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The progressive left needs a Manning Centre equivalent.

A brief Friday blog foray today. My opinion is the Manning Centre (with all due respect to its founder, Preston Manning, and to Stephen Taylor, Blogging Tory founder and ideological rival, who is a “fellow” there, and writes for them/works for them) is given far too much attention and to me anyhow, given credit for far too much influence on Canadian politics, which I can read in the Sun or National Post every day if I felt like dirtying myself. See the example today of this even in the “left wing” Toronto Star, highlighting a poll for them when we haven’t even seen the wording of the polling questions, and which some of my progressive blogging friends are taking issue with.

Perhaps it’s because their emotional soulmates are in power right now, and of course the fact everyone knows who Preston Manning is. Maybe the media feel obligated to cover it. Regardless, I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea for someone who has a recognizable political name to start an equivalent counter-view to the Manning Centre from the progressive left political viewpoint to counter the claptrap…er.. views that come out of that place, which then get regurgitated by the media, sometimes without question on whether or not what they’re issuing is a bunch of nonsense.

As an aside, it would also be interesting for me to see if our media friends were as enthusiastic on covering/attending a forum like that. Maybe just make sure the place offers free snacks and drink.. that should get them out to it on a daily basis. 😉


15 comments to The progressive left needs a Manning Centre equivalent.

  • Yeah I commented on this article too. The lack of any data is certainly curious, I’ve been checking the Manning Centre website over the past few days expecting at least a slide or two, but nuttin. And, as Ti-Guy says above, there’s nothing there that suggests Canadians are conservative at all, unless you actually believe the horse s*it about abortion and gay marriage. It’s a spin job, and a bloody horrible one at that. Why does anyone take Gregg seriously? He’s a hack, and a failed one at that!

  • “My opinion is the Manning Centre […] given credit for far too much influence on Canadian politics, which I can read in the Sun or National Post every day if I felt like dirtying myself.”

    So you’d like to read your views in an echo chamber then? By all means, start a think tank. But only reading things you agree with? Ugh…

  • With the Manning Center we know where they are comming from and we know which party their papers will either echo or foreshadow. The danger with a Progressive open source think tank is it will quickly fill with partisans flogging and defending the already established ideas of their party rather than breaking new ground. Will these factions try to make the think tank support a party or be neutral idea mills like they should be? Will this make the think tank too unwieldy and disfunctional to opperate?

    Then of course you will have those who will reject Liberals and some liberal ideas because they don’t accept Liberals as being truly Progressive.

    Open source will also attact some pure loons and some very non progressive types looking for fun. It’s certainly worth a try but it needs stong mechanisms to promote free thinkers and suppress party hacks and loons from sabotaging it, Can you do that within an open source framework?

  • liamyoung

    I think the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Polaris Institute should be the ‘anchors’ of a group that Skinny Dipper proposes. The key to such a virtual community is that it should be open to anyone that wants to chip in (financially or with content).

    Another institution is the CBC. The only problem is that the entire management team needs to be fired and replaced with progressive-minded Canadians that actually care about public broadcasting (as opposed to making deals to prop up the douche bags with the National Post).

    I disagree with Mark Francis: open source programs have avoided commercialization (ie. corporate control), much to the chagrin of companies like Microsoft.

  • Jumpin' Joan Flash

    Excellent idea, Skinny Dipper.

    Some respected person with leadership skills to head it up: Bill Blaikie, I’m looking at you. Or Michaelle Jean, after her gig as GG ends? Louise Arbour?

    Needs money? Money would come with credibility. If Barack Obama could fund a presidential campaign one $25 donation at a time, we could probably find enough people in Canada to fund a virtual think-tank, especially since the usual competitors for political donations are looking rather stale-dated these days.

  • The primary purpose of such places is outreach, not policy development. Actually, much of the research they do is bunk. It’s made up hackery designed to get press.

    It’s all funded largely by corporate money. Good luck finding corporate money to fund progressive institutions.

  • One problem with these institutes is that they take money to run. This doesn’t mean that progressives need a physical building and paid people to run a think tank. We progressives can always set up a virtual think tank were a group of us can get together on the net (s)elect a peer review committee that will set up a website, and propose questions that people can answer by submitting essays and videos to the peer review committee. That committee can examine whether or not an essay should be published based on prose and factual quality. These can be published on a website.

    A progressive virtual think tank could ask monthly questions such as:

    How do we improve the governance in Canada?

    How do we improve our educational institutions?

    What alternatives are there for health care?

    How can Canada work better with a new India?

    Could Canada ever face emigration problems?

    These questions listed above are hypothetical. There are many more questions that we can ask. There are many ways in which a progressive think tank can get responses.

    A progressive think tank could still hold a yearly conference somewhere in Canada.

    The think tank could have a contest for 100 new parliamentarians–people who are creative in their thinking.

    Just my thoughts.

  • oh, and turcotte actually RUNS one of the programs at the manning centre. pollster: right.

  • Greg

    Well, there is always the Polaris Institute.

  • Ti-Guy

    Non-“Conservatives” already have their own think tanks. They’re called universities.

    We don’t need different institutions. We need decent journalists; people who don’t expect spin factories to hand them ready-made copy to reproduce unexamined.

    For example, someone at The Star needs to ask the Manning Centre when exactly this became a conservative value:

    “Pollsters Allan Gregg and Andre Turcotte said that most believe governments should play a minor role or no role in the regulation of individual behaviour and morality.”

  • bull caller

    I’d generally agree with the idea, not discounting the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which has produced some solid research based on facts rather than smears of tv personalities (good job there Kory, ya douchebag)… but i digress. Problem is why do we even need to have institutions to obsessivley stategize on spin when there is the truth, and governing based on real information and research?

    Lets call these “thinktanks” for what they are, spin factories set up to provide partizan hacks a day off to learn how to lie better. The only way to counter that is to get in their face and make more of their moments “unscripted”. Conservatives are dullards and incapable of any sort of adaptation – get them off message and they will collapse every time.

  • Brian

    Lloyd Axworthy maybe?

  • I’ve been a fan of that idea forever.

    We need to get a more Liberal thinktank operational… So the media can call them and get “expert opinions”, like they do with the very biased Fraser Institute – which seems to replace educated University studies and opinions routinely…

    Hopefully something comes of the Canada 150 summit… One can only hope.

  • hmmm, the broadbent centre?

    perhaps clc training courses could run there or in conjunction with it.

  • […] had these thoughts in draft for some time and then I read “The Progressive Left Needs a Manning Centre Equivalent” by Scott Tribe.  He managed to stir quite a debate and discussion with this and has […]

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