New Party-Not a New Vision

By the time many of you read this, a new federal political party in Canada will have been announced to the public.  Some unhappy neo-conservatives and quasi-conservatives will bemoan the possible vote splitting that this new laissez-faire, free market, small government principled party may cause with voters unhappy with the utter failure of the Trudeau Liberals.

The fact is that the creation of this new political entity was a necessary, if unfortunate, result of a series of linked events that have taken place up to, and including, the last few years of the Stephen Harper era.

Conservatives, those people who believe in basic personal freedoms instead of government controlled social and economic policies, need a voice in government.  Over the course of Canadian history since Confederation, the Conservative Party of Canada (the latest iteration) has generally been the preferred conduit for the conservative voter.

Periodically, however, there is an infiltration into the Conservative Party wherein the ‘left leaning’, socialist elements of the party overrun the elemental conservative members.  This is not a new occurrence – nor is it unique to the Canadian political right.

In the United States there is a common expression.  To paraphrase.

‘There are Republicans who are really Democrats.  There are NOT Democrats who are really Republicans’.

In Canada, there are Conservatives who are really Liberals.  Far too many at this current nexus.

The consequence, in all cases, is that the basic principles of conservatism are ‘sacrificed at the alter of perceived public opinion’ in the hopes that the Conservative Party can gain power and form government bolstered by voters who are ‘middle of the road’ in their political persuasion.

The misplaced notion that ‘swing votes’ are more important than the ‘committed votes’ has caused the Conservative Party to abandon intrinsic fundamental principles on various occasions historically.  Possibly, in fact probably, new members and voters are attracted to the ‘left-leaning’ wobble of the party.  The new members (actual Liberals in many cases) gradually displace the conservative core of the party at the riding level as well as the National Committee level – and the Conservative Party starts to closely resemble the Liberal Party.  The Conservative Party inevitably fractures.

True conservatives need a genuine conservative home.  Unlike the Liberals, many genuine conservatives WILL NOT become Liberals as the Conservative Party moves closer to Version 2.0 of the Liberal Party.  Instead, such ethical conservatives will ultimately determine that principle is more important than expediency and look for an alternative that meets their strict standards concerning the commitment to conservative values.

Is there evidence to back up this assertion?  Of course.  Unlike the Liberal Party, the NDP and (periodically the Conservative Party), most true conservatives deal in analytical, factual data instead of impassioned hype that may, or may not, be evidentiary based.

In my own riding in the Okanagan Valley in BC, there are numerous examples that back up this central hypothesis.  My own Member of Parliament actually contested a provincial nomination before he ran for nomination as a federal candidate.  Not unusual, you may respond.  Perhaps not – if he ran as a Conservative.  However, Mr. Arnold ran as a candidate for the BC Liberal Party – and lost the nomination.  Only after that loss, did Mr. Arnold offer up his services as a Conservative candidate.  So how Conservative is Mr. Arnold, really?

Similarly, the President of the North Okanagan Shuswap Conservative Association is currently simultaneously the Vice-President of the provincial BC Liberal Party in that same geographic riding.

Clearly, liberal and conservative values appear somewhat interchangeable with such individuals and the true strength of conservative principles within the Conservative Party of Canada is diluted at best, and displaced, at its worst. 

If this (for lack of a better term) unprincipled type of member or Member of Parliament has input into national policy discussions, the tendency, if repeated in multiple electoral jurisdictions, is to move the Conservative Party of Canada to the left.

Now, we get to the heart of the matter.  There are principled conservatives who believe that conservative principles are more important than party affiliation.

Mr. Maxime Bernier is currently the most visible, and most ethical, of that breed of principled conservatives.

Mr. Bernier was duly elected by his constituents in Beauce, Quebec – as a Conservative.  Both a capital ‘C’ and small ‘c’ conservative.  Mr. Bernier is a man of principle.  The proof?

Mr. Bernier worked within caucus to the best of his ability and continued to bring forward the conservative principles that he personally embraced and the values that he felt represented fairly and honestly the wishes of the majority of the electorate in Beauce.

Because the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Mr. Andrew Scheer and his advisors, including apparently most caucus members, chose to lead the CPC in an entirely different direction unacceptable to Mr. Bernier and his constituents, Mr. Bernier did the honorable ‘last resort’ thing and tendered his resignation as a member of the CPC caucus.  

Examples?

That was, in fact, the ethical and the responsible response considering the direction that the current iteration of the Conservative Party of Canada is heading.

Supply Management.  There is no economically analytical, demonstrable reason to create a special interest group for certain classes of farmers, including dairy, poultry and egg producers.  The taxpayer supported artificial market for these producers is not universally shared by other farmers or indeed other industries – and the concept of supply management is not a ‘free market’, laissez-faire principle. 

