Monday, January 26, 2009

the Decline of Canadian Conservatism: It Ain't Easy Being Blue

I'm not a conservative, I agree with them on very little but sometimes you just have to feel sorry for conservatives in Canada. After the collapse of the Progressive Conservatives in 93 the divided party could not seem to gain any traction or get anywhere near power. Ten years later the party reunited - keeping half of the Progressive Conservative name and all of the Alliance platform.

Finally in 2006 conservatives got another government, albeit a minority one - a government that won a second minority just last year but now, having recognized I think that Conservative ideas do not enjoy the support of the majority of Canadians the Conservative Government has decided to fight emissions and climate change, he has abandoned his position on fixed election dates, an elected Senate, he seems to have dropped any social conservative issues, and now he appears prepared to have abandoned any sense of fiscal conservatism - it won't be official until tomorrow but so far Harper seems from what we've seen so far, to have drafted an NDP budget.

How do Conservatives feel about all of this? Harper doesn't care:
"``Here you have a couple of thousand people vigorously debating substantial issues and setting the direction of the party,'' said Heisey. ``It's exciting, and involving.''
Three weeks later, however, none of the ideas endorsed by the party's members - except for a national securities regulator, already a pet project of the government - were included in the Conservative throne speech or economic statement, when Parliament reconvened.
Instead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper prompted a political crisis with two measures - an end to party subsidies and a ban on public service strikes, that hadn't even surfaced in Winnipeg."
Harper certainly cannot be trusted. He changes his mind far too often about far too many things but the question is, now that Harper has decided to move the party to the left and abandon the principles that brought him to power, how will Canada's conservatives react? Will they step back ten years and divide the party again? Or is conservatism in Canada truly and finally over?

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