To all who call themselves "progressives" yet vote Liberal, Please Read!
I would like to think that being “progressive” entails a whole series of critical renegotiations (one’s relation to capitalism, to democracy, even to politics itself) as well as certain political demands (electoral reform, justice, civil rights etc.). Yet, I’ll settle for this one. To all self-styled “progressives” who vote Liberal, please re-examine your assumption that the Liberals are in fact “progressive”. That may be the most singularly dangerous piece of unquestioned self-evidence circulating out there. Thanks to Jan from the Bruce for drawing my attention to this excellent piece exposing the federal Liberals led by Ignatieff as hollow and false champions of the “Left”.
On Friday, the Liberal Party of Canada threw down the gauntlet and submitted a vote of no confidence in the minority government led by Conservative PM Stephen Harper. Many progressives might think “why not?” Harper is, after all, a wolf in wolf’s clothing, managing to run a neoconservative, neoliberal government with voter support of his party in the mid-30 percent range, and all the rest of Canada to his left.
Unfortunately, Harper’s challenger, Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff, is just as much a wolf, but poses a much greater danger to the Left because he dresses as our shepherd…
Until Friday, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals had supported the Conservative government in 79 consecutive confidence votes since 2007. That wouldn’t be so concerning if the Liberals had been winning major concessions for progressives, but no such luck.
At a basic level, Ignatieff has acted in ideological accord with the Conservatives. Ignatieff is short on details of how he would have behaved any differently than Harper, even when agitating for an election. If he is a progressive at all, it is in hindsight only: whether in the States or in Parliament, Ignatieff goes along when policy is being made, denies problems as they occur and complains unconvincingly about the consequences.