I feel like I need to get out my pompoms and whistle and lead a cheer here. We can't give up and concede the next election. Winning has to be top priority (along with party reform). I know, I know, I'm preaching to the converted and preachiness is obnoxious, but I'm sensing a bit of defeatism and complacency.
Let's never forget that our opponent is not the Progressive Conservatives. Harper orchestrated a hostile take-over of that venerable party and appropriated its brand, but Harper is Reform/Alliance. He's no Preston Manning either. Preston Manning was a populist perhaps even more than conservative and believed in social programs and a government that represented the people. Harper took the party Manning started and moved it far to the right.
At the beginning of the last election campaign the media cut off Martin at the knees by announcing that he was planning attack ads to make Harper look scary, thus discrediting that entire line of the campaign. The fact is that Harper is scary. He has extremist views that are counter to the values of most Canadians. If he wins a majority he will probably change Canada in fundamental ways that will be odious to most Canadians. When Harper tells American neo-conservatives that "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term," we need to understand that he is announcing his plan to destroy our social safety net and universal health care.
I think it's fair to say that the Liberals lost the last election because of the sponsorship scandal, and not because Canadians want a Harper-style neo-conservative country. Harper is not a good choice for Canada and is not what Canadians want. Furthermore, in the top candidates for the Liberal leadership we have three men (Rae, Ignatieff and Dion) who are exciting, progressive, and qualified to lead the country. The next election is very much within our grasp.