Posted by: Brian de Alwis | July 13, 2010

With the passage of Bill C-9, I resign my membership with the Liberal Party of Canada

Bill C-9, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures, was passed yesterday and has received royal assent. That this terrible legislation, odious for so many reasons, was passed without modification in a minority parliament is entirely due to the shameful complicity of the Liberal caucus. I refuse to be part of an organization that would compromise itself to such an extent and am resigning my membership in the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) in protest.

I became a Liberal in the wake of Stéphane Dion’s surprising win of the leadership race in 2006. Dion’s record showed that he had principles. His instincts on the policies Canada needs to adopt were (and still are) forward thinking and just. Combined with traditional Liberal principles and pragmatism, it seemed like the right time to join. I’ve met many other Liberal members who joined at the same time for the same reasons. Unfortunately Dion failed to manage change within the party, and we’re now paying the consequences. My party has become petrified into inaction and is supporting the passage of terrible law with dire consequences to this country.

The Liberal caucus made thunderous speeches against C-9 in parliament, but as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and this bill was passed. That the Conservatives openly puts the interests of its own members ahead of the country is scandalous. That the loyal Opposition countenances such actions is disgraceful. The Liberals have abandoned principle and instead seek to avoid an election at all costs. A coalition with the NDP cannot be worse than this de facto coalition with the Tories!

Why resign, you might ask, how does that help? The LPC does not provide its membership any meaningful way to provide feedback. And I’m not in a party position where I can make a change. But money talks. I’m a member of the Victory Fund and have contributed hundreds of dollars to previous campaigns. My departure may be the only message that they actually take seriously.

The Liberals must realize that an election is inevitable, and that they will be judged by their actions and — perhaps more importantly — by their inaction. I’m reminded of the Mulroney riposte to Turner from 1984 (with suitable amendment):

You had an option, sir. You could have said, ‘I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada, and I am not going to ask Canadians to pay the price.’ You had an option, sir — to say ‘no’ — and you chose to say ‘yes’ to the old new attitudes and the old new stories of the Liberal Conservative Party. That sir, if I may say respectfully, that is not good enough for Canadians.

That the Liberals supported Bill C-9 is certainly not good enough for this Canadian. I expected better. I’ll be proud to rejoin when the LPC rediscovers its principles and chooses to act with honour.

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