Watching Harper tonight at Con camp we were struck at just how liberal the federal Conservative party has become. The only thing that seems to remain of social conservatism, or better-stated conservative populism, is the fixation on security. And indeed in a post 9/11 world this is hardly a position unique to conservatives.
Interestingly in the first part of Harper’s launch of Conservatism 2.0 was the embrace of multi-culturalism, bi-nationalism and bi-lingualism (in name only of course). This will disappoint most conservatives of course, but they will sell it. They have to sell it, as this is the only way to gain seats in Ontario and Quebec. There is some irony that the price the Cons have to pay for a majority is the acceptance of 85% of Trudeau’s vision for Canada sans the centralized federation. The further irony is that by and large, Paul Martin and Jean Chretien achieved the decentralization of the federation. Cherniak was right in this regard: the Liberals did it to Canadians first.
As such, Harper is selling the status quo, which the liberals were forced to create in large part because of the profligate spending of the pervious Conservative government, which found itself unable to untangle themselves from Trudeau’s federal programs. And Irony on top of irony is that the tax cuts which Harper has been handing out like candy were themselves made possible by the Liberal slash and burn during the mid 1990s.
It is indeed telling that in order for Harper to take a shot at the Liberals he had reach way back to Trudeau to find a real target because he knows despite the rhetoric there is not much that separates tonight’s Conservative 2.0 release from the mid 1990s LPC release 2.0. Liberal Tory Same Old Story: welcome to a bi-national, multicultural, bi-lingual and decentralized Canada my conservative friends and welcome to the new millennia.
If people want to find where all the homophobes, nativist bigots and the like have gone. Peeking up the skirt of the Federal Conservative party is likely going to be a waste of time. Better to go look at provincial political parties as that is where most of the action has been off-loaded.
NB: as an aside some enterprising communications director should get hold of a copy of tonight’s speech by Harper. There is great line where Harper explains that his governement has proved that they “do not seek professional advice.” What a great starting point for an attack add. What are the conservatives going to do the enviroment?…cut to quote…”we won’t take professional advice” etc, etc, loop as needed.