Canada: Democracy renewed

Canada: Democracy renewed

This is one of the more cogent, complete, and forward-looking analyses of yesterday’s election in Canada. I will try to find more and post them below.

Today, Canadian democracy is renewed. Voters have asked Stephen Harper not just to form a government; they have asked him to restore faith in government… Mr. Harper needs to remember Canadians elected him on the basis of his platform. While no one can predict what future contingencies the country may face, Canadians should, in the main, get the government they were promised…

The Conservatives should not govern from a position dictated purely by ideology, but neither should they govern like Liberals. By presenting Mr. Harper with a relatively slim minority, Canadians are indicating they want change but not revolution. This is an exciting time for the Conservative party. It is a new entity, and an unproven one. This government could set the tone of Canadian conservatism for a generation.

It is also an exciting time for the Liberal party, although Liberals may not appreciate this the morning after their defeat. The party has a chance to start fresh, to distance itself from the Chretien era, from sponsorship, from complacency, from scandal. Conservatives had to sojourn in the wilderness a decade ago, and they came back renewed – different, yes, but renewed. It is time for Liberals to do the same.

As for Canada, it has remade itself. The challenges ahead will be new challenges. The very fact of that change is good for democracy, and good for this country.

Does this mean you don’t have to sneak acoss the border and live in a corner of our basement?
Congratulations!

[quote=Strider]Does this mean you don’t have to sneak acoss the border and live in a corner of our basement?
Congratulations!
[/quote]

No more sneaking around for me. See that moving truck down the street? That’s me. And my things. :slight_smile: You’re going to make the back yard into a hockey rink, right?

Well, a swimming pool, anyway. It doesn’t get cold enough. But there’s a rink not too far away.

[quote=Strider]Does this mean you don’t have to sneak acoss the border and live in a corner of our basement?
Congratulations!
[/quote]

This may temporarily stop or even reverse the persecution of Christians in Canada. :thumbsup:

(I am not saying they kill Christians in Canada or anything like that… they just send Christians to jail for speaking the Truth)

Ani, one question.

Was the Conservative Party of old (in the 80s & before) more socially/culturally conservative than the “New” Conservative Party that we see today?

BTW: thanks for the article, it was very informative.

[quote=Hildebrand]Ani, one question.

Was the Conservative Party of old (in the 80s & before) more socially/culturally conservative than the “New” Conservative Party that we see today?

BTW: thanks for the article, it was very informative.
[/quote]

Let’s put it this way: the party led by Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney in the 80’s was called the Progressive Conservative Party, denoting socially “progressive” policies combined with fiscally conservative ones. It was generally dominated by a faction known as “red Tories” which as far as I can tell were actually Liberals under a different name.

A few years ago, this party merged with the Canadian Alliance Party to form the Conservastive Party of Canada under Stephen Harper’s leadership. Social conservativism hasn’t been a blip on the Canadian landscape out side of Western Canada for a long time.

In the early 90’s, the socially conservative Reform Party rose to popularity as a regional party in the West. This party developed into the Canadian Alliance during an earlier effort to merge with the Conservatives and gain ground east of Manitoba. The Canadian Alliance remained largely socially conservative.

During our last election prior to this one, Harper’s reputation as a social conservative probably cost them the election, but this time voters were so fed up with the Liberals that enough Ontario and Quebec voters decided to give him a chance for the Conservatives to squeak out a minority government.

Harper will need to tread very carefully here. There is still a lot of fear in the East that he will try and move forward socially conservative policies. This needs to be a case of moving gently forward for conservatives in Canada.

[quote=Hildebrand]Ani, one question.

Was the Conservative Party of old (in the 80s & before) more socially/culturally conservative than the “New” Conservative Party that we see today?

BTW: thanks for the article, it was very informative.
[/quote]

I’ve been wondering about that lately, I’ll offer my two cents, Ani can agree or disagree if he or she likes.
I found Mulroney to be fairly liberal at least fiscally in the sense that he really really ran up the deficit. Then he brought in the GST (tax) which he said replaced the “manufacturer’s tax” - something no one ever saw. Then he turned around and said the purpose of the GST was to pay down the public debt. So fiscally, Liberal I would say but with all the Conservative connections.
Socially/culturally I don’t remember as many of the issues being challenged as they are now, it was a different age. But he contributed to the social issues which are now coming to a head in our age.
Annual immigration figures if you consider that a social issue at least tripled between 1984 (88,000) and 1992 (248,000).
Anynow I have to head out but I wanted to comment more on the fiscal side of things I hadn’t thought about the social as much.

