Self-styled experts are fond of telling us that to be successful in politics, one must learn to be “kinda middle of the road”, that you must be neither right nor left wing but rather a “centrist”. This has almost become a sort of received wisdom, particularly in Canada, and politicians and their parties seem to be forever striving to be seen as the ones who are “claiming the centre ground”. This would be admirable, and beneficial, except for one little thing. Actually, one big thing. The fact is, very few people — and even fewer careerist politicians and bureaucrats — understand what the terms “right-wing” and “left-wing” mean, and thus have no idea where the true centre lies, or what it means to be a true centrist.
Let us begin by defining the two terms placed in scare quotes above in plain language. To put it simply, a leftist believes in the supremacy of the State, that government is always good, always the answer to everything, and has a role to play in most if not all aspects of the lives of the citizenry. A rightist believes the opposite ; he distrusts all government, thinks it is at best incompetent and at worst willfully crooked, and thinks that he would be better off without it, or at least most of it.
From this we can see that the extreme end of the left-wing spectrum is Totalitarianism, wherein the government controls the better part of the economy, strictly regulates the lives and actions of all the people, and even attempts to control the way they speak and think. Examples of these extreme-left societies would be the old Soviet Union, Cuba under Castro, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and of course, the good old PRC. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can see that the extreme right-wing position is literal anarchy — no laws, no rules or principles, just every man for himself and the best man, on a given day, wins. There are no long-term examples of any jurisdictions that thrived in a state of anarchy, for obvious reasons.
Clearly, life under a far-left government is intolerable to any psychologically normal person. And anarchy, while it might sound like fun on the surface, is almost always the begetter of Totalitarian states — because in the vacuum created by a lack of basic law and order, you get a situation where the nastiest sociopathic control freaks battle it out to see who will be the top dog, and the winner(s) of that contest invariably impose a harsh police state in order to consolidate their power. Not good!
So, what would constitute the true centre, and therefore a true centrist?
A true centrist believes this : That there must be just enough rule of law to stop or at least discourage people from harming one another physically, financially or reputationally ; that all people should have equal rights and responsibilities before the law, and no one person or group should receive special favours, or be purposely kept down ; that taxation, although necessary, is an evil, and should kept to its lowest possible level, regardless of what systems may be used to collect it ; that it is possible to have a social safety net while still preserving the individual’s freedom to choose ; and that each level of government ought to confine itself to its duties as outlined in the Constitution and refrain from other activities. The true centrist believes that lawful authority and personal liberty must be in equilibrium, and therefore compliment and enhance each other.
But where is this true centre to be found in Canada’s political landscape? Not the Liberal Party ; not when they are led by a man who grew up at Fidel Castro’s feet and expresses his admiration for the Communist Party of China. Nor do the CPC qualify anymore, if they ever really did ; they have now drifted back toward the middle-left, and have become a (prospective) patron of special interests (how things have changed since Mr. H was pushed aside!). The NDP, while at least honestly deluded, remain in thrall to neo-Marxists, Trotskyites and trendy activists of every stripe. A hopeless situation for the true centrist voter, then?
Ah, not so fast! There is hope. Hope that this country could at last have a balanced, fiscally and morally responsible government, one that respects all Canadians, and treats them as both equals and as adults. That hope is called . . . the People’s Party of Canada. Believe it, friends : the PPC, and Maxime Bernier, are the real thing. And it is quite possibly the first time that a truly national political party has been founded based on the premise that the concerns and welfare of the Average Canadian are the most important concerns of a proper and just government.
Good governance, and an increase in general freedom and prosperity, are possible. We just have to want it, and then labour to make it so.