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Tim Powers

A coalition of conscience won't work Add to ...

Credit goes to Toronto Liberal Glenn Wheeler for taking Rob Silver's advice and beginning a grassroots discussion about a new possible Liberal-NDP coalition. I'm sure both a good number of Liberals and Dippers will not be happy with Mr. Wheeler today, but a little bit of open public agitation can turn an idea into a movement.

My problem with Wheeler's article is not so much the strategy but his rallying cry at the end: "People of conscience - NDP and Liberal - please stand up." That sentence demonstrates clearly the underlying arrogance that remains the Achilles heal of the Liberal Party and some elements of the NDP. To appropriate, or never forsake whatever the case maybe, conscience and in turn moral superiority as the sole property of one political entity demonstrates a significant political disconnect grounded in entitlement, formed by myth, ultimately reinforced by the assumption of manifest destiny that will derail any potential of future political success. Put simply, if the foundation of any Liberal-NDP coalition is "we are better people than them, we know best and we must get back into power," then the structure will be faulty.

Voters, it would seem, are less interested what they can do for a political party and more interested in what a party can do for them. That may seem obvious but it still astounds me that the Liberals in particular haven't figured this out. Much of Michael Ignatieff's troubles today come from the fact he represents the old, "father knows best" face of the Liberal Party. Come back to us, voters, because you should - it is your responsibility not ours. The days of political parties as national institutions may be gone. And any political entity - coalition or otherwise - with an assumptive, all-knowing, cocksure posture will not sell in this marketplace no matter the strength of their conscience.

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