Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Purging True Conservatives

Like a lot of conservatives, my friend Joseph Ben-Ami took strong exception to a recent comment by Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow.

Sparrow essentially relegated the Party's conservative base to the status of "stakeholders."

In a brilliant column, Ben-Ami says Sparrow's remark "accurately reflect the deep disdain certain key members of the Harper team have for conservative policies and their desire to marginalize and even purge conservatives from positions of influence throughout the party."

Read the rest of it here.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

A brilliant column? Hardly.

By the over-the-top critique of Mr. Sparrow's statement, both of you demonstrate that he is wholly incorrect with the following statement:

"Conservatives today are more mature and more sophisticated than they were then."

Surely a mature and sophisticated conservative would recognize that a party in power has to be both strategic and prudent in which policies it can pursue at a particular time. This is especially true when that party has a minority. The party must also respect the wishes of all party members.

I am sorry that the party tweaked your overly sensitive sense of self-importance. However, the party is much bigger than the pure laine such as yourself and its responsibility is to all of us.

JC Kelan

nbt said...

Obviously the above doesn't spend much time reading about or researching the Reagan administration who tried to privatize the Dept. of Agriculture while he was in gov't.

What tough conservative measures has Harper gov't attempted JC?

Raphael Alexander said...

Tough conservative measures?

They got rid of candidate Mark Warner in Toronto Centre for not "being on message". That's tough conservatism in action, that is!

And they dumped that dissident Bill Casey in Nova Scotia. Good riddance to him and those 68% of the popular vote who must also be dissidents.

Anonymous said...

The Conservative Party of Canada needs to be renamed, perhaps to

The whatever we think the public at large rather than our members believe party of the world.

And being prudent is called selling out.

Anonymous said...

Kyoto. Kelowna. A national day care program. Green Shift. What did we avoid by electing a Harper government?

GST cuts. Income tax cuts. Business tax cuts. Debt repayment. What did we accomplish by electing a Harper government?

At a time of huge surpluses and a minority government, Harper successfully out-manoeuvred left wing opposition parties who had, not only the plans for excessive spending, but also the excess tax revenue to do it.

True, expenditures increased. But given the expectations created by oopposition parties and generated by cities, lobby groups, government departments and every other recipient of tax dollars, Harper managed to move us in a more palatable direction.

Where would the military be with one of the opposition parties in charge? What criminal code changes would we have seen?

Harper made critical changes while leading a small minority government with no obvious allies for support.

Get a grip, folks.

JC Kelan

Foster Karcha said...

If you want the Conservative Party to act more in line with small-c conservative values then we require a larger, more powerful grassroots and academic conservative presence.

The party in power can only act as conservative or liberal as the population will accept. Worry about changing public views and political parties will follow. It's not the other way 'round.

Anonymous said...

Exceptionally well stated, Foster!

JC Kelan

nbt said...

No backbone, or guts, and being ashamed of what you are (CONSERVATIVE) is not my idea of the characteristics required to move a modern, conservative movement forward into a difficult 21st century global economy.

Not in these trying times anyway.

Anonymous said...

NBT,

No backbone, no guts, ashamed?

On what basis do you make such accusations? Because someone supports a different strategy for getting to the same end point?

That's rather juvenile, n'est-ce pas?

JC Kelan

Miles Lunn said...

It is not so much that Harper is purging true Conservatives as the simple fact if his party was as right wing as much of the base once, they would lose the next election handidly. The reality, is ideological conservatism is largely discredited. Canadians aren't interested in revisiting old social issues while on economics, the idea of the free market has its appeal, but few support laissez faire capitalism. The recent economic crisis if anything has made selling laissez faire capitalism more difficult. I should note that around the globe, ideological conservatism is in trouble too. In Germany and France, Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have both abandoned it completely while in Britain, the Tories under David Cameron have also abandoned it and taken a more pragmatic centrist approach and guess what, they are now leading in the polls and appealing to groups that previously were reluctant to vote Conservative.

In the United States, the Republicans still embrace ideological conservatism and look what happened to them just a week and a half ago. They got clobbered on the West Coast and Northeast which are the areas most culturally similiar to Canada, lost all Great Lake states including the normally red state of Indiana. Lost most of the suburbs including many such as Loudon County, Virginia, DuPage County, Illinois, Jefferson County, Colorado, and Riverside County, California which almost always go Republican. Also got clobbered amongst non-whites who now make up 26% of the electorate and faired poorly amongst those under 30 and the educated population. They did well in the South which is the area with the least incommon with Canada and did well amongst rural white males over 50 (the exact same demographic the Reform Party did well amongst). And all this happened in the United States which is far more conservative than Canada. So if ideological conservatism cannot sell in the most conservative country in the Western world, it certainly won't in Canada.

So my point in summary is its a choice of slightly right of centre policies or centrist to left wing ones. The former will happen if the party is only slightly right of centre while the latter will happen if it veers too far to the right (i.e. they will lose the election). Right wing conservatism isn't going to happen in Canada any time in the near future period.