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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Right of Center, eh?

The politics that dares not speak its name:

Respondents were given a series of “value statements” and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with them (strongly or weakly on a scale of 1 to 7). Those receiving majority levels of public support were:

Nothing is more important than family (89 per cent);

Marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman (67 per cent);

Abortion is morally wrong (60 per cent);

Learn from what worked in the past to solve problems (54 per cent);

Better to implement small changes than all at once (54 per cent).

And those who agreed with the following:

Tolerance and moderation are what it's all about to be Canadian (50 per cent);

People holding different values/beliefs make society richer (47 per cent);

We have a responsibility to look after those less fortunate (43 per cent);

Government action is the best way to solve economic problems (31 per cent).

In other words, the Conservative Party of Canada is to the political left of the Canadian mainstream. They're only to the right of the statist echo-chamber that is the Toronto based MSM. Try saying that government action isn't the best way to solve economic problems in polite Toronto society. You'll be sipping that martini by yourself, near the potted plants and the Exit sign. Conservative politicos understand the disparity. What they hear on the doorsteps while canvassing and what gets broadcast by the major networks. The ordinary Canadian isn't stupid or easily duped, he is inattentive. Politics is background noise to daily life. Only bits and pieces get through. Imagine reading only the headlines of a newspaper - which is what most people really do - you get a sense of how spin can easily destroy a politico's career. Imagine if Stephen Harper had had the backbone to call for the dismantling the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Front page headline in the Toronto Star the next day: Harper Attacks Minority Protections, Minority Groups Feel Threatened. What the story would actually say matters little. The implied message is clear: Middle aged white male from Alberta is going after the ethnics. 

Canadian is a more conservative country than is commonly conceded. When asked about actual values and policies, Canadians espouse conservative ones. The conservative label, however, is toxic. It has been painted with a broad and black brush, associated with ignorance, religious fanaticism and bigotry. None of these traits have much real connection with the history of the Canadian Conservative Party. On the contrary, the first Canadian Prime Minister to take seriously the discrimination faced by ethnic minorities was John Diefenbaker. It was the Liberal PM Mackenzie King who restricted Jewish immigration to Canada before the war, a popular policy at the time. The smearing of Canadian conservatives - and by extension classical liberals and libertarians - is an import from the American Left. It's useful piece of mud to be slung when needed.

Posted by Richard Anderson on March 23, 2010 | Permalink


And this is why I don't think they'll get their coveted majority. It's Canadians that vote, not the media. The more principled the conservative voter is the less likely they are to vote for a party that is Conservative in name only. They won't necessarily vote for the other guy either, they'll just stay home.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-03-23 11:01:03 AM

Not that I don't believe you Publius, but I'm always VERY suspicious of polls/surveys. It would be interesting to see the actual survey in question.

Posted by: Charles | 2010-03-23 11:29:48 AM


I understand your skepticism, but I've seen other surveys that back this up. It's also, for me, supported by personal anecdotes. When issues are clearly explained to people they lean more conservative than the MSM. The labels evade the issue.

Farmer Joe,

I don't think the conservative base is disgruntled enough to impact the party's fortunes as much as you suggest. Their hatred for the Liberals is strong enough for them to over look the sell outs. This won't last forever. Remember it took a few years for Mulroney to become hated.

Posted by: Publius | 2010-03-23 12:11:25 PM

Well the base as it stands now has not been strong(big) enough to get them a majority so far. The longer they are in this minority position while continually showing themselves not to be actual conservatives the more likely it is that more and more of the base will simply give up on them. And despite everything the tories have done to try and woo the soft left wing voters(which has been a lot) the poll numbers continually show that they've made no ground there either.

I believe the watershed moment for Mulroney was the GST, although the charlotte town accord would be a close second. Harper has yet to shoot himself in the feet quite so bad as this but with the direction he's going in it's probably only a matter of time.

Posted by: Farmer Joe | 2010-03-23 12:34:37 PM

Has anyone heard that Lawrence Cannon is being prepared to take Stephen Harper's job? Looks like a good choice. Quebeker. Electable. Bilingual. Smart. Sort of a Paul Martin, only not a Liberal.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-03-23 9:06:41 PM

You named Lawrence Cannon and them described Maxime Bernier.

Posted by: Cytotoxic | 2010-03-23 10:54:14 PM

I'm sure I described Cannon. Cannon seems to me to be a best shot at leading Conservatives into a majority with the best of the results of the noted poll and an awakening of Canadians to the best of their heritage, whether old or new Canadians. Stephen Harper has done a great job, in my opinion, and may step aside to give Cannon a chance to take the flack - or credit.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-03-23 11:44:42 PM

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