Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Liberals Crown A New Leader, Dispense with Democracy

The problem with crowning a new leader is that it strengthens Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lie that the coalition is undemocratic. The thing is that for the Liberal leader, unlike the coalition, the Tories won't have to lie: it is undemocratic. I can see the attack ads now. "See, Liberals are so undemocratic and in such disarray that they tried to foist a coalition on you and now cannot even elect a leader. They're closet monarchists, one and all." The Tories have the money and the ambition to make those ads stick too. I love it when the Liberals hand Tories ammunition.

As a side note, I really have to wonder how strong our notion of democracy and rule of law is when it was so easy for President George Bush to dispense with many civil liberties and rights in the US and go over the law in the name of a crisis and today it's so easy for Liberals to justify pressuring qualified candidates to withdraw from a democratic leadership race so as to crown a new leader in the name of a crisis in democracy. Not even Sheila Copps would withdraw from the race with Paul Martin -- even though his win was more of a slam dunk than Michael Ignatieff's -- so important was the idea of democracy, of an actual election not a coronation, to her and to many Liberals. But that was then; this is now. I'd like to go back in time, if you don't mind.

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