Zach Paikin’s Quest To Harper-ify The Liberals

Odious shitheel Margaret Wente is right, for once, when she says that the Liberal Party of Canada is “out of gas”. That interim leader Bob Rae doesn’t appear at press junkets wearing an askew combat helmet and chain-smoking like he’s trying to forget the faces of the dead that haunt him even now, in peacetime, is a minor miracle. Last May’s election results were a devastating blow to his party.

But a lot of people still have stakes in the Grits, and so even if their comeback isn’t as assured as they might hope, the direction their party takes over the next few years is nevertheless important. As the self-proclaimed party of moderate, sober Canadian values, other parties try to appeal mainly to the Grits’ potential swing voters. Like we saw last year, this can have dramatic results on the makeup of Parliament and, by extension, on the ideological governance of the nation.

And because it had that effect this time around, the Liberals are faced with two options: they can try to lure voters from the NDP, with more small-l liberal policies, or they can try to take on the Conservatives by posing as the party of sober, traditional “Canadian values”. Those are sort of simplified, but you get the gist.

So when the Liberal Party elects its national policy chair this week, well, it matters. And the potential for Zach Paikin to take that position should worry the absolute hell out of remotely progressive folks.

Paikin, a 20-year-old McGill student, was the subject of a somewhat-breathless Globe and Mail piece on Saturday. He comes across a seemingly bright young kid, well-versed in politics and policy from a very early age (like, eight years old, if his dad’s to be believed). He’s also a deep-seated neoconservative, someone who wears the mantle of liberalism in order to make regressive bullshit policies more palatable.

See, Paikin writes for the Prince Arthur Herald, an online student newspaper from McGill.

The Herald rages clumsily against left-wing media bias and academic bias, invokes the spooky spectre of Marxism in order to discredit Occupy Wall Street, suggests that Herman Cain’s race (as opposed to his bonkers cocktail napkin of a tax plan) was an affront to liberal sensibilities, and, ha ha, just stone-cold interviews motherfuckers from the conservative spin doctors at the Cato Institute. It’s a staunchly right-wing paper, frequently veering into the unintentionally comedic — consider its ode to the capitalist efficiency of Domino’s versus making your own pizza, as written by a guy who apparently has the saddest-looking pantry ever — and as such only really suits the syllables “liber-” when they’re followed with “-tarian”.

With Paikin guiding the Liberal platform, you could expect the party to take a hard, hard swing to the right, embracing national defense (and the defense of Israel specifically) as a high priority, encouraging a reduction in taxes to entice “job creators” to invest in jobs or however people expect that to work, and generally jockeying for conservative voters who don’t like to think of themselves as Tories, so that those people can go to bed at night feeling emotionally cleansed and satisfied with their own sober-yet-“liberal” politics. Plus, he’d be a guiding hand who more often than not is just flat-out wrong, unable to make consistently sound predictions based on current events. And there’s nothing to insulate him from all of these things; Paikin was writing this stuff mostly within the last calendar year, as part of a paper whose staff writer wrote, for example, that the Liberal party shouldn’t be so damn liberal.

But, hey, don’t take my word for it – take Paikin’s!

See, Muslims are scary (Feb. 7, 2011):

The Star‘s willingness to deflect such pointed criticism of leftist ideology exemplifies the far left’s assault on truth and reason.

One of the main claims that the left has made over the past several years is that radical Islamism merely poses a threat to Israel, and hence does not concern Western democracies.

But nobody’s gonna vote for them:

Regardless of whether the Muslim Brotherhood takes over Egypt, which is highly unlikely in the short-term

Muslims are really scary, and Obama should worry, and also hoo-rah Israel (Feb. 24, 2011):

First, the primary obstacle to Mid-East stability is no longer the Arab-Israeli conflict, but rather Islamic fundamentalism.

In order to address the threats of 2011, President Obama needs to ensure Israel’s strength and security and reduce multilateralism in order to reclaim America’s role as a leader on the world stage.

The war on terror, which can’t by definition be a war at all, is actually about an attack on Our Freedoms (Sept. 12, 2011):

Loving good is meaningless unless one also hates evil. The first step to winning this fight is by openly identifying the primary external threat to our way of life and the primary threat to international peace and stability. This isn’t a “war on terror,” as one cannot fight a tactic.