[quote=Lapsed]Let’s put it this way: the party led by Prime Minister Brian Mulrooney in the 80’s was called the Progressive Conservative Party, denoting socially “progressive” policies combined with fiscally conservative ones. It was generally dominated by a faction known as “red Tories” which as far as I can tell were actually Liberals under a different name.

[/quote]

pretty much my reading too, the “red Tory” thing that Liberals didn’t mind

[quote=Hildebrand]This may temporarily stop or even reverse the persecution of Christians in Canada. :thumbsup:

(I am not saying they kill Christians in Canada or anything like that… they just send Christians to jail for speaking the Truth)
[/quote]

Or sue them. Or bellow nasty things at them on the street.

Yes, I think this change in the political scene might enforce the religious part of the Charter and the Human Rights Code which have to date been plunging into irrelevance. And maybe not. We’ll see. It is up to us to write our mps and drive it home that Catholics are the largest religious group in Canada.

[quote=Lapsed]Harper will need to tread very carefully here. There is still a lot of fear in the East that he will try and move forward socially conservative policies. This needs to be a case of moving gently forward for conservatives in Canada.
[/quote]

Thank you, Lapsed, for giving that history.

I think in a general sense incrementalism in moving the social conservative agenda – or as I prefer to call it: the Culture of Life – is what is indicated. Incrementalism has been working in the States. If it ain’t broke, I’m not into fixing it.

However, Harper does not have the mandate to move forward with a social conservative agenda – incremental or not. It would be counter democratic for him to abuse his position in this way and it would be counter productive because the opposition parties would give him a vote of non-confidence and then the Canadian electorate would crush him at the polls.

Harper’s mandate is to pass the Federal Accountability Act.

Beyond that, Harper’s mandate is to find common ground among the most pressing issues as understood by his party and the opposition parties. From that common ground, legislation will be passed.

We can expect the common ground with the Bloq to go ahead first. Much of this is not legislative but directive. Quebec – and the other provinces – will be given more profile internationally. And the fiscal imbalance will be balanced.

Balancing the fiscal imbalance will win huge brownie points with the electorate because the Liberals balanced their budgets by downloading major expense items to the provinces and to the municipalities.

Once the provinces and municipalities start experiencing prosperity, they will be happier campers toward Harper’s party. Why, Toronto might consider sitting on the Canadian map as a big hulking red Liberal blob!

[quote=Lost&Found]Ani can agree or disagree if he or she likes.
[/quote]

I’m good with ‘she.’ Thank you for your insights into fiscal conservatism. I would be interested in hearing your further views on Mulroney’s fiscal vision for Canada when you get back.

Mulroney also is remembered for Meech Lake (re the ratification of the new Canadian constitution among the provinces and Quebec being stuck out in the cold). And frankly I’m not the one to talk about that. But that was a very very important change in the way Canadians see themselves. It was the beginning of the chink in the wall that may still bring the whole house crashing down.

Who are we?

Are we the product of an English fiction designed to trick French Canada and Aboriginal Canada into siding with the English against the Americans after the American Revolution?

Am I English? Am I French? Am I First Nations? Or am I an immigrant with no connection to any of that superimposed history? Duh, yeah, I think so. Just because I am not English, French, or First Nations does not mean I am American.

How do we define ourselves?

I do not define myself as not English, French, First Nation, or American. I am what you see. Someone whose feet grow into the land where I live. Someone who gratefully took on the mantle of an adopted ancestry; that is that I belong to those whom the land found before me. I belong to the land which accepts me and to my adopted ancestors who struggled to make this home and who struggled to defend this home. The land itself found us. We belong here. We are not orphans.

Very good answers to my question. :yup:

I like the label of the 1980s Conservative Party: “red Tories”.

I understand the color red = left wing.

Not like here in America where the color of the far left is the color of the right wing party. And the color of conservatism is the color of the left wing party. :whacky:

A very forwarding article, long but worthwhile:

The end of Canadian conservatism?

