Sunny Ways: Learning From Success and Failure in Canada
Labour, the Liberals and the NDP
At a time when progressive politics appears to be on the back foot,
Canada has proved the exception to the rule: Justin Trudeau’s Liberal
party delivered a new government last year, elected on a bold
progressive platform for ‘real change’ which oozed confidence and
This paper draws on Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth’s
recent conversations with an array of Canadian counterparts. It asks
what can be learned from the Liberals’ successful campaign, as well as
contemplating the ill-fated efforts of Labour’s sister party, the NDP.
persuading switchers, to dealing with a separatist threat, and from
mobilising new segments of the electorate, to deploying better use of
‘big data’ – it is clear that there is a lot to learn from the Liberal
campaign. This paper considers how these lessons should inform the
policy platform, strategy and positioning of the UK Labour party and
other social democrats across Europe.
To stand any chance of
emulating the Canadian Liberals’ success, Ashworth concludes that Labour
must urgently engage in a thorough, deep and sustained debate about the
About the author:
Jonathan Ashworth is the Labour MP for Leicester South and a member of Labour’s shadow cabinet and ruling national executive committee. He has worked on every Labour general election campaign since 2001 and is a former adviser to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband.