March 10, 2012

Canadian Conservatives: “You are not that party”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Government, Liberty — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:27

Andrew Coyne’s presentation to the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa:

What I believe in are a set of principles having to do with the freedom of the individual, the usefulness but not infallibility of markets, and the legitimate but limited role of the state. There are, in brief, a few things we need government to do, based on well-established criteria on which there is a high degree of expert consensus. The task is simply to get government to stick to those things, rather than waste scarce resources on things that could be done as well or better by other means: that is, government should only do what only government can do.

As I say, these ideas are not novel, or controversial. Indeed, you would find support for them, to a greater or lesser degree, across the political spectrum.

Nevertheless, there was a party, once, that believed in these things, to a somewhat greater extent than the other parties. That party called itself conservative, whether with a small or a large C, so I suppose you could call the things it believed conservatism. But you are no longer that party.

For example, that party favoured balanced budgets. But you are not that party. In fact, you boast of how your decision to add $150-billion to the national debt saved the economy.

That party favoured cutting or at least controlling spending, after the massive spree of the Liberals’ last years. But you are not that party. In fact, you boast of how you have increased spending by 7% per year — $37-billion in one year!

That party favoured a simpler, flatter tax system, that left people free to decide how to spend, save or invest their money for themselves. But you are not that party. In fact, you boast of the many gimmicks and gew-gaws with which you have festooned the tax code.

That party favoured abolishing corporate welfare. But you are not that party. In fact you boast of the handouts you make, often accompanied by ministers or indeed MPs bearing outsized novelty cheques. In some cases, you even put the Conservative logo on them.

The story of the last decade is how the rock-ribbed small-c conservatives of the old Reform Party were tamed, neutered, and blinkered into becoming a blue-painted Liberal Party. It worked, in the sense of getting their hands on the levers of power, but their souls were tainted, corrupted, and eventually disposed of in the process.


  1. I have a problem blaming the CPC for the increase in the deficit since 2008. When Obama won the ultimate prize and announced in early 2009 that he was going to spend his way out of the recession the left in Canada screamed for the CPC to follow suit. Thankfully the CPC did not spend to the same level as Obama did, in fact, when looked at in scale they spent 1/2 of the amount that Obama spent (O spent about $1 Tril and the CPC spent about $50 Bill, if you scale USA to Canada as 10 to 1 then we spent 1/2). To now say that the CPC favored the debt they piled up is wrong. The press, the opposition and many of the opposition’s supporters demanded that we follow Obama into oblivion. And we only ventured part way into the cave.

    Yes, the CPC isn’t what all conservative wish it was. Lord knows I would love to see them cut the public service in half and use that saved money to cut taxes. I would love them to stop all grants to all entities, business and arts and everyone with their hand out. Let them get their money some other way, beg from supporters, find investors, rob banks, I don’t care, I just don’t want the government handing out money. They can also close down BDC Canada, what a joke… make a one time payment to all card carrying “aboriginals” and have done with the Dept of Aboriginals and Northern Affairs. Let Nunavut, NWT and the Yukon be treated like all the other provinces, in fact, call the provinces and get rid of the territory moniker. They could save billions just cutting out the dead wood in the public service, cutting grants to all, and closing the Dept of A and NA.

    But they won’t stop giving away money, it buys votes. They may pare the PS back a little, but it will be with much resistance from the unions and their supporters, the NDP, Blocheads, and Liberals. They will not settle with the Aboriginals because it keeps a whole department “employed”. I like the statement someone once said that all public service government employees should not be considered in employment numbers. They are funded by the taxpayer, they are not employed. Even my fellow members of the CF should be in that boat. But at least we have a specific purpose that cannot be contracted out, defence of your country is the one thing that you can’t hire someone to do for you… Machiavelli knew that 🙂

    Anyway, I have blathered on long enough. The CPC is the only “conservative” alternative in Canada today. Who else is there? Not the Liberals, not the NDP, not the Watermelon Party or the Blochead Traitors. The stupidest thing the right could do in Canada at this time is to create another “Reform Party” that would split the right and allow the Liberals, or heaven forbid, the NDP, to take power.

    Comment by Dwayne — March 10, 2012 @ 15:09

  2. It is my opinion that no true Conservative government will be allowed to survive on the international stage. This is why Harper has had to appear to pull to the left. The UN, the IMF, the World Bank, The Trilateral Commission are all progressive constructs. Their goal is a global government under the UN (see Campaign for a UN Parliament). As such, using the EU and the UN bureaucracy as a template, national governments around the world have had to create mirror departments to “talk” to the EU/UN bureaucrats on their terms. Obama is attempting to drag the USA into this global bureaucracy by appointing Czars that are the equivalent of our commissioners or ministers. Any national government attempting to pare down this bureaucracy is going to feel the heat internationally. There will be press accusations that Canada will be ignored, that Canada is an embarrassment, and the final insult Canada is not respecting “solidarity”. We are already seeing this. We now have agitations by the OWS crowd, AVAAZ, Lead Now (offshoot of Moveon.org) which are all funded by American foundation money who absolutely hate the idea Canada is going right. They thought they had the world stitched up when Obama was elected in the US. The EU was ready and waiting, Canada would go along. All they needed was the right person in the US. Well the world tilted upside down for them. They got the right person in the US and it is my opinion that the person they were banking on to be Canada’s PM was Michael Ignatieff, another Harvard associate. Instead, they got Stephen Harper. The global movers and shakers don’t like it when their actors go off script.

    Comment by Wallhouse Wart — March 11, 2012 @ 10:44

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