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Friday, January 30, 2009

Conservatives in revolt over budget

The budget is a disaster. We've covered some of the reactions of grassroots and prominent Conservative supporters here (a few non-supporters as well).

What started as grumbling is beginning to look a little bit more like a revolt, as Conservative stalwarts and pundits begin to vent their frustrations at a Conservative government abandoning fiscal conservatism.

From the Globe and Mail:

His biggest threat is supposed to be new Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, but the sharpest fire being directed at Stephen Harper these days is coming from the rock-ribbed Conservatives that comprise the base of the party he leads.

The criticism has come from several quarters, including Tom Flanagan, Mr. Harper's close friend and former top aide, and the cadre of young activists who make up a good portion of the party's shock troops. Even one of the country's most affable senior Conservatives, former human resources minister Monte Solberg, has issued warnings.

They're unsettled over a federal stimulus budget that includes a $64-billion deficit over the next two years and five years of projected red ink.

“There's a lot of feeling of betrayal. We don't need a second Liberal Party,” said Tasha Kheiriddin, who teaches conservative politics at McGill University.

“It is extremely frustrating, as a small-c conservative, to look at this.” [...]

Other key Conservatives agreed.

“This is survival without any sense of direction,” said Mr. Flanagan, a former Conservative campaign chief.

Mr. Flanagan said the budget may cause a number of party members to curtail donations.

“I think it's absolutely essential for the party to keep its core supporters onside, and there wasn't that much in this budget that really speaks to those core supporters,” he said. [...]

Meanwhile, Mr. Solberg said in an interview that while he believes the budget is popular, he is concerned that it could lead to long-term deficits. In an earlier newspaper column, Mr. Solberg advised Mr. Harper to use the time he has bought to draft a compelling conservative vision for the future.

“The Conservatives have easily escaped to fight another day, but what are they fighting for?” he asked.

Gerry Nicholls, a former colleague of Mr. Harper's at the right-wing National Citizens' Coalition, said he thinks the Prime Minister has lost his way.

“The Conservative party is conservative in name only. It makes me yearn for the days when we had a relatively fiscally conservative leader like Jean Chrétien,” Mr. Nicholls said, referring to the former Liberal prime minister's victory in slaying the deficit in the mid-1990s and paying down federal debt.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on January 30, 2009 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

Comments

This budget and the politics that spawned it is why I'm an Alberta separatist... The CPC will do anything to hold power, even become Liberals.

Posted by: dan | 2009-01-30 10:08:41 AM


It's a lot like a plane dumping fuel to stay in the air long enough to reach the runway. I'm afraid the runway is not nearly as close as the pilot calculated.

Posted by: dp | 2009-01-30 10:18:00 AM


Principled conservatives and most libertarians don't have too much trouble avoiding the mobs up Obama's ass. I guess PMSH feels he has to act on behalf of the majority, even if they are brain dead. Bag-licking the POTUS to hold on to markets for the future and at the same time appeasing Iggy and the Video Professor? What else makes any sense?

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-01-30 10:28:30 AM


The "party's" over. Only the "true believers" believe they have a "conservative" party. It was killed off when they had the merger with the Politically Correct (PCs)

A Party Called Reform
By Stephen J. Gray

Once there was a party called Reform
Good ideas from it were born
But the eastern elites did not like its success
So they created a political mess

We must merge with the Red Tories
And so began this dirty story
Referendum and recall got dumped along the way
Appeasing Quebec was the new mainstay

Copying the Liberals was the new strategy
Hypocrisy was a virtue in large capacity
This was a “new” government in Liberal coats
But, hey Red Tories want liberal votes

Getting a majority is the Red Tory aim
And if they get it, they will have to stay the same
Liberals under a Red Tory Banner
All will be well in Canadiana

The elites are happy, that the two parties are the same
And Ontario and Quebec still control the game
This is what happens, and some did warn
But they paid no heed, they wanted rid of Reform

Stephen J. Gray
May 21, 2006
[email protected] Website http://www.geocities.com/graysinfo

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2009-01-30 10:30:24 AM


The situation, as near as I can figure it, is this:

1. We are in the words recession since the 1930s.

2. The Conservatives initially resisted the temptation to spend.

3. A possibly unconstitutional revolt threatened to dethrone the Conservatives. (Coalitions whose members outnumber the ruling party are constitutional, but coalitions whose official members do NOT are a completely different matter.)

