By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Saturday January 14, 2012
Federal Liberals endorse marijuana legalization
Last May’s federal election marked the first in history in which the Liberals failed to become Canada’s government or its official opposition. The hodge-podge of dubious policy resolutions up for debate at next weekend’s national Liberal convention suggests that, eight months later, Liberals still aren’t sure how to rehabilitate a party that, some say, has no real reason to continue existing as an independent entity.
Rather than moving on to new challenges, the Liberals seem intent on refighting old wars. One resolution urges the party to support the Canadian Wheat Board and to reinstate the board’s monopoly over Prairie wheat and barley sales, when and if the Liberals return to power. But that is a genie that cannot be returned to its lamp. Whatever one thinks of the Tories’ recent decision to remove the board’s control over Western grain farming, once tens of thousands of farmers begin marketing their crops independently, it would require years of police action and scores of high-profile criminal trials to force anti-monopoly farmers back under the purview of the board.
Another policy motion asks the party to reaffirm its commitment to a national daycare program. That’s a notion that has been circulating at Liberal conventions since the 1970s. Not even the majority governments under Jean Chrétien in the economically robust 1990s and 2000s were able to pull it off. The provinces – which have jurisdiction over daycare – resisted the federal intrusion. Most parents were indifferent to the idea. And taxpayers balked at the price tag, which is conservatively estimated at more than $5-billion a year. What makes the current generation of Liberals believe Canadians and the provinces have changed their minds? (Source: National Post)