It could be argued that one of the central reasons for the continuing failure of the Canadian Right since the 1960s is the ongoing establishment of vast, liberal-leaning governmental, juridical, media, academic, educational, and corporate structures - a nexus of interests some have called “the managerial-therapeutic regime” - which could be characterized as socially liberal and economically conservative. There is also the fact that “North American” pop-culture is the primary “lived cultural reality” for most people in Canada, which tends to reinforce socially liberal, consumerist/consumptionist, and antinomian attitudes, especially among the young. Unlike in most other Western countries, where various countervailing factors of various kinds exist to the hegemony of the managerial-therapeutic regime, current-day Canada is probably an example of such a managerial-therapeutic system in its “purest” form…

Some of these countervailing factors in the United States include such things as the far greater saliency of the military, the far greater presence of organized religion (both in regard to fundamentalist Protestants and traditionalist Catholics), homeschooling as a major social trend, the existence of probably hundreds of more traditional-leaning private colleges, and a large network of right-leaning think-tanks and publications - which together are part of what some have called the “Right Nation.” At the same time, the United States has a more robust tradition of independent-minded, left-wing, anti-corporate, ecological, or agrarian dissent, such as that typified by Ralph Nader, Christopher Lasch, Rachel Carson, Helen and Scott Nearing, and Wendell Berry…

It could be argued that social, political, cultural, and economic life in Canada – lacking, in fact, either an authentic Right or Left – has therefore become the least subject to popular will and democratic input, indeed, it could be called “post-democratic.” The lack of robust democratic participation and input in Canada should be of concern to theorists across the political spectrum. Insofar as the system maintains itself through massive “prior constraint” against a very broad array of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, its pretense to be upholding democracy is questionable. Such a profound lack of equilibrium is profoundly harmful to a more “ideal-typical” form and exercise of democracy. Trying to continue to exist in such a context, the Canadian Right may well be on the fast track to extinction…

Given the direction of development of historical, social, cultural, and economic processes in Canada over the last four decades, and the various factors mentioned above – the incoherence of the articulation of a “counter-ethic,” the hardening of a once-robust parliamentary democracy into a “managerial-therapeutic regime,” the very low profile of any possibly competing countervalent power-centres such as the military and churches, the increasing centralization of the polity in the federal government, the prevalence of “North American” pop-culture with its amplification of socially-liberal, consumerist, and antinomian attitudes, and the various structural and cultural political problems for the Canadian Right – notably their lack of appeal to Quebec and “white ethnics”, and the fewness of “minority conservatives” in Canada – it could be argued that the Canadian Right is approaching extinction in Canada. The future of Canadian politics is therefore very likely to move in the direction of a “post-democratic” and *de facto *“one-party” system - which will be overwhelmingly socially liberal and economically conservative.

And isn’t that what I said previously had been the hallmark of Premier Harris’s utopian conservative regime in the Province of Ontario? I articulated this way: that his ends were conservative but his means were socialist.

Another long but worthwhile article:

A common observation about politics north and south of the 49th parallel is that social conservatism is a potent political force in the United States, but it barely registers on the political radar screen in Canada… So what are the underlying reasons for the absence of a politically viable social conservatism in Canada? …three stand out as significant and (often) inter-related:
[list=1]
*]the lack of conservative infrastructure such as foundations, think tanks, and publications;
*]the failure to organize and become part of a larger conservative coalition;
*]Charter-era politics.
[/list]All these factors contribute to the poverty of public discourse on moral issues…

That there is a paucity of conservative Canadian publications and think tanks is obvious. Conservatives here have no popular journal of opinion. There is no Canadian equivalent to the National Review or The Weekly Standard. The Western Standard, which rose out of the ashes of the now defunct Alberta Report, is limited by its newsweekly format. Social conservatives have a regular voice in several religious publications and The Interim, Canada’s life and family issues newspaper, but there is nothing that is broadly conservative…

Canada’s conservative think tanks - the Fraser Institute and several regional ones such as the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies - focus on economic issues and narrowly defined social policy such as healthcare and education. American think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and the Heritage Foundation are broadly conservative, addressing economic, cultural and foreign policy matters…

In Canada, social conservatives have not been part of the conservative coalition and the religious right has not emerged as a political factor. There are several reasons for this. One is that socially conservative groups often do not work together, let alone with others… there needn’t be any attempt to promulgate ideas, formulate policies and persuade others of their efficacy because neither the citizenry nor their legislators will have the final say on matters such as abortion and same-sex marriage. As Messrs. Morton and Knopf say, it invites politicians to abdicate their responsibility to legislate…

the infrastructure in place that helped get Reagan and the Bushes elected over the past twenty-five years was created in the 1940s and 1950s. It will take a long time for the seeds that need to be planted to grow into something that is politically viable.

