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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Conservative Party majority: will we now get conservative rule?

The evening of the election went about as well as I could have expected: Tories won a solid majority—vindicating Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s leadership—and elected candidates in every region of the country; the New Democrats crushed the Bloc, but their surge was blunted in Ontario; and several of the most irritating Liberals lost their seats and won’t be back in Ottawa.

The Conservative Party of Canada is the choice of a respectable 40 per cent of Canadian voters. It’s the party of choice in the far north, Labrador and in every region east to west, including ridings in urban Toronto. It is truly a national party, and given the vagaries of our first past the post electoral system, has a solid 166 seats with which to control Parliament.

PM Harper’s leadership and political strategy has been vindicated. He cleverly maneuvered the opposition into them forcing an election on him that destroyed the Bloc Québécois and its leader, humiliated PM Harper’s arch rival Michael Ignatieff and crippled and mauled the Liberal brand, perhaps critically. PM Harper has successfully occupied the right-of-centre position in political politics, hugging so tight to that centre line he’s left no room for neophyte political leader and strategist Michael Ignatieff, forcing the latter well to the left of centre and into direct conflict with the NDP, splitting the left-wing vote.

When Ignatieff’s leadership faltered in 2009, he fired his first back-room team and allowed himself to accept a new team headed by chief of staff Peter Donolo, best known as a communications guy during the relatively easy divided-right days of Canadian politics, i.e., a veteran, but not a battle-hardened one.

His battle-hardened veteran was Senator David Smith, his campaign co-chairman. But Smith, a federal cabinet minister in Prime Minister Trudeau’s government, is a yesterday’s man, not up to the task of head-to-head combat with the well-financed brain trust at Conservative party headquarters.

Result: no compelling message for a man that couldn’t/wouldn’t stay on message anyway. Liberal strategists had hoped to squeeze the NDP so far left they’d be irrelevant, but, instead, made themselves irrelevant when the NDP started to surge in Quebec.

So now we have a Conservative majority, which begs the question: so what?

Will we begin to address the enormous government (federal and provincial) debt this country has accumulated, or will we continue to squander more billions on debt interest? Is deficit spending at this point of our economic recovery prudent? Will we target human rights legislation—vis-à-vis Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act? And what about that damn gun registry?

According to a new report from the Fraser Institute, the average Canadian family spends about 41 per cent of its income on taxes. This is far too heavy a burden. Government spending is out of control as are civil service wages and benefits.

The rate of public sector growth is unsustainable. What will we do about that?

I’ve reconciled myself to same-gender marriage and abortion on demand—though I’d like to see restrictions in law covering late-term abortions. I don’t favour capital punishment because our legal system makes too many mistakes. And a larger and stronger military would be nice… but you get my point.

Will we finally get a conservative government?

 

© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

11 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. Could not agree more. In short form

    Social Conservatism ---- No Way Jose. The bully pulpit is OK by me but State Intervention on behalf of 'conservative' social ideas is unacceptable.
    Fiscal Conservatism ---- We need LOTS MORE of this. No more Summit-like events or expenses. Ever.

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  2. It depends on how sticky the "progressive" label is with the Harper Tories. Progressive politics belongs in the NDP camp, inherited in large part from the Liberals. Mulroney/Campbell found out what happens when conservative Canadians smell a double-cross and the new Conservative Party will suffer the same fate if it does not bring common sense conservatism to government.

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  3. Indeed! Like many others I was able to accept the excuse of being a minority government for not governing with any real conservative values. There is nothing now to prevent the CPC from doing so. Should they continue as in the past, it will be to their regret. As mentioned they can easily dismantle the CHRC, change the existing law and dismantle the long-gun registry. CBC needs to be privatised and there needs to be some house cleaning at Elections Canada. At the same time I want to see them start downsizing government (especially the public service) and cutting spending, as they will be a much longer process.

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  4. Let's leave the abortion and gay marriage issues alone...they're done and the majority of people to date are content.

    Let's deal with the following
    -government spending
    -reforming the Canada Health Act - not a two tiered system but one that will stop eating up so much of the budget...(easier said than done)

    the economy and getting people working...expanding our economy and generating more revenues thus being able to lower taxes over time

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  5. We will not see social conservative rule. And I'm OK with that, being of a relatively Libertarian bent.

    We MAY see some some fiscal prudence. I hope Harper is not thinking he can take all of the base for granted, forever, and get away with it.

    There certainly will be no more excuses for the reckless way in which the Harper government has increased public spending in the last few years.

    You're on notice Mr. Harper...

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  6. I suspect (hope) we will see speedy action on:
    - ending taxpayer political subsidy
    - ending long gun registry
    - ending Wheat Board monopoly
    - ending Sect 13 censorship law
    - revising role of CRTC
    - getting new leadership at Elections Canada
    - full review of subsidies to "community" groups

    If there isn't action on some or all of the above PM Harper is going to have a very upset base to deal with.

    I would love to see the CBC privatized but that won't happen. Like Harper said this morning "no surprises".

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  7. re: Your query "Will we finally get a conservative government?"

    That depends on what kind of conservative that you are. There are at least 5 kinds of Conservative. I am a fiscal conservative so my answer is "Yes!" we will get a conservative government. Politics as is often stated is "the art of the possible". Sometimes the kind of government we wish is not possible in the circumstances. At least we know that Harper is a fiscal conservative so that is the direction that he is aiming. We want him to be re-elected in 4 years. Slow and steady wins the race.

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  8. Well it certainly looks like PM Harper can follow through with his budget and most of his platform right away.The way oil prices are the money is flowing into government coffers and the debt will be paid down by 2013.Income splitting and perhaps a reduction of 2 % or so in income taxes across the board could then be made.This would bring us into the election year 4 of the mandate.Not one of the parties in power would dare say they are taking away these benefits during an election,so in my books a larger majority for the conservatives.Did i mention that Canada would still be the envy of the world & that most of the MSM would mature or retire and actually say they were sorry for the years of Conservative abuse and they were wrong about their anti PM Harper statements.

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  9. I can see some people wanting a witch hunt, but I hope the CPC decides to take the high road and move forward and govern. Although I would like see the MP's audit and made public, as well as Elections Canada.

    Would nice to see Vic Toews made Speaker of the House

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  10. Slowly start defunding the CHRC -- and get rid of Section 13. The provinces will have to deal with their kangaroo courts. At the same time, Elections Canada needs a BIG clean-out.
    Perhaps CBC can have it's funding for THIS year, but when Sun TV can broadcast for 21 million, how can you justify 1.2 billion to the CBC? Also, I think their funding should be contingent on them having an open and transparent accountability to taxpayers or NO funding!

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  11. Good point Russ. I was thinking exactly the same on election night. All the more reason why we have to keep Harper's feet to the fire and ensure he respects his base....or he won't have one. and btw he will need to expand his base next time since we all know that he was lucky due to the splits this time round.
    check out thetruthxposed.com

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