David Frum has a fantastic column
today - in the NYT, no less - explaining Liberal corruption to an American audience largely unaware at what cost Trudeaupia was built. Most of it is background, but this is a point I don't think I've seen made lately:
Unlike their supposed analogues, the Democrats in the United States or Great Britain's Labor Party, Canada's Liberals are not a party built around certain policies and principles. They are instead what political scientists call a brokerage party, similar to the old Italian Christian Democrats or India's Congress Party: a political entity without fixed principles or policies that exploits the power of the central state to bribe or bully incompatible constituencies to join together to share the spoils of government.
As countries modernize, they tend to leave brokerage parties behind. Very belatedly, that moment of maturity may now be arriving in Canada. Americans may lose their illusions about my native country; Canadians will gain true multiparty democracy and accountability in government. It's an exchange that is long past due.
There could just be real political hay to be made out of this idea. The Liberals are the party of the past, the last tie to the old boys' club of chummy faux-democracy that should have been left behind with the 1931 Statute of Westminster,
being as they have been a coherent organization for most of Canada's history. Conservatives, on the other hand, aren't burdened in the same way, thanks to more recent fracture and re-establishment. Look forward, Mr. Harper, and relegate the old parti rouge
to the history books, where they belong...