The cost of going to bat for Stephen Harper's brand of conservatism, I guess.
Many followers of Canada's traditional conservative party, already know the story of how Peter MacKay betrayed us by reneging on a written contract (go to Opposition to the PC-CA Merger on left), not to sell out PC's interests to the Reform-Alliance movement, headed up by Stephen Harper. In exchange for a $500,000 debt of Mackay's being paid (*Stephen Harper still refuses to tell us who the benefactor was), the historic Tory Party was annihilated.
Harper's current Chief of Staff, corporate lobbyist Nigel Wright (think F-35s), had once said of the Reform movement: **“Our aim now is to drive a stake through the heart of the Tory party”, and they did on that day. December 7, 2003. With MacKay holding the stake, it was fitting that it was the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour.
So Who is the New Conservative Party?
If this is not yours or your parents conservative party, whose is it? Maybe Stephen Harper himself can best answer that.
In 1995 as a member of Parliament in **a piece for the Globe and Mail, he likens his party to the Conservatives in Great Britain (Margaret Thatcher), the Republicans in the U.S. and the Christian Democrats in Germany (theocracy).
A decade and a half later, I would say that they are more like the American Tea Party, long on nonsense, and short on common sense, or common decency.
But in 1995, we were calling Harper's party, neoconservatives, because, well, that's what they were. A new brand of conservatism in the tradition of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, where the corporate sector rules the roost.
The Social Welfare State destroyed, in favour of the Corporate Welfare State.
In November of 2010, naturalist/artist, Robert Bateman, stepped outside his comfort zone and wrote an article for the Wildlife Art Journal: Why I Am A 21st Century Conservative. In it he discusses what is wrong with neoconservatism.
I am a conservative. This is why I deeply resent the neo-conservatives who are not conservatives at all. They are the opposite: radicals who are destroying cherished institutions and wreaking havoc on our human heritage as well as our natural heritage. I do not consider destroyers to be conservative. So many cherished institutions have been built with great care and dedication through the decades by well-trained people with good hearts. These are being smashed and weakened in great haste by politicians and ideologues who do not even understand what they destroy. Creation is long and difficult; destruction is quick.I purchased the entire article, because some things are worth paying for, and I'm glad I did. It was a heartfelt plea, reminding us of everything that is wrong with a government run by and for the corporate sector. And that while their rallying cry is "lower taxes", they never speak of their "waste of tax dollars".
As Bateman says: "The cost of corporate welfare amounts to many times that of social welfare. It is not a question of fiscal responsibility, it is a question of ideology."
Naturally, the Harper government could never sell a party, by and for corporations, so instead they have to hide who they are, suggesting that corporate tax cuts are good for us.
They improve your skin tone, aid in weight reduction, extend your life and heighten your libido. Except for the weight reduction, as hunger in Canada is on the rise, those other things make as much sense as 'job creation'. Voodoo economics.
However, if most Canadians would not agree that we are better served by corporations, why are traditional conservatives voting for this party? It's because they don't know. As Susan Riley once said:
In other words: "Not their parents’ conservatism".
Harper's Conservatives are edging up, but this appears to rest on the prime minister's hiding his true colours, pretending to be a moderate centrist and saving his bad-tempered rants against biased judges, socialist-separatist conspiracies, and "left-wing fringe groups" for closed-door meetings ... his party cannot be credibly described as a successor to the PC party of old -- the party of Sir John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker, Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark. That is partly because Harper's recent policy zig-zags are clearly strategic and not heartfelt. He is on the record (and off) as a tax-hating, elite-baiting, crime-busting guy who believes there are no good taxes and, by corollary, very little that government can do right.
It is also a matter of tone. Neo-conservatives like Mike Harris, Harper and their acolytes bristle with hostility, inflame divisions, despise compromise and aim to intimidate, or scold, rather than persuade or inspire. (1)
We need to remind moderate conservatives, our friends, parents, grandparents, of this. They are not voting for the the party of Sir John A., Diefenbaker or Stanfield. They are voting for the party that deliberately drove a stake through the heart of that tradition.
And if the 'Harper government' can't be honest with them about that, then we need to be.
*MacKay's financial secret safe with Harper, By: Stephen Maher, The Halifax Herald Limited , Thursday, May 13, 2004
** Nigel Wright, Vancouver Sun, May 9, 2000. He was then working with Stockwell Day. Before that he was with the Mike Harris government.
1. Where does the Reform Party go from here?, By Stephen Harper, Globe and Mail, March 21, 1995
2. Conservative Longings, By Susan Riley, The Ottawa Citizen, October 16, 2009