Canada’s conservatives are getting ready to hand Justin Trudeau yet another victory. Judging by the constant internal bickering that bubbles up to the surface way too often, they are shortsighted enough to keep telling their potential voters: don’t even think about voting for us. We can’t keep our own house in order, how can you expect us to right the sinking ship that is Canada?
This seems to be a habit within the world of conservative parties. Where left-wing political organisations close ranks going after their objectives, conservatives seem to be feeling free to debate everything and anything to the point of exhaustion (and electoral loss).
The best Prime Minister Great Britain had in recent history? Why, Margaret Thatcher. Her own parliamentary members rebelled against her. She, maintaining their freedoms, allowed it. Becoming Baroness Margaret Thatcher (and a life peer) would be of little consolation.
Meanwhile, in Canada
The country’s current situation, whether anyone likes it or not, has been getting too close to a major explosion for anyone to be comfortable with it. Canada has been polarised close to breaking point, and traditional conservatives don’t like it one bit.
Theirs is the tradition known as law and order. So, when several conservative MPs met with the organisers of last winter’s Freedom Convoy, all bets were off.
Former Conservative Party Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton took to Global News airwaves to express her concern publicly. Describing the situation within her party, she predicted the conservatives were headed for yet another split. As if they hadn’t had enough of those.
The Conservative Party has been facing an uphill battle ever since the socialists had joined the fray. The current Canadian government has won a minority of votes cast but a majority of seats gained precisely because the voters were split between the Tories and the NDP.
The conservatives went down the tube on several occasions in recent memory because they were divided (remember? Progressive Conservatives versus the Reform Party versus the Canadian Alliance).
Not only was the name, Progressive Party, an oxymoron to end all oxymorons (stressing the latter part of the word: moron), it was also a typical sign of the typical Canadian effort to solve everything by compromise. Nobody wins, and, presumably, nobody loses, either. Of course, the final outcome is that nobody’s happy with the result, either, but, as the popular saying goes, you win some and you lose some.
So far as Senator LeBreton is concerned, blocking a road, or a railway, or a pipeline, happens to be an illegal act, and her party comrades-in-arm who condone it do not stand for proper conservative values.
Of course, one can question whether the Freedom Convoy truckers have ever done anything illegal. They went out of their way to make sure they were only making their voices heard. Besides, making law and order matter of unchangeable policy is a very questionable approach to politics. If you’re opposing the other guys’ policies, it may very well happen you’re opposing their legislation, as well. The best way to show this kind of opposition is to show how idiotic the current government’s laws have turned out to be.
And, another crucial question: does anyone remember one of Adolf Hitler’s major political planks that read, in German, Gesetz und Ordnung? Here’s the verbatim translation: law and order.
Lisa Raitt, a former deputy party leader under Andrew Scheer, was distinctly happy about Senator LeBreton’s revelation. She took to Twitter: “Good for former Senator Marjory LeBreton for speaking up.”
Another dirty word
Today’s political debate seems to be based on derogatory labels. Stress it loudly enough, and a word that used to make all the sense in the world becomes a dirty expression not to be used in mixed company or anywhere near your dinner table.
One such word today: populist.
Those politicians who promise their voters to do what their voters want, and, from time to time, they go so far as to keep their promises, risk being smeared by this word as if they were committing unpardonable sins. Here’s the logic: we know what’s best for you, we’re the leaders, and your job as voters is to vote us in and keep your mouths shut. Another German expression for this, Maul halten und weiter dienen, puts it with your typical German precision: shut up and keep serving.
True, if you join a political organisation, you signify that you subscribe to that organisation’s goals and objectives. Except, it shouldn’t mean that all existing rules and policies should keep staying the same for ever and a day. Without going into much detail, some rules and policies could have been outdated (read: stupid and unsustainable) the moment they had been voted in, and others just could have outlived their usefulness.
Any organisation that does not permit healthy debate to consider change and development is doomed.
It is quite shocking to see politicians having fits when their political colleagues beg to differ. For example: Patrick Brown, one of the conservative leadership race candidates and an MP in Stephen Harper’s government, went public as saying that he would not run as a Conservative candidate should the leadership go to his hardline opponent Pierre Poilievre.
Calgary MP Michelle Rempel Garner outdid Brown: under a headline saying I just made a big decision, she announced she wouldn’t be running to replace Jason Kenney as leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party.
Think whatever of him, Kenney succeeded in Alberta where his Canadian Taxpayer Federation predecessor Stephen Harper succeeded on federal level: Harper united the conservatives going to Ottawa, and Kenney did the same in Alberta, joining the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party into a whole that dismissed the NDP anomaly after a single socialist term in office.
According to Garner, the party is wracked by “internal conflict.”
Conservatives were plagued by “public meltdowns,” “nearly missed physical fights,” “people harassed to the point where they resign roles,” and “meetings where members have been subjected to hours of public castigation,” Garner announced, and she wasn’t going to have any of it.
Here’s where it goes off the rails: the Tories used to be divided on the so-called cultural questions, such as gay marriage or abortion. These are matters of faith (not religion, but faith).
Now, they are arguing about whether to keep their old policies that used to get them somewhere but no longer, and how to make themselves relevant again.
If they don’t make up their minds fast, they risk to be overrun. Not only by the Liberals and their ideological brethren in NDP colours, but also by unabashedly populist groups such as the People’s Party.
Should that happen, we can start bidding good-bye to the Tories. It’s been nice knowing you while you still existed.