Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Friday, April 29, 2011
Why I am a Liberal
Why am I a Liberal?
Well, I've always been a centrist at heart.
I am someone who has always found the value of both right and left sides of the spectrum. On some matters, mostly on the fiscal side, I have found the prudent course is conservatism. On matters of most social side of things, I have found liberalism to be the best course of action.
Even before thinking about the party system, I identify with the ability to build a private life where you live and work largely free of interference. This doesn't mean the absence of government but a government committed to the idea that you should get out of the way where and when the citizenry can do it themselves. As a Liberal, I believe government is there to keep the peace, provide order and good government.
The Constitutional principles of peace, order and good government appeal to me in a greater way than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the reason for that is that is that is if you have the first, the second is more likely to happen.
I believe in business as well as a labour. It isn't an either/or situation. I don't hold to the view that the balance should be tilted in favour of one side over the other as a matter of course.
I believe in justice and rehabilitation. I wants laws that help people settle disputes, protect the vulnerable and incarcerate those that would violate our lives through harm. However, it serves no one's interests if there is no way back from falling afoul of the law. I am an advocate for prevention. This comes from police, public and private social assistance and health initiatives. Imagine if crime could be cut if we just reduced fetal alcohol exposure.
I believe in public health. I believe in private health. This is not two tier. It is the reality of life. For the most part, we maintain our own healthy lifestyles. We do this by being active, having rewarding relationships, eating well, finding meaningful work and resting. We have health plans through work or that we buy independently for pharmacy, ambulance, alternative health needs, dental and vision care. We rely on public health for general medicine and specialized care.
As a Liberal, I think the balance is needed between the private and public to address the real needs of the people. Every person should have access to healthcare and I believe in general, the public system provides that to more people than any other system. However, private healthcare can co-exist and must exist to provide for additional care.
I believe in the supremacy of Parliament. I think the value of the system lies in giving MPs the ability to work in a transparent and effective manner in terms of the direction of the country. I support a professional civil service. I want a strong and independent court system as well as independent public officers in regulatory or oversight positions.
I support the military and believe it should get the resources it needs and the direction it needs. Clarity of mission, rules of engagement and a lasting commitment once service is complete are essential to the peace and security of the country.
I believe in freedom of religion. The state needs to let people worship with respect. Religious adherents need to let the state operate separate from the faith. The danger of faith and state being indistinguishable is that it assumes that everyone shares a single mindthink and the interests of religion and the state are the same. Many times they aren't.
I believe in the multi-party system of parliamentary governance. Although, I have identified with and run as a Liberal, I see the merit of the other parties and often agree with them on a variety of issues.
Why am I a Liberal?
The reason quite simply is that I am a Liberal because I haven't found a way of thinking elsewhere or generally a party that suited me as well.
If my country divided into left and right, I'd still stand in the center. I find that if you have only the two choices, the pull can be away from the center either way. I've said before that if my options were limited to the two choices, I'd support neither. In short, I might not vote. Or if all else failed, would stand up myself to represent that other choice.