What is the true nature of the Liberal Party of Canada? Is it a genuinely progressive party of the centre-left, worthy of the support of those pushing for a more equal and inclusive society? Or is it essentially a party of the status quo which campaigns from the left but generally governs from the right? These questions have a rich historical dimension which remains relevant today.
The future of the neo liberal global economic order is seemingly in play. Brexit, President Trump's “America First” threat to both the NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the growing strength of the anti European Union right pose a threat to business as usual. However, there is room for doubt over the staying power of right-wing populism, which owes more to racism than to economic nationalism per se. And corporate interests are mobilizing to preserve the very real gains they secured for themselves under the the current global trade regime, including NAFTA.
The Liberal government shouldn’t bend to critics of its antiracism consultations, but it should also know racialized Canadians expect meaningful change.
The federal government is about to embark on nationwide antiracism consultations. The initiative is not without its naysayers. The announcement of the $23-million plan in the 2018 budget has been critiqued by prominentConservative MP Maxime Bernierandmedia pundits. Warnings to the government to“be careful”and to“keep a low profile”have cast a shadow over the process before it has even begun. If the Liberals intend to follow through on theirstatementof “standing up for diversity” and “building communities where everyone feels included,” backing down from the consultations and giving in to mainstream media and the right is not an option. Rather, their goal should be to ensure that the time of racialized Canadians and Indigenous people isn’t wasted by this process and that these consultations result in much-needed policy changes.