My advice to conservatives among us is just to be what you are. That might be simplistic but there is concern that your party’s philosophy is wandering too far off the mark. One meets many conservatives over the years and I think the problem is that you are losing track of what conservatism is all about.
If your objective is to only win elections then you might consider changing the name of your party to something more upbeat and modern. At one time, your conservatives changed the name to ‘progressive conservatives.’ That was an oxymoron. I think the first progressive conservative I ever met was a populist from Saskatchewan, John George Diefenbaker. He was prime minister at the time. I found him interesting to talk with but when I remembered what he did to the Avro Arrow interceptor project, I was less impressed. I simply did not consider him very progressive.
Being from Ontario, I liked William Davis when he was premier. Bill understood the need to be progressive. He might have talked the talk of being conservative but he was a long way past the austerity of former premier Leslie Frost. Bill had a sense of humour.
But, being a progressive and a liberal, I found that it was better to encourage the progressive liberals and discourage the hide-bound conservatives. To me, the conservative philosophy was a basically selfish approach to life that said “I will look after you after I have looked after myself.” That attitude seems to also encompass the union attitude of “I’m alright, Jack.” Which might explain why people who have so little will vote conservative—against their own interest.
Yet recent experience in the 2021 federal election was that conservative leader Erin O’Toole would promise you anything if you would just vote conservative. I think this confused Canadian voters.
It must have seriously confused many conservative voters. In the Prairies, for example, where more than 50 per cent usually vote conservative as an article of faith, some stayed home and others voted for the extremist right-wing parties. Mr. O’Toole’s pseudo liberalism might be the reason that the extremists have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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