A centrist commenting on politics in Canada's middle province from the "Centre of the Universe"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Are Manitoba Liberals ashamed of being... Manitoba Liberals...

The other day I received a notification that I was being followed on Twitter by the  account. 

The account describes itself as "Placing Winnipeg in the path to be 1st Human right city in western Canada. Feb 2013 Visit thinkersconference.com for more info"

Curious, I decided to go check out the website. It looked like an interesting lineup of speakers and an interesting way to tackle policy discussion in the province. 

With Axworthy chairing the event and the description of the website and twitter account, it was obvious that the event had a small l liberal bent to it. Then as I looked further andsaw Jim Carr as speaker the first night with Dr Gerrard as introducing him, I wondered just how non-partisan this event was.  

As I continued browsing the website something looked familiar on the contact us page. The address that came up was 635 broadway avenue. Having worked at the Legislature and lived on Langside south of Broadway, that addressed looked very familiar. A bit of googling confirmed my suspicions that this was indeed the address of Liberal Party HQ. Then I saw this last little bit at the bottom of the website :

In a small font in light grey on a dark grey background, the evidence that this is indeed a Manitoba Liberal Party effort. "Approved by the CFO of the MLP"

This confused me greatly and raised way more questions than answers.

If they were able to organize such a conference, why would they not want to take credit for it? 

Why spend the scarce resources of the party on a public initiative but not do any branding on it? The party needs all the publicity it can get. 

Why is there no mention of the party on the main page of the website or any main part of the website? No party colours, not even the mention of the word liberal in the vision statement. The party is not even mentioned in the related links page! 

Now some of these questions aren't that important to the greater public. However, what concerns me the most is that the only real mention of the party on the website is under the donation's page where it is stated:

"Please make your cheque payable to: Manitoba Liberal Party (Thinkers’ conference), and mail it to the above address, or call us at 204-988-9385.

If you wish to donate online, please visit manitobaliberals.ca, and click on “Donate now”."

I wouldn't accuse the Liberals of deliberately misleading people into donating to the party or attending a party event, but again this raises more than a few questions. 

Is it just they figure they have a better chance of attracting people if they do not advertise it is them doing it? 

I believe they would do more damage to themselves if people unwittingly ended up participating in and donating to a party without their full knowledge. 

If so I think the Liberal Party should look itself in the mirror and seriously consider if it is relevant in the province as a political party. 

Considering how it is going around with this conference, I think there is a fairly obvious answer to that question.


  1. There is no MB Liberal party, it's just a store front operation for the Liberal Party of Canada, which is nothing more than a private personality cult which has worn out it's welcome with a great many people like myself who at center left liberals.

    Only if the LPC's relationship with the provincial party is completely and totally severed, will I ever consider a provincial Liberal membership.

  2. The federal Liberals held a "Thinkers Conference" a few years ago, ostensibly to develop policy. I think Dion was leader at the time. Nothing much ever came of it, and I'm a bit surprised the provincial Libs would try the same thing.

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  4. Thinker's conferences go back to Pearson's day. People who were not Liberals at the time were invited to speak and help develop policy. It was very successful and created the policy initiatives used for the next 20 years. It also brought in new people to help run and guide the party over that time.

    This conference is an attempt to spark the same sort of response.

    As mentioned, the federal liberals attempted lite versions of this with not too much success in recent years. Not to say this won't work but the focus nowadays on just the leader means that even a great policy platform gets lost in the simplification of political coverage.

  5. Ah thanks for the information on the history of these conferences. Where they all branded in such a non-partisan way? It just seems given the state of the Manitoba Liberals it seems weird to put so much anonymous effort when their biggest problem is anonymity...

  6. The Pearson conferences de-emphasized Liberal domination to bring in speakers from left and right who had no party affilation or who had assocations with other parties. It should be noted that such a wide net brought in a lot of people into the fold including a young Stephen Harper as a Young Liberal.