In defense of dissent.

Is it better to be known for your friends or your enemies? When does a dissenter become the hero? Or is dissent the sad role of the aged curmudgeon? I always admired Pierre Trudeau, father of our present prime minister, for his handling of dissent. He treated it as an intellectual challenge. He also gave as good as he got when the dissent was broached in boorish terms.

This all comes to mind as the premier of Ontario continues to throw dissenters out of his caucus at Queen’s Park. He needs to be careful about that as there are more than a few in his caucus biding their time until the opportunity comes along to use their knives (figuratively) on their inexperienced leader.

It would be very foolish of Ford to heave ten or more of the conservative caucus aside and leave himself with a minority government. It would not be likely to survive for long.

You could name many among his conservative caucus who have differing ambitions and agendas. The conservative party is known for its amalgam of social, fiscal and just plain mean conservatives and the very few who care about their constituents. A populist such as Ford has little political ideology but tends to follow in his father’s footsteps in serving conservativism.

He would probably be surprised at how many of his caucus are quiet believers in American Donald Trump. They admire the Trump bigotry, misogyny and support for the monied class but are also smart enough to keep this admiration out of the public awareness.

If Ford really threw MPP Randy Hillier out of the conservative caucus for being behind the Ontario Landowners, he could be in for a surprise. His rural supporters include the Landowners and he dare not alienate them.

It is probably best to only express dissent if you are not a member of a provincial assembly or federal parliament. It is in a blog such as this that you can complain about the hypocrisy of political leaders—particularly of your own political party.

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