Not only does Mr. Scheer proudly and openly profess his support for supply management, he reportedly entered into a complicit agreement with the Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby (as evidenced by verified documention) to ensure that the matter of Supply Management did not even make it on the agenda as a discussion item at the recent Halifax Policy Convention.

NAFTA.  The public support that Mr. Scheer and the CPC has thrown to the Liberal Party of Canada regarding ‘sacred cows’ including Supply Management is further evidence that there is virtually nothing discernible between Liberal economic strategy and Conservative Party of Canada strategy.  Not only is Canada suffering from a tremendous decrease in foreign investment and overall investor confidence, a NAFTA failure is estimated to impact up to 20% of the overall Canadian economy.  Notwithstanding, Mr. Scheer and his caucus are publicly supporting the Trudeau-Freeland led NAFTA negotiators in their efforts to seriously compromise a precarious successful outcome that will benefit Canada in these sensitive negotiations.

There are numerous other examples that can be cited but the direction is clear.  The current direction of the Conservative Party of Canada led by Mr. Andrew Scheer is leaning further left – and is becoming almost indistinguishable in some respects from the governing Liberal Party of Canada.  That self-same Liberal Party that is making horrific regulatory, economic and social decisions that will negatively, and immediately, have severe consequences for many, if not most, Canadians.

Enter Mr. Maxime Bernier and his new political party.

Mr. Bernier has provided a new opportunity for genuine conservatives who value basic personal freedoms (with personal responsibility), free trade, laissez faire economics, reducing unnecessary government bureaucracy/bloat and a tendency to look at alternatives from a libertarian perspective rather than a socialist point of view.  That is to say, the individual takes responsibility for decisions and has the freedom to make those decisions rather than those decisions being a privilege – only at the discretion of the State.

An example of why I believe Mr. Bernier is indeed a man of principle?

http://youtu.be/p3XSAXqoado

Mr. Bernier today refers prospective members and the voting public to watch a panel discussion on The Agenda with Steve Paikin from eight years ago.  Mr. Bernier demonstrates that his principles and positions on key issues have not changed in that entire period of time.

http://youtu.be/ZFNxZnNjb5U

Similarly, Mr. Bernier refers to another interview with Mark Steyn a year and half ago. Again, his views and principles are straightforward and consistent.

The Reform Party of Canada was formed in 1987 as a direct result of the discontent of a large plurality of members within the then existent Progressive Conservative Party.

Thirty one years later a new conservative entity is born from the same dissatisfaction shared by a large number of current or recently resigned Conservative Party of Canada members.

No one should forget that Mr. Bernier lost the 2017 leadership of the CPC by less than two percentage points.  In fact Mr. Bernier’s first ballot preferential support was far and away the highest of any of the dozen or so aspirants.  Had the straight up ‘first past the post’ voting system been utilized, Mr. Bernier would be leader of the Conservative Party of Canada as he garnered 28.89 percent first ballot support to Mr. Scheer’s 21.8 percent first ballot support.

Inexplicably, Mr. Scheer and the ‘victors’ of the 2017 leadership race were unable to keep Mr. Bernier and a significant plurality of conservative supporters within the CPC.  In retrospect, a pyrrhic victory at best.

Mr. Scheer is from a new generation – a generation that has already forgotten the lessons learned from the earlier division within the conservative right.

Resultantly, today we herald the arrival of a newly minted Canadian federal political party and with it, a new, but familiar, champion.

All hail Maxime Bernier.  A goodly number, a surprising number, of small ‘c’ conservatives and disillusioned non-aligned voters will be attracted to the concise, consistent and credible free market, common sense approach to Canadian politics that Mr. Bernier will bring with the new party.

I, for one, am on board and looking forward to the journey.

Glen Walushka, ba, AICB

Moderator, rightdecision.ca

Open Letter to Andrew Scheer

Open Letter to Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

August 23, 2018

Mr. Andrew Scheer:

You lost me (and my support) every bit as much as Maxime Bernier today gained my support.  I, together with other CPC members, have attempted to communicate with you previously – but you have chosen to rebuff and ignore all of our attempts to hold a meaningful dialogue and conversation.

One of the signatories to a previous letter sent specifically to you earlier this year remarked how impressed and gratified he was when Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded to an email the very same day that it was sent.  In the real world, Mr. Scheer, that is known as accountability and is an indication that PM Harper was fully aware that he was responsible to the very people who elected him – and who put our collective trust in him.  You, by comparison, chose not to even acknowledge receipt of that letter and we have not heard back from you to this very day.

Today, you have deliberately chosen to alienate and reject a significant plurality of the Conservative Party of Canada membership, as embodied by a vocal spokesman, Maxime Bernier, who rightfully chose ‘Principle over Party’ and resigned from the CPC caucus.  You see, Mr. Scheer, elected individuals with integrity acknowledge and respect that there is a ‘trust’ relationship between that elected individual and the voters who elected him or her.

