Short Note re: the Mythically Anti-socialist Conservative Party

August 14, 2009 by  

2009-08-14.conservativeGerry Nicholls, former Vice President of the National Citizens Coalition, is apparently still buying the nonsense drilled into peoples heads about Conservative parties. In a Letter to the Editor today, in one of Canada’s national newspapers, the Globe and Mail, Gerry writes, in part:

Politically speaking, his embrace of Red Toryism has essentially made the Conservative Party a carbon copy of the Liberal Party, meaning the Prime Minister is in danger of alienating his small “c” conservative base.

Gerry posted his Letter to the Editor to his facebook wall, where I responded:

You can’t alienate a conservative base with socialism. To alienate a Conservative base, you have to attack tradition and folkish things. You know, say something like “We will change the Christmas Holiday from December 25 to December 27”: that’s a Conservative-vote killer. Here’s another: “We’re going to pass a law changing the name of the NHL from “National Hockey League” to “Native Hockey League”: just wait for the loyal Conservative voter to take to the streets with pitch forks and torches while burning their party cards.

But tell Conservative voters that the Conservative government is going to help “hard working folk” by redistributing 60% of what earners earn, and the great majority of them will give a shrug and say something like “well, Harper has to pander to the left for now, but once he has a majority, he’ll be a TRUE conservative”. And, after the majority is obtained and the socialism continues, they’ll say “What we need now is another Mike Harris to lead the party”.

[Note: Mike Harris was the leader of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario and was premier between 1995 and 2002…in that role, he essentially reversed the changes that had been made since 1990 by the New Democratic party. That’s it, essentially. He was no free marketeer. He both increased government revenues and increased government spending. One major hat tip though: he did lift price controls on the retail price of electricity. But, as one should expect, months later, his Progressive Conservative successor – Ernie Eves – re-imposed price controls, thereby chasing virtually all private-sector investment in power generation out of the province].

Mere minutes after I posted my response, one of Gerry’s other FB friends countered that conservative opposition to the Obama health care plan is evidence that I’m wrong and that “socialism does alienate conservatives”. Not all of Gerry’s FB friends are so blinkered. Perhaps seconds later, another fellow rebutted with something like: “Where is the Canadian conservative opposition to Canada’s socialized health care system?”. I replied to that excellent comment with:

Exactly. In fact, it was the Progressive Conservatives who *gave* us socialized health care in Ontario, in 1969. The conservatives, not the liberals, banned private health insurance, set up a government health insurance monopoly (OHIP), and imposed a brand new provincial tax – the provincial INCOME tax – to fund it.

How many minutes before another self-delusional tory responds to my latter comment with something like “Well, yeah, but the provincial conservatives were being forced to do that by the federal government”? The evasion never ends.


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