Another long but worthwhile article. This one is about the history of Stephen Harper. It also gives a good synopsis of the changes in the Conservative movement in Canada since the Trudeau era.

Stephen Harper and the road to power

http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/images/cp/harper_5990651.jpghttp://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/images/blank.gif

But when it comes to Canada’s future, Harper has often spoken of the need to redesign the political equivalent of the entire electrical grid… the Toronto-born Harper has been a staunch believer in smaller government, traditional values and letting citizens have greater control over their lives. To him, that once meant whittling down or eliminating some social programs, business development agencies and the costly gun registry in order to reduce taxes and put money and power back into the hands of Canadians. It also meant giving MPs the right to vote freely in the House of Commons on matters of social conscience in order to represent the views of their constituents…

Trudeau [a Liberal prime minister known in the US as the Magus of the North] was one of the young Stephen Harper’s earliest political inspirations, in fact. Admiration for the then-prime minister led him to join the Liberal student club a friend founded in the mid-1970s at Richview Collegiate in Etobicoke, Ont. That admiration ended when Trudeau enraged the West by bringing in the National Energy Program in 1980… Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and William Buckley left him with a profound respect for the workings of a free-market economy and a set of neo-conservative beliefs that were being put into political practice by… Thatcher and… Reagan…

The old parties didn’t seem to have room for reform along those lines, so Harper was intrigued when he heard about a new political movement that was starting up in the West, a movement he would soon help to become the Reform Party of Canada. He drafted much of the party’s original policy and later accompanied its first MP, Deborah Grey, to Ottawa to help craft her speeches as he continued to be Reform’s chief policy officer… When Reform became the Canadian Alliance and Stockwell Day imploded as leader during the 2000 election campaign, Harper started thinking about party politics again.

What followed was a hard-fought campaign during which his volunteers managed to stave off an influx of new party members the Day team recruited from conservative church congregations, a development that Harper deplored in one interview. “My view is that the purpose of a Christian church is to promote the message and the life of Christ. It is not to promote a particular political party or candidacy. I don’t think this is good religion, besides being bad politics at the same time.” In the end, he defeated Day to take the Alliance’s top job in 2002. A year later he succeeded in his quest to reunite the right, striking a deal with PC Leader Peter MacKay to merge Canada’s two conservative parties [the [color=red]Alliance

and the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party of Canada].

http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/images/bio_harper_hockey.jpg
*Stephen Harper *
*laces up for the *
*Leaside Lions, *
around 1970.

Put an envelope over the photo of Harper at the top of this post, from the bottom of his eyes to the top of his head. Who does he look like?

**RELATED READING:

**Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada, by William Johnson, published in 2005 by McClelland & Stewart Ltd.

The Day B.C. Quit Canada, by John Haskett and Michael Haskett, published in 2003 by Durango.

Democracy Challenged: How to End One-Party Rule in Canada, by Howard Grafftey, published in 2002 by Vehicule Press.

Rebuilding Canadian Party Politics, by R. Kenneth Carty, William Cross and Lisa Young, published in 2000 by the University of British Columbia.

britishbattles.com/waterloo/images/napoleon-200.jpg
Wha??? Are you thinking Napoleon “the later years”???

Oh the irony - comparing our new PM with famous dictator in a thread titled Canada: Democracy renewed.

Given how much Jack Layton resembles Vladamir Lenin (anyone see the photo on the cover on McLean’s a few weeks back?), perhaps Martin’s replacement as Liberal leader will look like Mao Tse-tung.

[quote=Lapsed]Oh the irony - comparing our new PM with famous dictator in a thread titled Canada: Democracy renewed.

Given how much Jack Layton resembles Vladamir Lenin (anyone see the photo on the cover on McLean’s a few weeks back?), perhaps Martin’s replacement as Liberal leader will look like Mao Tse-tung.
[/quote]

:smiley: :thumbsup:

He could look a lot like Frank McKenna;)

here let me help you guys with that. :slight_smile:

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