#65 – For those who cannot tell left from right.

Liberals should leave it to the Reform-Conservative coalition to own the right wing of Canadian politics. There are far more Canadians who want to support a middle of the road party. And if we liberals appear a bit left wing occasionally, it is probably because we want to do something for the good of Canada.

People who deny there are left and right wings in Canadian politics seem to be mainly from the right of the political spectrum. It must be because the right wing has much to answer for and they want to escape the blame. This should only be true of the Conservative Party but in the Liberal Party, the active presence of a right wing is hard to deny. Right wing Liberals also have much to answer for over the past two decades.

It started with Liberal leader Jean Chrétien before he even defeated Conservative Kim Campbell to win his first majority government. Chrétien’s support for Brian Mulroney’s Charlottetown Accord was seen as contrary to Liberal Party principles and this was confirmed to many liberals when former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau came out of retirement to give his famous speech against the accord at La Maison Egg Roll. Despite this rift in the party, more people hated Brian Mulroney’s right wing Conservatives than were annoyed with Jean Chrétien.

The famous “Red Book” of temporary fame in 1993 that gave detail of the Liberal Party policy was soon cast aside. Popular policies such as national child care and dumping the hated Goods and Services Tax (GST) were quickly forgotten while a promise to revamp Unemployment Insurance was kept in a non-liberal way. Paul Martin, one of the authors of the Red Book, had the name changed to Employment Insurance and payments to the unemployed decreased.

Finance Minister Paul Martin’s hard work at balancing the budget kept many right wing voters tied to the Liberals through the turn of the century. He balanced the country’s books but it was at the expense of angering provincial politicians as he reduced transfer payments. His ill-conceived austerity programs can also take the dubious honour of starting the ball rolling to effectively reduce food inspection in Canada to the point that Listeriosis could reach out from a prepared meats plant to kill Canadians.

Laissez-faire economic theory is just one of the trademarks of right wing politicians. Status quo thinking is also part of it, as are silly monarchists, narrow-minded right-to-life advocates, blood thirsty pro-death penalty supporters, anti-gun control freaks and other oppressive groups who band together for their own special tea party.

While this right-wing collection does add up to a sizeable number of our fellow citizens, by and large Canadians are much more tolerant and fair than the right wing wants to believe. Canadians do not believe in a heavy handed judiciary, they would welcome a national daycare program, a federal drug program to match Medicare, more generous treatment of seniors and other programs that can increase the dignity of life for all.

– 30 –

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Comments are closed.