I was on CFAX on Friday and the second thing I was asked to discuss was Victoria, BC favorite David Merner's exploration of a Liberal leadership bid.
This is what I said.
I’ve been a supporter of Victoria Liberal leadership hopeful David Merner since he and I discussed his intention in the spring to spend the summer doing the barbecue circuit kicking the tires about his candidacy.
David and I are close friends, he, Bob Rae and a friend in Vancouver June Jeffries were my entrée into the Liberal Party.
David was responsible for getting me to put my name forward for nomination on Saturday October 13th to represent the Liberal Party in the upcoming by-election.
David and I have spent many hours together discussing a different Canada, his vision of a more inclusive, more wealthy, more environmentally smart country is rooted in a deep understanding of the balance between prosperity, fair government, and environmental responsibility, that they are all linked, and when you push one agenda too far ahead of the other, Canadians are not well served.
David’s a graduate of Oxford and Harvard, which I’m sure we won’t hold against him, God knows those universities didn't even consider my letters of application.
He's a westerner and David will be running a western campaign, and he speaks French as well as we speak English. One story is that when David lived in Ottawa he chose to play hockey in Hull with French Canadians so he could learn all the words they don’t teach you in French immersion. He also took his bar exam in French.
He’s a family man with 4 daughters and professional wife.
I’ve seen on his feet public speaking that he does with ease and with a certain confidence that’s very mature and seasoned.
He also has thought through a number of issues and takes views that may surprise you. For example, he's worked inside the justice system for 20 years, but he believes that it has to change in fundamental ways. He supports the legalization of marijuana, as I do, and he's very much against Stephen Harper's mandatory minimum sentences because he can tell you with experience that they just don't work.
His work is in dispute resolution which given the recent history of the Liberal Party must surely be a big advantage.
If you google ‘merner – liberal – leadership’ you’ll get pages and pages of articles about his campaign prep this summer including some pretty good youtube footage.
In the end I will support the leader the party chooses and I hope like most Liberals that there is a vigorous debate that brings out the best in all the candidates, but for me, as my Dad taught me, ‘you go with what brought ya’ and he’s a local boy to boot.
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Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.
The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.
When too few get too much everybody loses.
Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshaling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.
Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?
Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.
My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.
Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.
Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.
Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.
Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.
Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).
Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.
Political debate should not be fact free fighting.
Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.
Always favour empowerment over dependency.
The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.
Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.
It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.