Liberals should make their own wind

June 22nd, 2006
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If Tuesday’s entry dealt with “found art”, then today’s is a “found” topic as well, courtesy of two Conservative stalwarts and friends of Dr. J and Mr. K, Mark Kihn and Gordon Elliott. The subject is the apparent fatigue of Liberal Party activists as described in yesterday’s Toronto Star.

Typical is a quote from Gordon Ashworth, “a Liberal warhorse on both the Ontario and federal Liberal scene, (who) argues ‘you can’t have an election every other year and expect people to still get out there’.” This is apparently compounded by the fact that things are now “easy” for the Conservatives because the “wind is at their backs”.

Our previous observation that high profile candidates stayed out of the Liberal leadership race because they might have to actually work to regain power now seems compounded by a similar attitude amongst party activists. Despite the natural advantages of being the government Liberal fortunes declined in the last two elections. These efforts seem now to have overtaxed them.

Of course Conservatives had it easy. Many blue activists had this fairly sparse calendar over the last four years:

Canadian Alliance leadership, March 2002

Calgary SW by-election, May 2002

Canadian Alliance merger vote, December 2003

Conservative Party leadership race, March 2004

Federal election, June 2004

Preparations for Conservative Party Convention, March 2005

Federal election, January 2006.

This doesn’t include local Calgary SW constituency campaigns during the federal elections of 2004 and 2006. All of these involved the same people campaigning and fundraising for a vote – in less than a four year time period.

The Liberals rightfully need a breather after two campaigns (and one coronation) in four years. Now the Conservatives will also have shorter streets on which to drop literature, fewer phone calls to make, and easier marks to raise funds from. It just isn’t fair.

Perhaps one Conservative wag had it right. The Liberal Party spent so much time “giving” to its members, it’s now hard for the members to turn around and give to the party. For how long was the wind at Liberal backs generated by burning taxpayers’ dollars? Time for them to make their own wind.

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