Let’s imagine the retiring Tony Blair mounting a comeback in a year to bring peace to Iraq. How would we react to him preaching the virtues of multilateralism and dialogue after launching a dangerous war? Bang on, guv? The boy’s back! Or get stuffed?

My vote is for get stuffed. So why the squealing if Liberal complicity — no, culpability — in a climate crisis comes up? It wasn’t as if we were without science or facing a global field greening up. No, Liberals just told progressives to fuck off for 13 years.

Such partisan tripe gets Jim Laxer going. He says that New Democrats even thinking of better policy puts it at a crossroads. As George Bush may say, you’re either with Harper or not. But that’s how low debate has sunk: Just scream Harper Helper and watch facts and possibilities fly out the window all because that’s how Liberals say politics work.

Crossroads are coming, but progressives face them together. The test is our response to being told that the best — no, only — thing is to help Liberals. Like Blair in Basra, Liberals aren’t incidental to the climate crisis. Like poverty, pollution was chosen. It strikes me the best time to check out the Liberal Party isn’t when it wants to during that year-long ad/leadership, but when we do.

Is that only ever partisan tripe? Maybe. I don’t give a toss about the Liberal Party, partly because it didn’t give a toss about global warming. It also can’t only be just tripe, for the UN, OECD and federal environment commissioner were all vicious towards Liberal pollution, too. To Laxer, though, better policy isn’t a consideration.

Let’s think that through. Why’s it bad to deal with citizens’ hopes for meaningful action at last on a crisis? Voters elected a Tory minority, and things count in it beyond whether Harper’s up — like better environmental policy. Contrary to what some say, Canada wasn’t roaring to sustainability as Harper won, but running to Armageddon with an emissions record worse than Bush. It is a test for lefties.

Do we equate policy with progress, or Liberal with progress? Put another way, do New Democrats stop being motivated by the environment when voters defeat Liberals? If that’s what we think, we end up at a spot where the only point behind New Democrats wanting to do better is for more orange — not better policy. Laxer used to email when I worked on the Hill, but only when Liberals were in trouble. He was quite quiet — unlike the Bloc and 11 green groups — when Stéphane Dion’s green plan fell well short. Elizabeth May might say it was okay, but that doesn’t make it good.

Now, we’re told that doesn’t count. Apparently all it takes is some Liberal sorries about not getting going on that end of the world thing, a pat on the back from May and off we go, Harper-hunting. And why not, if we’re okay with a smaller NDP and believe global warming began only with Harper’s win. But it didn’t, and it’s a healthy thing that one of the world’s most polluting governments lost.

Eek, did I just say that Liberals should have lost in 2006? Yes, unapologetically. I call it progressive self-respect in looking at Liberal pollution or poverty or absent role in the world. Only if we don’t believe in multi-party democracy does that equal being cool that Harper won. Maybe, given those facts, the question isn’t why New Democrats felt Liberal pollution was undeserving of reward, the question is why May thought it did.

As Laxer would have it, politics’ rules flow from never hurting a Liberal because that would help Tories. And as long as progressives accept that silliness, crises will only become crises when Liberals decide that’s okay. That’s in their interests, but unless Liberal equals progressive, not ours. They need us more than we need them, and nothing forced them to tell us to fuck off for 13 years. No, they wanted to.

On Iraq, Bush denies history. No WMD? Weapons inspections working? Why it’s almost like listening to Liberals bleat about how progressive a country they left for Harper to pillage and burn. Sure, that climate got frigged, but failure makes for quite the makeover. We’re green! Always have been! Never at war with Oceania! Harper’s evil! Now rebuild our one-party state. In reply, how about fuck off?

We are at crossroads, with a fork at whether multi-party democracy counts. It’s not as if anyone wants an election, but instead better global warming policy. And I’ll just say it: if Harper’s open to fixing appalling Liberal policies and a disastrous first Tory plan, er, good. So what’s partisan. The NDP working with a Liberal minority and now maybe a Tory one? Or only wanting red solutions, never blue ones — all because the polls point green, with Liberals of all people trotting dutifully in behind.

We have a problem when global warming couldn’t get traction with Liberals in office. Not a partisan problem but a progressive one, with a progressive solution. It’s called multi-party democracy in an era of minority governments. And hands up how many think Liberals will give speeches on how that might work for us, not them.