is that the Cons get so arrogant and out of touch by having a majority that they spectacularly implode. In short, that the cycle of Canadian politics continues as it has in the past.

[shrug] Sometimes it has an answer. The Dems were the natural-governing-party of the U.S. 1932-1980 – that is, they were the party that represented the prevailing consensus- or majority-view as to the social contract in general – and you could make a case they still are, just by dint of superior numbers of registered voters.

No they were the party with the most electoral success. Natural governing implies that voting otherwise is unnatural. Can you imagine telling a voter for the Republicans in 1954 that their vote was *unnatural *and should have gone to the Democrats based on some sort of national gestalt?