Imagining a way forward for the once-invincible Liberal Party of Canada in the wake of the 2011 federal election is an enormous challenge for politicians, party activists and commentators alike. Does the party still represent that elusive concept, the Canadian “centre”? Does that centre still exist (if in fact it ever did)? This month one of the country’s foremost thinkers on the nature and meaning of the Liberal Party, Stephen Clarkson, produces our lead essay on this vexed and intriguing subject, “Has the Centre Vanished?”
The Liberals’ downfall coincides with the NDP’s ascendancy, and yet that party has suddenly had to cope with the tragic death of its leader, Jack Layton. Shortly before he died, Layton completed the Foreword to a new book: Robert Meynell’s Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom: C. B. Macpherson, George Grant and Charles Taylor. We are honoured to reproduce that text in this issue, in which Layton fondly recalls his political education, deeply shaped by the thought and personalities of these philosophical masters.
And from the West Coast, an architectural critique by the deeply knowledgeable and highly readable Adele Weder. She takes on one of British Columbia’s leading architects, Bing Thom, and analyses his work for LRC readers from coast to coast – and beyond Canada’s borders.
Excellent autumn reading!