The Liberal Party of Canada laid out its resurrection strategy in broad strokes this past weekend. But if you depended on the national news media to tell you what it was, you would be SOL.
Like cats chasing every new tinkly ball, the "professional" reporters pounced on one debate after another (oh look, the monarchy; no, 'supporters'; no, over here, pot). But the big picture escaped them. Them, not us.
The Liberals, in short, are planning to outflank the NDP, retake Quebec, and gain a foothold in the West through B.C.
They're admitting they have no chance to win the next election, but clawing their way back to Official Opposition will be a win. Everything is geared to that goal.
Michael Ignatieff, the former leader who led the team off the cliff, spelled out the master strategy, not that the MSM was paying attention.
"We have to speak for the Canada we love, a Canada in which we think we want to stand for green energy rather than dirty oil," he declared.
That's the sound of the West falling off the Liberal bus forever.
There goes Alberta, and Saskatchewan, which was a backwater until it developed its oil. And even southwestern Manitoba, a province rapidly becoming the Greece of Canada, which is desperately trying to tap into that portion of the Baaken oil reserve that sideswipes the province.
"The future of this party resides in Quebec. Canada's future resides in Quebec, also," said Ignatieff in French.
Take that NDP. If the future of the Liberals lies in Quebec, they have to take the province back or they're dead.
The Party revealed even more during the caucus accountability plenary (a fancy word for Q and A.)
Edmonton MP Grant Mitchell said the Liberals had their best showing in Alberta when they stepped out of the mushy middle and took strong positions. The environment is going to be the Liberal Party's banner issue from now on, he said.
The caucus under interim leader Bob Rae staked out a Hard Left heading for the next Parliament, a position obviously designed to carve away support from the NDP.
MP Scott Brison committed the Liberals to fighting for higher tax rates. "I'm with Warren Buffet," he said. The Liberals will demand a study of the tax system, he said, with the goal "a "fairer" tax system." You don't need the Liberal Left code book to know what that means.
The Liberals embraced their failed hug-a-thug policies of yore. "We are basing our policy on prevention, not imprisonment," said a caucus rep. The Conservatives believe in locking up criminals, but that results in "less protection for the victim", he said. (Honest, we're not making it up.) "We will change that agenda," he said.
Of special interest to Manitoba, the Liberals promised to adopt the Quebec model of youth justice -- known as the revolving door.
Foreign Aid? Immigration? The Liberals plan on reversing targetted aid. They intend to increase spending in Africa just like the old days. And Michael Ignatieff promised a Canada "that does not shut the door on strangers."
Agriculture? "We're absolutely committed to supply management." What province depends on supply management more than everyone else? Oh, yeah, Quebec. And for the rest of the country? "We fought hard to retain prison farms," said Liberal agriculture critic Wayne Easter . (You just can't make this stuff up.)
No matter how you look at it, the Liberal platform isn't designed to win voters away from the Conservatives. Everything points to a Hard Left orientation that's aimed at NDP voters in the last election. Even the "revolutionary" policies of opening the Liberal Party to "supporters" who need not become members is intended to bleed left-leaning activists into the Liberal camp and away from the NDP.
But they may have overreached themselves with their commitment to legalize marijuana. Seen even by the MSM as a lure for young voters who don't care about politics in general, and voters in British Columbia in particular, the adoption of a pro-pot policy may be too clever by half.
It permits the Conservatives to attack the Liberals for being as soft on drugs of all sort as they are on crime. And it opens them to the charge of a "secret agenda." You can bet the Liberal Party will not have their pot policy in their next election platform; the leader retained his right to filter out policy resolutions for election campaigns.
But it's there, in the closet, waiting to be launched if the Liberals get reelected, as the Conservatives will remind parents over and over again.
Given that the NDP agrees with virtually everything the Liberals has declared to be their policy, the battle lines are drawn.