Love me, I'm a Liberal

This weekend in Montreal, the Liberal Party of Canada is holding its biennial policy convention. I would love to have stood as a delegate, but having been away at the beginning of January (unexpectedly long) and planning to be away in the second half of March, I didn't want to add another long weekend.

There is a lot of excitement within the party about this convention. Justin Trudeau is now well-established as leader. An election is almost certainly only a year and a half away. It's time to start telling Canadians what we stand for.

These days, it's tough to be a Liberal, or even a liberal, in Canada. The LPC is currently the third party in the House of Commons. People like our leader but don't yet respect him. People think we don't stand for anything.

It's also tough to be a Liberal or a liberal in British Columbia. BCers tend to gravitate either left or right, and never the twain shall meet, or even talk to each other. There is a history to this lack of a centrist option. When Gordon Wilson revived the Liberal Party of British Columbia, it was an actual liberal party. Unfortunately, the Social Credit Party collapsed, SoCreds shifted to the Liberals, Gordon Campbell won the leadership, and the result was the current Liberal Party of BC, which is a centre-right party. I wish they would change their name.

Finally, it's tough to be a Liberal or a liberal in my social circles. I remember several years ago when I was a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Not long after I had joined, someone asked if I would be attending some New Democratic Party function. I was taken aback. I hadn't realized that being UU meant that it would be assumed that I was NDP! And among the queer, activist, East Van-ish people I mostly spend time with, even being NDP is a bit tame for some. I am surrounded by socialists and anarchists. Among my friends, there are accepted and acceptable ways of being feminist, anti-racist, sex-positive, anti-capitalist, trans-positive, and more. There is discussion within the paradigm, but the paradigm itself is never questioned, at least not that I have seen.

What's a non-dogmatic, questioning, free-enterprise-supporting, free-thinking feminist, bisexual, discussion-addict witch to do? There are times when I miss the excellent debates I used to engage in on CompuServe forums with people of all persuasions. Those forums have rules that enhance rather than stifle debate.

I shall continue in my sometimes quiet Liberality. I hope the convention goes well. I hope we win more and more hearts and minds. I think Canada could use a Liberal government again.

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