Rebuilding the Big Red Machine - 2
While picking a new head will be important in fixing the Liberal Party, the body also needs some major work. The party is in debt, has a disillusioned base, and no real vision of where it wants to take the country.
So I'll pose the question: Does the Liberal Party needs a major shift in policy focus? I'm not talking about specific policies but rather a fundamental shift. To quote our former/current/quasi leader: "Fundamentally, a party's fundamental policy focus is very, very important" (well, it's not a direct quote, but it's something Paul could have said). In the 30s, the Liberals embraced the idea of "big government". During Diefenbaker's time in power, the Liberals decided to shift left and adopt social programs and the welfare state, vowing never again to let the Tories run to their left. In the buildup to 1993, the LPC decided that sound money management and deficit reduction would be an essential blueprint for the Big Red Machine.
With the Tories in power, Liberals need to now ask themselves if another major shift is necessary, or if a minor retooling and a new coat of paint will suffice. And, if a major shift is needed, in what direction should it be? Massive environmental policy? A renewed push for national programs (childcare, pharmacare, free tuition)? A move right? A return to being the defenders of a strong, central government, strongly against asymmetrical federalism?
From my perspective, I don't think we need to change the party's fundamental principles or focus, merely to sharpen them. I would like to see some bold policy and one or two "grand ideas", but I don't think the party's direction is in need of a major shake-up.
Still, it's a question worth asking over the next few months, since I'm sure there are those who'd like to see major changes.