As politically incorrect as it may be, our enemy in the long war for freedom is Islamic extremism. All those who cherish liberal values — regardless of race, religion or creed — must unite to combat this evil if our way of life is to triumph. One cannot win every battle if he does not know his enemy.

MUSLIMS TERROR “AXIS OF EVIL” (Feb. 3, 2011):

The worst-case scenario is a radical, Islamist Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood in control in relatively short order. The most plausible best-case scenario appears to be Turkish-style democracy which will lead to an Egypt that will be increasingly anti-American, pro-Islamist, vulnerable to an eventual takeover by totalitarian forces such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and possibly aligned with Iran’s revolutionary axis.

Liberalism means, uh, reducing corporate taxes and then figuring out “creative ways” to make up the lost revenue, because that’s not something that is already completely failing (Feb. 21, 2011):

There remains considerable room to reduce corporate and income taxes, which would foster a competitive economy, create jobs and alleviate pressure on Canadian families. Such a reduction in taxes would allow for the adoption of more creative and progressive taxes to compensate for the revenue lost.

If properly done, we could portray ourselves as the party of low prices and low taxes. Increased competition in the Canadian market will be key.

When we talk about liberalism, we should be talking about liberty. That means social and economic freedom for all Canadians and a guarantee that we are going to strongly defend our liberal society on all fronts.

Paikin wants to reposition the Liberals as the party of Canadian values. But, if we’re even being remotely honest with ourselves, it’s hard to tell where his idea of Canadian values ends and Conservative values begin.

Author: John Cameron

John Cameron is a freelance journalist and occasional writer from Regina, Saskatchewan. He was the editor-in-chief of the Carillon, the University of Regina student newspaper, from 2010 to 2012. You can find more of his work in the Trash folder of several prominent national magazine editors' inboxes.

13 thoughts on “Zach Paikin’s Quest To Harper-ify The Liberals”

  1. What struck me about Wente’s column was where mediawhores, rightwing commentators, and ppl like that in general seem to be moving, and it seems so obvious now: after years of denying the income gap, any problem related to the income gap, and any threat to the middle class in the first place, they’re now 1. fully accepting that there’s a serious income gap; 2. acknowledging that the dream is over; and. 3. acknowledging that the middle class as we know it, in educated liberal urban Canada, is finished. Funny how it’s just like, total denial to full acceptance. Either way, though, we’re still screwed.

  2. I think Regionalism has helped to kill the Liberal Party, i.e. the party of Canada. It started with the Quebecois identity (maybe sooner), followed by the Alberta identity after the NEP Affair.

    The minute that housewife standing at the window washing dishes or preparing supper at 3 p.m stopped thinking of herself as Canadian First, Regional Identity Second, sometime in the late ’80s, the Liberal Party was dead.

    Every time we identify as members of the “New Saskatchewan” or “New West” ahead of our identity as “Canadians” with the interests of the country at heart, rather than the narrow interests of our province or region at heart, we kill the Liberal Party and bolster Stephen Harper’s hold on power that much more.

    Frankly, I’m a Canadian, f*ck the rest.

  3. #7 “Eastern bastards” is a bit harsh, Emmet. Folks in the Maritimes are actually very nice people.

  4. “Bastard,” I have grown accustomed to. But I find it irritating that after 35 years in Saskatchewan, I am still considered by many to be a guy from the East.

  5. Holy crap that kid is Fucked in the head a lot, all 3 meanings of head apply.

    The Real Liberals of Ottawa in the HoC would do the common sense move,& become Green Party Members.

    mmm…. 37 Green MPs

    oooops just woke up.

    sorry. Herr harp0

  6. Liberals drifting further to the right? This sounds good for everyone to the left of them. Coming soon: Canada’s first NDP PM. Grits and Tories eventually merge, in an unholy covenant.

  7. Why do so many politicians in this country (and presumably others) act as if they believe become more like your rivals is the key to electoral success? If anything, our diminishing voter turnout rates suggest just the opposite. That was one of the keys to the success of Jack Layton’s NDP last spring. They offered a clear and distinct alternative.

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