Peter C. Newman

Celebrated author Peter C. Newman set out to write a book about the coronation of Michael Ignatieff as prime minister, a prospect that failed to materialize on May 2 and was permanently extinquished when Ignatieff stepped down as Liberal leader a day later.

But from the ashes of that proposed book emerged a different one ... one about the collapse of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Newman, speaking to Evan Soloman on CBC Radio's The House, said he saw the demise of the Liberal Party while following Ignatieff's bus tour.

"[Ignatieff] was talking to the converted and everyone thought it was a triumph … and they were going to vote Liberal anyways and if that was all that would happen after this hard work, I knew that it was over [for the Liberal Party]."

Newman's new book, When The Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada, details why he believes the Liberal Party of Canada is on the verge of dying. 

The author said the party had devolved into a collection of independent political entrepreneurs, people that he calls "functionaries."

Resources not used to fight attack ads

"They should be called opportunists because they had turned it from a cause into a job," noted Newman. "Functionaries are there just there to make a salary. They had $23 million to answer the attack ads [by the Tories] but it went to all these regional offices and task forces on women and seniors and there was nothing left to fight the attack ads."

Newman says he thinks the Liberal Party, as it is now, is unable to recover.

"They have no power base. Every political party must have a power base — geographic base where they feel at home, where they can relax, do policy stuff. They have 34 seats, all scattered," said Newman. "They’ve lost their Toronto fortress, their Maritime fortress and Quebec fortress and they haven’t been out west in awhile."

Newman also scoffs at suggestions of an alliance with the New Democrats: "They can't even be in the same room together."

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)