Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Lunch with Tory

I recently accepted a friend's invitation to join him at an Oakville luncheon to hear PC leader John Tory speak. (I never turn down a free lunch.)

And the lunch was good, even if Tory's talk was a bit bland.

OK in terms of style the speech was pretty good; Tory displayed wit and a sense of humour and he didn't drone on.

But there was not a lot in his speech I would call "conservative". Nothing in it, in other words, to mobilize or rally his base.

Yes, Tory talked about the need for honest government and how we needed a Premier we could trust, which is all fine.

Yet instead of calling for lower taxes he promised "reasonable" taxes. To me the only reasonable tax is one that's lower!

He also promised "responsible, disciplined spending". Is that the same as less spending? Somehow I doubt it.

And he also rattled off a list of groups that needed more government money: farmers, seniors, etc.

In other words, Tory wants to wage this election battle over the question of who can run a socialist government more efficiently.

That means, of course, it doesn't really matter who wins the election. Nothing will change.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many other Ontario and Federal Conservatives feel that they've no longer got a party to belong too???

What are we going to do about it?

Anonymous said...

Gerry Nicholls wrote: "In other words, Tory wants to wage this election battle over the question of who can run a socialist government more efficiently."

Your observations seem to be in alignment with what Mr. Tory said in the July 30, 2007
Western Standard:>
(register to read the entire article.)

Terry O'Neill: "You've put your stamp on the party through a new policy document that is seen as moving the party to the centre. Do you see it this way or do you see your party as small-c conservative?"

John Tory: "No, I see it as a party that's in the centre. There are elements of me that are very conservative when it comes to how carefully you manage the money and how you govern yourself in terms of fiscal policy. My commitment to enterprise is that, in the end, it's the only thing that can produce the prosperity so that we can then decide on how properly to allocate, in terms of sharing that wealth among the population. On community safety issues, I'm very conservative. But I have a huge social conscience."

Am I understanding correctly that from Mr. Tory’s perspective, the paramount value of business to government is that it is a source of taxes for wealth redistribution programs?

Anonymous said...

Gerry:

Did you create this ad?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xRCA0nYgnI

The funniest part about this is that Tory, Hampton, and McGuinty all look like the same character with different coloured shirts.

Since Ontario now decides the fate of the rest of country, I would ask Ontario voters to not screw up again... Otherwise, I am moving to the future Independent Republic of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Miles Lunn said...

I think the problem here is even though this may turn off the conservative base, where are they going to go? And the other problem is almost every credible poll shows there are enough conservatives to actually win an election. If you want a truly conservative government, focus on creating more conservatives, not on asking conservatives to be more conservative when there aren't enough.

And for those who bring up Mike Harris, I should note that although staunchly conservative, not all those who voted for him were. He picked up a good chunk of swing votes who maybe to open to conservativism in certain circumstances, but won't go for it all the time.

Anonymous said...

And the other problem is almost every credible poll shows there are enough conservatives to actually win an election. If you want a truly conservative government, focus on creating more conservatives...

Miles,

if there are enough conservatives to win an election, why would you need more (not that I am complaining). Anyway, wouldn't it make more sense to strengthen the tories you have rather than recruit more soft members. By doing that, you would have more longterm members with rock solid conservative principles with the capability of recruiting and training the right kind of member.

IMO, that would lead to a much stronger party organization.

Anonymous said...

Where will they go Miles? Many of the strong conservatives will stay home on election day, and some may go to the Freedom Party or Family Coalition Party if they have candidates in their riding (most ridings have one or both).

Miles Lunn said...

That was a typo - There are not enough Conservatives to win an election

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - Considering the Family Coalition Party and Freedom Party average around 2% in the ridings they run in, that really won't hurt them too much, never mind the fact if the Tories ran on the platform of either party they would likely not go very far. Just look at how well the Reform/Alliance Party did in Ontario when they ran on an unabashed conservative platform.

Sorry guys, but there aren't enough conservatives out there to win as a conservative. You want a more conservative government, create more conservatives first before asking parties to adopt more conservative principles.

As much as I despise the hard right in the US, at least they understood you couldn't win as a conservative without creating enough conservatives to win so they focused on creating more conservatives first and then running on a conservative platform once the vote existed.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

With all due respect, I think that you are FOS. In Atlantic Canada, there were many thriving conservative governments until the Federal "Conservatives" just killed them all.

The only conservative government that will probably survive in Atlantic Canada is Danny Williams', and that is only because he declared war on the neocon-liberal-socialist-theocon, etc. entity known as the CPC.

The CPC has done more to destroy conservatism in this country than promote it.

Mark Wickens said...

there aren't enough conservatives out there to win as a conservative. You want a more conservative government, create more conservatives first before asking parties to adopt more conservative principles.

Parties should not be interchangeable tents for people who want to gain power by bending to whatever wind is currently blowing.

If there is really no political market for small government principles, then the Conservatives should make the campaigns part of the education process you speak of. There is no point in having a second or third Liberal party.