You once had my personal support, and the support of thousands of other CPC members – but that support was conditional on you actually being a ‘conservative’.  Like most cogent individuals with free will, I choose to support a value system and principles, far above a Hollywood style ‘fan’  loyalty to an individual.  Demagoguery has never appealed to me and I will continue to vote my conscience – and my principles before I will support a party that chooses a lust for power over actionable, clear-cut decisive policies that are good for the welfare of my country, Canada.

I see that as the first responsibility of any individual who aspires to a position of trust and higher office.  Abandoning the wishes of a plurality of a political party’s membership once elected is morally dishonest and I cannot support an individual or a political party who is deaf, dumb and blind to that concept.

Your rebuttal speech to Mr. Bernier after he made his announcement was vindictive and petty, not worthy of a statesman and certainly not worthy of an individual who aspires to become Prime Minister of our great nation.  I am convinced Mr. Trudeau is a globalist and I am now skeptical that you are not also a man in his mold.

If you assert that you stand for everything, in reality you stand for nothing’.  An appropriate paraphrasing.

I am somewhat reluctantly herewith resigning my membership in the Conservative Party of Canada, effective immediately.  I will cautiously throw my support behind any version of a libertarian leaning, laissez faire, small government political entity that emerges from this fracturing of the conservative right in Canada.

You, Mr. Scheer, together with your out of touch advisors and mentors, chose to ignore current realities as evidenced in both the USA and in Ontario, as prime examples.  Voters want a party, and a leader, to stand up for values that are intrinsic to the welfare of all, without divisive pandering to special interest groups.  We vote with, and for, integrity.  We also welcome a political voice that is unafraid to speak out – even when the Main Stream Media objects and vilifies.

I believe this is another nexus created by the need to fight a common foe – but principles cannot be abandoned in the process.

I am not a practicing religious person but there is a Biblical reference that seems particularly appropriate.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”.

You, Mr. Scheer, remind me, in many ways of a previous Prime Minister named Joe Clark who essentially rose to his position without a lot of real world experience.  Like you, Mr. Clark was young, somewhat likeable – and woefully inexperienced, resulting in his brief tenure as Prime Minister in a minority government defeated by a Motion of Non-Confidence.

To paraphrase the very words that the Conservative Party of Canada used when referencing Justin Trudeau prior to the last general federal election, ‘He just isn’t ready.’  I reluctantly have come to that same conclusion concerning your political ambitions.  You may someday turn into a great politician and statesman, but that is clearly on a distant horizon given your inability to keep the Conservative Party of Canada on course and intact.

You will learn, I trust, from this setback in your career and I sincerely hope that you learn from it and grow as an individual and as a politician.  If you never learn that you have to put the interests of the majority of citizens above your own personal interests, then you are fundamentally unfit for higher office.

As an example, refusing to re-open the dialogue on Supply Management, when it is patently obvious that the system benefits a small special interest group and costs literally millions of punitive dollars to the Canadian consumer, is irresponsible and unsupportable – even if that lobby helped ‘get you over the top’ when you were elected leader.  Why should the vote of a small number of special interests outweigh the vote of any other Canadian?  In that vein, knowing that NAFTA negotiations with the US will ultimately cause considerable economic  harm to Canada and Canadians (by way of punitive retaliation by the US) – if Supply Management is not brought to the table for discussion, is unconscionable and a dereliction of duty to anyone in a position of fiduciary trust.

I have met you personally and I was, up until today, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, believing it to be the best, and only, option to defeating the inept and divisive Liberal Party of Canada that is being led by a self-professed ‘Post National’ leader.

After the events of today, and after your wholly inappropriate, self-serving remarks concerning the resignation of one of the only intelligent, articulate, passionate and yes, ‘conservative’ vocal members  in your caucus,  I choose to free myself from any affiliation with the Conservative Party of Canada – until such time as principled, honest conservative points of view are again accepted as a necessary and vital component in moving the Conservative Party again in a prudent, common sense, transparent manner – accountable to the wishes of the membership and a recognition of the need to maintain and improve the well-being of all Canadians.

I do not have any interest in belonging to a political party where the freedom of expression, the freedom of speech and the freedom to present divergent points of view based on reason and analytical evidence cannot even be entertained or discussed outside of caucus.

That is not democracy and I have no desire to compromise principles to accept less.  I truly expected better from you and from the Conservative Party of Canada.  Perhaps, in the future, when there is a recognition that the conservative voice within the CPC is valued and respected, a merger of the factions created today will again be discussed and implemented.  Those who created the fracture will have to be purged, one way or another, in order for that to happen.

The Conservative Party of Canada was a credible, viable and electable force under Prime Minister Harper.  Perhaps, someday it will be once again – but not until it matures and finds its way back to its political roots.  Today, like many others, I am looking for new options.  Today, I am setting up a new website ‘rightdecision.ca’ to explore those options.

Glen Walushka, ba, AICB