The reversal of fortune of a party in the general election are always disappointing to which devotes its energies are advocating. On the other hand, who knows enter them and enjoy, these can become privileged opportunities for healing and renewal. The renewal is that liberal activists are doing is choosing a new leader and starting to discuss what will become our political agenda in the upcoming elections. Resourcing is to ask what it is that being liberal, what liberalism differs from other political currents, and what criteria determine the degree of liberalism of a proposal. I propose this text to all Canadians interested in this idea, its nature and its future.
Depending on the angle of approach, it will define this movement as political content, a way of looking at the world and a special sensitivity.
Political liberalism: representative democracy, constitutional Government, Charter of rights, etc.
Economic liberalism: defence entrepreneurship, free trade, economic development and free competition, in equilibrium with the regulatory role of the State.
Social liberalism: tolerance, inclusion, and equal opportunities.
A way of looking at the world
One of the “liberal” spirits, i.e. individuals “open” and loving freedom which, as Wilfrid Laurier said already in 1877, “think that everywhere, in human affairs, there are abuses to reform, to open new horizons, new forces to develop”. This ‘liberal’ way of looking at the world is not only present in politics, but in all spheres of human activity. The “liberal arts” (these teaching materials to which the word “arts” refers in the diploma of “BA”: learning the language, literature, history, and fine arts) have the mission of developing a ‘liberal’ spirit, so that the culture of the soul can do his work and humanism to flourish.
A particular political sensitivity
Developed over the particular history of the Quebec Liberals, with:
their struggle for responsible Government;
the embryo of interculturalism that is already theirs, in 1837, when they adopted the Tricolor green, white and red to symbolize their struggle for democracy and inclusion (green for the Ireland, white for the France and red for England).
friendship with what the United States of America of progressivism, contain a so deep friendship that it long led the reds of the nineteenth century to attach the lower Canada to the American Union rather to persist only in an independent lower Canada or to accept to integrate with the rest of the Canada.
friendship that binds them to the Patriots and Liberals in other provinces, an active friendship since the first battles of Papineau, and on the basis of which Wilfrid Laurier has built the federalist option which is still ours today, an option based on a vision of shared economic, social and cultural citizenship for giving a meaning that goes far beyond considerations of “profitability” or constitutional mechanics; Canadian
the fighting for the opening of Quebec to immigrants, since the struggle against anti-Semitism an Alexandre Taschereau, a Raoul Dandurand or a Jean-Charles Harvey to the reasonable accommodation of today, and with all labour representation and integration of minorities within our own party that is the legacy of opening our ancestors have left us.
the fight against fascism through support for conscription, support for which Adélard Godbout and Télesphore-Damien Bouchard paid a political price so high it would well be the height that Quebec Liberals do are part more, now that the history so given them reason.
the quiet in the broad sense Revolution, with means of modernization of the Quebec State, creation of a Ministry of Education and Culture, creation of Medicare, a Quebec Charter of rights and freedoms, etc.
the fight for the economic development of Quebec, since the industrialization efforts of our forest resources by Alexandre Taschereau in the 1920s, to the creation of Hydro-Québec by Adélard Godbout in 1944, the Caisse de dépôt of Jean Lesage, the development of James Bay by Robert Bourassa in the 1970s, until the Plan North of Jean Charest, more recently.
Three aspects by which define liberalism, one that concerns the way that have the Liberals of looking at the world is perhaps the most important. It is true that without the other two aspects, the latter may remain somewhat disembodied, or seem to apply as well to our members and to those of other parties. But that item remains despite all the main criterion by which distinguish between true liberalism and some programs that have the name liberal. I think in particular to neo-liberalism, which proposes free market as a single arbitrator or secular fundamentalism, claiming to defend tolerance by rejecting many of the accommodation by which it is expressed.
Open-mindedness, the taste to go ahead and reform remain the basis of our liberalism. The Foundation then supports a set of choices based on tolerance, inclusion, our commitment to federalism and concrete economic development as a prerequisite for the expression of our solidarity. It is by putting forward these particular traits that we can convince the Liberal minds of Quebec to us. Such at least is the wager that I propose.
I have kept a conversation held in memory, there is a few years, with a political opponent. It firmly camped on his sovereignist convictions, asked me with a touch of irony: “and you, the liberals around what ideas you unwind? I could answer: and you, sovereignists, around what idea you collect you if, by chance, you win a referendum? Are you right or left? For what values you will beat you? The current divide of the sovereignty movement around this political axis reflects its difficulty in answering this question fundamental, long relegated to the background by the debate about our national future.
Philippe Couillard – contestant of the liberal party of Quebec