Friday, October 21, 2016

Lessons Learned?

It's been a year since the Harper government was sent packing. But, Gerry Caplan writes, if those vying to replace Stephen Harper are any indication, their defeat taught the Conservatives nothing:

There’s the widespread view among people within the party that the problem was their “tone.” It’s not at all clear what they think they mean by this, but it seems to have little to do with a series of mean and bigoted policies that failed to appeal to any but the Conservative base.

The Harperites have, so far, not morphed into Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. However, they haven't morphed into anything:

For example, take Kellie Leitch, who seemed at first to be ashamed of her shabby role in the Conservative pledge to establish a tip line to report barbaric cultural practices to the RCMP, but has since doubled down on the very notion.

As a leadership candidate, she is promoting a “discussion” of Canadian values for immigrants. Yet when given an opportunity by interviewers, she refuses to discuss anything except how very, very much she wants to discuss. So she simply advances her meaningless slogan, then repeats it over and over again without any elaboration.

Chris Alexander now claims he loves immigrants. But, Caplan asks, "Who can doubt his sincerity?"

Then there's Maxime Bernier. "Quebec MP Maxime Bernier wants to turn Canada into a libertarian dystopia; he’s the Ayn Rand candidate, beloved no doubt by many impressionable first-year university students."

And, of course, there's Brad Trost:

Someone named Brad Trost – allegedly an MP from Saskatchewan – offers to turn the clock back by repudiating both a woman’s right to choose and same-sex marriage.

The Conservative Party itself entered modern history only in May when its convention voted that marriage need not be defined as between a man and woman, something Canada itself had decided a decade ago. But history is moving far too fast for Mr. Trost and for that third of the convention delegates who voted against the resolution. But early indications are that they are resisting Mr. Trost’s reactionary lure.

Harper's Conservatives were always stuck in the 19th century. The only member of the party who wasn't was Michael Chong. And, for that reason, Chong will face a tough slog for the leadership of the party.

Lessons learned?  There's no evidence of that. 



Anonymous said...

The way this blog started out I thought it might be about something sensible. Like how it's been a year since Harper has been out of government and it's like he never left.

Junior has become a world leader on outsourcing jobs. He crusades for the TPP. Demands Europeans live up to CETA: "This is ultimately a question of whether Europe can summon the will to act in the international arena." Chides other countries for giving in to populism and protectionism. He's even looking into free-trade with China. Believes exporting more jobs and wealth will create jobs and wealth. (Clearly not the reason he's doing it.)

Justin has also championed Harper's corporate tax cuts ($15-billion a year down the memory hole) and $36-billion cut to healthcare transfers. (According to Statistics Canada, the provincial share of total government spending has gone up from 42% to 50% from 1993 to 2011; the federal share has fallen from 38% to 30%. What is it now? No one knows. Harper killed the series: CANSIM 380-0007.)

Junior promised to un-muzzle government scientists. The union that represents them says he hasn't. Promised an independent Statistics Canada. The Chief Statistician resigned because the Trudeau Government refused to undo Harper's "Shared Services" which determines which data is collected and which series are analyzed and constructed.

Junior kept Harper's weak climate change targets in place. He exported arms to the Saudis, which they are presently using to murder civilians in Yemen. He also has troops on the ground fighting ISIS: glad we learned our lesson from Afghanistan!

Trudeau has even killed his promise of electoral reform, which ensures Canadians will never be represented in government. Whatever random process gives the leader of the Neo-Cons or Neo-Liberals absolute corrupt power on 40% of the vote, it will be a continuous, perpetual establishment dictatorship.

But we can forgive Justin for breaking just this one little promise. No one's perfect!

Owen Gray said...

Your comments are blogposts, Anon. Start your own blog. However, you'll have to give up at least some of your anonymity.

Rural said...

The Cons problem was never their 'tone', unless you count their inability to match their rhetoric with their action (which all political party's have a problem with). As I documented over the years it was their actions that sunk them, particularly their disdain for democratic practice!

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Rural. It was what they did that finally sunk them. That's the lesson they have yet to learn.

Anonymous said...

Leitch was on the CBC Radio Maritime Noon phone-in show in Halifax less than two weeks ago. She did attempt to explain her ideas about Canadian values. I thought them worthy of discussion only at the most puerile level, because it was all pretty wishy-washy. Didn't stop some worthies phoning in and opining away, but seeing as Leitch was not particularly illuminating or persuasive and certainly not what I would expect from someone with her academic qualifications, I turned the program off.

Apparently it is possible to gain an MD, MBA and surgeon qualifications while allowing modern thought to simply pass one by. I expect she hasn't had the time to read any of the great literature, has little appreciation of history and lacks general knowledge, while being academically overqualified in her field. And that's me being charitable. One would have to check with her medical colleagues as to whether her grand ambition in the field forged her rather un-intellectual social outlook. A strange case indeed.

As for the rest of the Conservative leadership hopefuls, they have an overabundance of unimaginative, authoritarian and blinkered candidates to wow the base. Because generosity of perspective has not been a salient feature of the party, the real interest will be to see if they can in fact change their tone and to what effect.


The Mound of Sound said...

I don't know why you tolerate these trolls, Owen. As you note this joker needs to set up his own blog. Your post deals with the Conservative candidates for that party's leadership. Anon ignores the clear subject of your post to leave a rambling, questionable comment that's totally off topic. That's as disrespectful as it is ignorant. Where do you draw the line for your delete button?

Owen Gray said...

They were cowed by Harper, Anon. And they still haven't shaken him off.

Owen Gray said...

It comes from my days as a teacher, Mound. Those of us who taught would encounter ignorance regularly. As Twain wrote, it's better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you're stupid than to open it and remove all doubt. Perhaps that's why such commenters remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

My point is it's hypocritical for Liberals to be critical of the Conservatives given what a mess the Liberal party has become. Trudeau Jr. is significantly right of the Chretien/Martin Liberals who were right of Mulroney (big spending cuts, transfer cuts, corporate tax cuts, etc.) who brought Reaganomics to Canada. Since Mulroney the country's been going downhill at an accelerating pace.

If an opinion based on a dozen facts is considered ignorance, perhaps that, right there, is the problem. If people just keep going along, the country will keep on going along in the wrong direction. People need to stand up to neoliberal ideology and corruption. Join the Movement: Green New Deal!

Owen Gray said...

If you've been following posts and comments, Anon, you'll know that readers at this site have their doubts about how progressive some of Trudeau's policies are. A few days ago I wrote a post asking if we'd been had.

Today's post was about the Conservatives and how little has changed in that party. It's not just a matter of depth. It's also a question of breadth. How broad is your vision? Elizabeth May views things with a wide angle lens.