4. In the event the coalition seized power (which they promised to do in the case of a budget not to their liking), they would have started spending anyway, probably directing far more funding to dubious causes like social housing and safe-injection sites--that is, if any province other than Québec received any at all.

So the choice, as I deduce from the above, amounts to this:

1. Allow the coalition to gain power, guaranteeing an intensely destructive and unproductive spending binge, and give the keys to 24 Sussex to Gilles Duceppe; or

2. Retain power and at least direct the now-inevitable spending spree towards more reasonable and productive ends.

If there's a third option, would someone please enlighten me?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-30 11:00:02 AM


There is no basic diifference bewtween the new Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, and the old leader Stephen Harper these days for they are both liberals politicians who want to stay in power at all costs.. they sell themslves to the highest bidders. They will sell any Albertans as well.

Posted by: thenonconfromer | 2009-01-30 11:14:32 AM


Hey, Nonconfromer (is your misspelling of "non-comformer" part of your non-conformance?), could you please tell me, given the fact that had Harper done otherwise, he would probably be out of power right now and the Liberals spending even more than he just did, what Harper should have done--for the good of the country?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-30 11:48:14 AM


Here's a third option, Shane:

Conservatives fall to hugely unpopular coalition. Conservatives retain their credibility on fiscal matters. Conservatives win next election with giant majority, after the massive spending fails to work, and after everyone in Canada is sufficiently furious at the (possibly unconstitutional) coup.

Also, no grassroots revolt, which was entirely predictable.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-01-30 11:54:50 AM


Peter,

There you go injecting logic into the conversation again. There will be none of that.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-01-30 12:06:34 PM


Jaws,

That option is entirely unrealistic. It assumes that politicians can sometimes act on principle, even when their own careers are at risk.

And we know that ain't true.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-01-30 12:10:24 PM


You can't please every body every time! I think at time such as this the budge is very good. Our Prime Minster and his government have covered every avenue as possible. The only thing we need to do as Canadian citizen or who are living in this free land is to work and pay taxes. Those street kids needing re-generation as they are all able to work why staying idle and begging for change! Why not "BE THE CHANGE" instead of sucking up every penny. Drug addicts, get treatment and be a blessing in our society instead of getting all drugged out and brain cells dying in there. Stop complaining people, try giving thanks, you will notice the change from within!

Posted by: Doctor doo little | 2009-01-30 1:23:25 PM


Okay, I'll try that "giving thanks" thing:

I give thanks to all the courageous conservatives who have stood up against this outrageous budget.

Hey, you know what, I do feel better.

Thanks, Gerry! Thanks, Monte! Thanks, Tasha! Thanks, Tom! Thanks everybody who sees this budget for the absolute disaster that it is!

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-01-30 1:32:26 PM


I just got finished Tasha Kheiriddin's book "Rescue the Right" and was curious what her response would be.
As far as this claim that Flaherty did consultatiosn - well he sure the fuck did not consult me. What I mean is I don't recall any townhall meetings, do you? He consulted those that would give him a predictable response. I mean what else would city leaders and provincial leadership say other than "show me the money"? He obvioulsy listened to the left wing CCPA - so why didn't he consider that fucking advice of the CTF or NCC?

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-30 2:55:30 PM


Shane the alternative was obvious - balance the budget and dare the opposition to vote it down - they wouldn't have dared.

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-30 2:57:13 PM


OK - I guess my post had too many profanities to get posted. I was curious to what Tasha would say since she advises pragmatism in her book "Rescuing Canada's Right"

Now, I simply do not recall any Townhall Meetings with Flaherty do you? He said he consulted Canadians. BS. He consulted the predictable crowd - the socialist Canadian Policy for Policy Alternatives, Provincial leaders and city leaders. - what do you think those voices will say? Why did he ignore advice from the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, or the National Citizens Coalition.

