Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Forward, Not Backward

The Conservatives are looking for a new leader. But they have a lot of work to do before they hold a leadership convention. Hugh Segal writes that the last election proved how barren the party has become:

A campaign in which candidates are barred from attending all-candidates’ meetings, or responding to the media, is not a serious effort to seek and earn public favour as, in a democracy, incumbent governments must do. The respectful tone and thoughtful policy proposals that typified Stephen Harper’s earlier campaigns were absent. The reversion to nativism and the tin ear on humanitarian and human-rights issues were, if intended, shameful; if accidental, then grossly incompetent.

Under Harper, the party became a personality cult and forgot who they were. They stopped asking questions, assuming they had all the answers. Segal  believes the following questions must be asked and answered:

Are we to continue repeating the mutual distrust between First Nations and the rest of Canada, or can we build something more inclusive? What is a real partnership and how would the Conservative view of society, identity, duty and opportunity differ from the present assurances?

Is the previous “promise much but underdeliver” stance on Canada’s military deployability the best we can do? Are there other alternatives to the hopeful and aspirational “sunny ways” now in place, and to the Cold War rhetoric that seemed dominant over the past decade? Is there a solid world view that eschews both pessimism and unbridled optimism for a more nuanced, purpose-driven and pragmatic global stance?

The former senator has always been a progressive conservative. Under Harper, the party became fixated on the past -- on 19th century economics, on resources that powered the Industrial Revolution and on social structures best suited to feudal societies.

Before they choose a new leader, the Conservatives will have to learn to look forward, not backward.

 Image: dammann.com.au


Steve said...

All nations are now lifeboats on a sinking world. I want my goverment to deal effectivly with the constrainsts the human pestilince has realized. We need to let the 3rd world make its own history. We can lend a hand but not cut off our arms. We should stop taking immigrants from the 3rd world. The reason being is that these are exactly the draft picks those teams need.

Les Smith said...

"The respectful tone and thoughtful policy proposals that typified Stephen Harper’s earlier campaigns..."
uh-mmm ...
He *is* kidding, right?

Owen Gray said...

I have to admit that, when I read that line, I had the same reaction as you did, Les. Perhaps Segal is trying to be diplomatic.

Owen Gray said...

There is a huge migration crisis going on around the world, Steve -- not unlike the waves of migration which took lace in the middle of the 19th century.

The Mound of Sound said...

I concur with Steve and Les. The world, Canada included, is being overtaken by events. It's time for more attention on consolidating and reinforcing Canada's strengths and advantages that we'll sorely need in the decades ahead.That includes a made-to-measure environmental policy that frees us from this destabilizing petro-economy and produces a rapid transition to an over-capacity alternative energy regime. In a more erratic climate, we'll be needing far more energy, not less. Getting that infrastructure programme underway is an immediate problem. We can't leave it for the next government or the administration after that.

And, yes, I think Segal is trying to soothe the Reform element that has been undergoing a rough patch lately.

Owen Gray said...

I'm not sure how well all our political parties understand that we're being overtaken by events, Mound. Sometimes I think they see things the way William F. Buckley saw them: He wanted to "stand athwart history and yell stop."

He never understood that we simply can't do that.