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - The reason the Conservatives are in trouble in Atlantic Canada is most Tories there are Red Tories similiar to the former Progressive Conservatives. The Reform/Alliance party never did well there and so it is no surprise their successor isn't doing well either. It is true that Conservativism is you define it thrives in Atlantic Canada, but I don't think the conservatism Gerry is describing is particularly popular there. Correct me if wrong, but you seem to describing more the traditional conservatism in the Canadian texts, while I think Gerry is referring more to it in the historical American context, which is nowadays how most define conservatism pretty much everywhere.

Mark Warner - You have a point, but I guess you have to ask yourself if you as a Conservative want to continue losing or at least move in the right direction even if too slowly for your tastes.

Janet said...

My favourite thing is how the Tories are now saying they will keep their promises, even though they are promising to spend more money.

No offense to JT&Co, but I trust Dalton McGuinty to keep promises to SPEND money. If they're going to make the same promises (excluding the school funding) then the PCs lose the only leg they're trying to stand on.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

Again, with all due respect, I still think you are FOS.

There are plenty-o-traditional conservatives in Atlantic Canada.

You think that I actually want Peter MacKay taking my tax dollars to give to his pals at Irving Shipbuilding ($3.2 billion) or IMP group ($0.5 billion) or to spray toxic sludge around his home county to kill beetles.

I would rather have my Atlantic Accord, and a long term shot at financial independence from Canada and Canadian taxes.

Anonymous said...

Janet, "spending" money on education means buying off the teachers' unions. In Ontario, their lucrative contract comes up for renewal next year. It will cost a bundle to top what he gave them last time. Reading scores have flatlined since they took power and spent billions. What a disaster.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

Actually, I have thought more about what you have said.

If by "Red Tory," you mean people who sit in semi-secretive, non-public meetings (AIMS, Atlantica, Civitas, etc.) with the heads of the few oligo-polies that run Atlantic Canada through protectionist (not free market) policies and cheer the "Conservative party" like it is a hockey team rather than supposed to stand for something...

Then, yes, most of the "conservatives" in Atlantic Canada are "Red Tories."

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - In Atlantic Canada most Conservatives are similiar to that of Robert Stanfield and Joe Clark. When it comes to Harris/Thatcher/Reagan types, there are not very many of those and I think that is the type Gerry is referring to. Stephen Harper is mostly hated there not for being not right wing enough, but rather for being too right wing.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

Which Stephen Harper are you referring to?

Stephen Harper started his political career as a Liberal, and it appears that he may possibly end his career pursuing liberal policies.

Harper is currently hated in Atlantic Canada because he says one thing, and does the opposite. Not because he is "too right wing."

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - Harper is hated in Atlantic Canada for both breaking promises to the region, his hostility to the region, and yes because he is too right wing. Danny Williams himself has even made clear he finds Harper too right wing and emphasized he is a PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE not a CONSERVATIVE.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

If the libs change leaders (which is looking more and more likely), they could actually field several proven leadership candidates that can claim the title of champion of fiscal conservatism moreso than Stephen Harper.

Your hero, Harper, may win a few battles, but if you don't stick to your principles in politics, you are playing a mugg's game that will eventually catch up with you.

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - I actually despise Harper, but for the opposite reasons you do. I feel he is TOO CONSERVATIVE, as opposed to not being Conservative enough. Talk about principles all you want, but when most Canadians aren't conservative, you aren't going anywhere. Even Tom Flanagan admitted that Conservatives can only win when the left is divided since there simply aren't enough in Canada to win on their own. And the more Conservative a Conservative Party becomes the more likely to the centre-left is to unite behind one banner.

Anonymous said...

Miles:

Why do we need one banner anyways?

Canada, a confederation of provinces, has some real problems that cannot really be dealt with on a strictly ideological basis.

For example, check the Federal Debt calculator -- every minute that elapses, the amount of tax that the government would have to take from your future earnings to pay off the defecit increases.

Federal spending is out-of-control -- the CPC has done nothing but make this problem worse.

Canadian productivity sucks, and yet, we expect free health care and other social services from cradle to grave.

We have tons of oil and gas out West, but will create a global environmental catastophe to develop the Tar Sands. The same may be true of oil off the Atlantic Coast and North Polar regions. Meanwhile, the country has no energy policy of its own, and we export all our oil to the US at underpriced rates.

Can all those above thoughts ideas be labelled as simply "liberal" or "conservative."

Those are just for starters -- I would suggest that you take Mr. Flanagan's words with a grain of salt. Think for yourself.

Spin doesn't solve problems.

Flanagan's real issues were about Alberta originally -- not really Ottawa.

Miles Lunn said...

Anonymous - No they aren't liberal or conservative ideas, rather you are taking a pragmatic centrist approach which means being left wing on some issues and right wing on others. People like Gerry think the party should be right wing on all issues regardless of the issues.

It is true the party is quite Alberta centric, but that has a lot to do with the fact it is the only province where the viewpoints Gerry and his supporters advocate sell well amongst the general public.