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-30 3:05:43 PM


No, it's up, Faramir. Curse words and all.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-01-30 3:11:18 PM


I think this budget sucks! The only problem is that I think the Liberals and NDP would be worse. If Harper had lost the vote, I don't think we would have had an immediate election. I think that we would have had a number of years of a Liberal-NDP coalition government. The problem is that once in, the Liberals stay in for long periods(1993-2006, 1963-1979, 1935-1957). They stay in and expand wasteful government programs. Hooking up with the NDP will make them even worse. The only way to avoid this I think would have been a majority conservative government. A majority would have allowed Harper to submit his December plan(balanced budget, cutting public funding of parties). This government is screwed until the right finally wins most of the seats in parliment. People have to face reality. The NDP are stuck in the 1970's(when the party was rooting for the USSR in the cold war). The Bloc is not a real party. It does financial shakedowns like the mob. The liberals have over the last 70 years destroyed our judeo-christian society, trashed our military and forced(particularly through Trudeau) scandanavian socialism on us. Martin and Chretrien were all about making minor adjustments to the socialist behemoth that Trudeau, Pearson, and other liberals dumped on us.

Posted by: Jason | 2009-01-30 3:33:02 PM


Stephen J. Gray wrote: "The "party's" over. Only the "true believers" believe they have a "conservative" party. It was killed off when they had the merger with the Politically Correct (PCs)"

I hate to say "- ---- --- --": http://www.freedomparty.org/backup/merger.pdf

I suppose the time is right to start writing Part 2.

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-01-30 4:03:27 PM


"Conservatives in revolt over budget:

Should read:

"Conservatives over, Budget Revolting"

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-30 7:40:24 PM


r "From a conservative perspective, the current federal budget offers the worst of all worlds: negligible tax reductions, tremendous spending hikes and massive deficits. A recipe for economic misery, as far removed from the conservative worldview as possible. "

who can doubt that Haper for self survival has sold out all conservatives?

Posted by: Thenonconformer | 2009-01-30 7:40:48 PM


P.M. wrote: "Conservatives fall to hugely unpopular coalition. Conservatives retain their credibility on fiscal matters. Conservatives win next election with giant majority, after the massive spending fails to work, and after everyone in Canada is sufficiently furious at the (possibly unconstitutional) coup."

And what about the state of the country's finances while the coalition is signing the cheques?

The Tories may have hurt themselves. But by doing so they may have avoided hurting the country as much as the coalition would have. Which is more important--the welfare of the CPC, or that of the country?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 12:10:41 AM


Faramir wrote: "Shane the alternative was obvious - balance the budget and dare the opposition to vote it down - they wouldn't have dared."

Three months ago people would have said the opposition wouldn't have dared seize power through a hastily assembled non-coalition with Gilles Duceppe banging the veto gavel. And they would have been just as wrong.

As events both distant and recent have shown us, there is little the LPC will not dare.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 12:19:27 AM


Thenonconformer wrote: "who can doubt that Haper for self survival has sold out all conservatives?"

Umm...how about somebody who's having a devil of a time getting the naysayers to come up with a credible alternative Harper might have pursued?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 12:20:45 AM


This week’s budget has revealed the true colours of most of our politicians in Ottawa — it’s all about saving your skin, not about running the country.
http://www.elmiraindependent.com/news.php?id=1289

Posted by: thenonconformer | 2009-01-31 2:29:27 AM


On a more sinister note, has anyone considered that this might be yet another step towards crashing our currency? There is a movement towards a single North American currency in the works and this might just be an effort by the political elite(central bankers)to destroy the economy in order to look like saviours later on by introducing a new fiat currency, a new economy that will see the beginning of yet another Keynsian bubble.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-31 5:15:26 AM


Nonconformer: "This week’s budget has revealed the true colours of most of our politicians in Ottawa — it’s all about saving your skin, not about running the country.
http://www.elmiraindependent.com/news.php?id=1289"

I say it here; it comes out there. What are you a bot?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 8:38:39 AM


A common currency would hurt Canadian exporters who rely on a low dollar to make their products more attractive overseas. So unless there's a significant upside I'm not aware of, it's hard to imagine Canadians going for it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 8:40:19 AM


So unless there's a significant upside I'm not aware of, it's hard to imagine Canadians going for it.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-31 8:40:19 AM

I like your version better than mine, still I'm leery of the NAU thing...

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-31 6:12:58 PM


Who cares what Ottawa does. It is no longer relevant.

Elect western MP's in the same ridings as federal ridings.

Have them set in a legislative assembly in Calgary or Saskatoon.

Negotiate terms of separation from the east.

Let's just do it.

Epsi

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-31 11:53:05 PM



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