Ignatieff announced in a speech today that the environment will be at the heart of the next election platform. He has also finally scheduled his thinkers' conference, for mid-January. These actions speak of a more balanced and reasonable Liberal party than we have seen the last few months.
The announcement that the environment will be at the heart of the next election platform is significant for two reasons. To begin with, it's good policy. The environment is, arguably, the most pressing issue of our time, on which many other issues are dependent. In addition, it is the area in which the Conservatives have proven to be the most inept. With the Copenhagen conference in December, it will also be a focal point of public attention.
Secondly, it shows that the party no longer has a phobia of being related, however remotely, to Stephane Dion. The environment was the central plank of Ignatieff's predecessor's platform, the Green Shift. With the announcement that this policy area will be central to the next platform, Ignatieff and the Liberals show that they are confident in themselves, something very important in politics, affecting the perception of a party by potential voters.
For its part, the thinkers' conference being scheduled for January shows that Ignatieff is finally paying real attention to policy. Policy, ideally, is what should win elections. With the schedule being set for January, augurs of a fall election are quickly disappearing. This is a sensible decision, as the election fear mongering has scared voters away from the Liberals.
And now that the Liberals are developing good policy, and as a result of election threats can really oppose, there is every reason that they will return, in more numbers than before.
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