Liberalism Reinvented

Liberalism is capable of change over time, because situations change over time. Ideologically driven parties aren’t as capable of these changes because they refuse to consider ideas that don’t fit the program, even if they make sense.

The Liberal Party is a party where centrists of all types can feel comfortable expressing their opinions, whether they lean to the right or the left. Every idea can be valid and ideas aren’t shut down just because they don’t fit the ideology. Some people claim that this means we have no principles. It really means that we aren’t going to hold the belief that the world is flat then refuse to listen to someone that calls it round. Liberalism is about keeping an open mind.

Bringing the fiscal conservatism of the right (as it pertains to growing the economy and maintaining balanced budgets) together with the social conscience of the left is challenging, but is the balanced approach needed to achieve the best results. It also reflects the views of the majority of Canadians.

It appears there are more that share these views:

What would a truly liberal, Liberal party look like? by Michael Den Tandt

In defence of liberalism by Marlene Jennings and Thomas Touchie

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6 Comments

  1. A. Cynic

     /  April 11, 2012

    I only have one problem with this article:
    “…Bringing the fiscal conservatism of the right (as it pertains to growing the economy and maintaining balanced budgets)…” That is an outright fallacy.

    Reply
    • Yes it is as it has been put into practice by Conservative governments. But the perception often is that conservatives are good managers of the economy and that perception makes it true. As long as enough believe it, it might as well be. The truth is that Liberals have been the best managers of the economy, but shhhh… conservatives don’t want us to tell anyone.

      Reply
  2. The Liberal Party is as much the source of the neo-liberalism in Canada as any of the Conservatives have been. And this is exactly what led to the decline in the Party as a national voice. The LPC bought into the rightwing lies that low taxation and more corporatism would lead to prosperity and instead it leads only to greater inequity and a small minority holding the vast majority of the wealth. The real challenge of the Liberal Party is to find a way to reject the so-called fiscal conservatism of the ‘right’ and to tear the power away from the large corporations and the elite that run them. In the meantime, people aren’t voting for the LPC because it shares much of its fiscal ideology with the Conservative Party so why should they bother with the Liberals. This is a challenge which the Liberal Party is showing no sign of rising to, and the Conservatives go merrily on.

    Reply
  3. I’ve had these discussions before. What happens when all the large corporations are dismantled, the riches finances redistributed and there are no more rich people? We start off with 100’000, redistribute it and tax it again, redistribute tax and tax it again. Eventually nothing is left. It’s like a pyramid scheme that can’t be sustained. Take a high share of their wealth once, but it can only be done once. They will pull back and find a way to hide what money they have left so that government can’t do it again. The I.M.F. has determined that generally speaking, the highest taxed economies also have the largest underground economies.

    There are also ways that grow the economy that don’t necessarily mean lower taxes. I don’t always agree with the conservative approach, but working to grow the economy is good. Lower taxes are often favoured by conservatives, but that wasn’t what I meant. Lower taxes don’t always lead to greater prosperity, but they don’t always hurt prosperity either. Lower corporate tax rates have increased corporate tax revenues in the past (beyond the rate of growth in the economy) for a variety of reasons. Paul Martin couldn’t believe how much additional revenue he generated when he first cut the corporate tax rate. Corporations, just like people, are more willing to pay their taxes, and less likely to look for loopholes if they feel like they’re paying a fair rate.

    It is all a tricky balancing act. Tax any group at too high of a rate and they won’t let you tax them again. They’ll hide the money. None of this is always fair, but until everyone in the world is willing to voluntarily treat others like they would like to be treated, we have to work with the situation we’re in.

    Reply
  4. Of course it is “a tricky balancing act.” All public policy is a tricky balancing act. And I simply believe that both the CP and the LPC have tipped the balance far too far in favor of the rich and powerful. No one is suggesting “dismantling” all the corporations, that is simply a red herring. However, the evidence is very clear – the policies of the LPC and the CPC has led to greater and greater inequality of wealth with fewer and fewer controlling more and more of the wealth. It is a fact that Conservatives and Blue Liberals continue to attempt to deny and they ignore at their peril.

    And overall, it is very clear that over time lower corporate tax rates have done nothing to increase general prosperity and as such taxes have lowered and corporate rates of profits have skyrocketed, real wages have stagnated for three decades. It is just a fact. And it is fact that the LPC is paying for because they will continue to lose. So here is the stark reality facing Liberals if they are going to continue with their neo-liberal economic approach – join the Conservative Party, Join the NDP, or enjoy your historical dustbin. I suspect you are going to continue to relegate yourself to irrelevance while the Conservative Party continues the agenda that Paul Martin began.

    Enjoy yourself.

    Reply
    • The best way to obtain higher wages for employees is through a low unemployment rate. Unemployment does go down when there are more people creating jobs.We don’t want to discourage people from starting business in Canada because of too much tax or regulation, because we need low unemployment. Workers have more bargaining power when there are fewer of them looking for work. Don’t think that’s true? Look at provinces where booms have occurred and they had more jobs to fill then they had people to fill them. Wages, benefits, etc. went up to attract workers. Higher unemployment rate? Crappier wages. That’s a fact.

      Reply

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