Thousands of Liberals will gather online over the next three days for a virtual convention which the party hopes to create a stark contrast between themselves and the opposition Tories.
Congress will likely be the last before the next federal election. Its program revolves around themes and guest speakers come together to highlight liberal priorities and progressive policies as the party refines its message to voters.
“We will explain in very clear terms the difference between the two main options,” said a senior Liberal official speaking in the background.
This effort begins tonight with an introductory conversation between Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and former Liberal Minister Ken Dryden. Freeland, according to sources, is expected to give general guidance on the direction of the next federal budget.
Freeland has already pledged a post-pandemic stimulus package of up to $ 100 billion and pledged to make child care more accessible. Liberal insiders say they plan to use the fallout from the pandemic to try to correct social inequalities.
The headliner of the congress on Friday is Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. Like Freeland, Carney is widely viewed by the Liberals as a possible successor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Liberals attending the convention may be looking for clues that Carney is finally ready to get into partisan politics. Either way, Carney is a leading speaker whose presence adds significant economic and climate credibility to the convention’s agenda.
The dominant themes of the convention will be tied together in Trudeau’s closing speech on Saturday. Liberal sources say the speech will also focus on the pandemic and the upcoming elections.
They say he will have a more partisan tone than the speeches the Prime Minister has given throughout the pandemic, and that his main target will be Conservative leader Erin O’Toole and his party.
Economy, climate change is expected to dominate
The Liberals say they believe the Conservative convention has opened a path for them to exploit. Conservative delegates to the convention voted against a motion recognizing climate change as real, while organizers and party leaders faced efforts by anti-abortion activists to dominate the convention.
Trudeau is expected to compare the Conservative convention to his party’s values and highlight Conservative criticism of the pandemic support programs that have helped millions of Canadians over the past year.
All of this is to convince Canadians that the Liberals are focused on the serious policy issues of the day – the pandemic, the economy, climate change, the social safety net, women’s rights and systemic racism.
The Liberals say they hope the convention will show a party free from the infighting and controversy that beset the Conservative convention last month and threatens to dominate the NDP convention this weekend.
Priority political resolutions to be debated and voted on at the Liberal rally include calls for a universal basic income, applicable national standards for long-term care homes, and a green economic recovery.
Nothing in the Liberal convention platform seems likely to trigger the kind of internal bickering the Conservatives have engaged in over the place of social conservatives in the party.
And there is nothing on the Liberal agenda that promises the kind of controversy and division than the Conservatives’ vote on the climate change resolution – or the pending NDP convention debates on it. anti-Semitism, the abolition of the army and the nationalization of major car manufacturers – created.