From time to time I hear or read the sentiment expressed that goes something like: the Conservative Party of Canada does not have to cater to small “c” conservatives; after all, where else can they go?
Yes, I fear the Tory back-room boys are mindful of this as they craft government policy and decide on priorities.
It seems a reasonable question, but as John Tory and his provincial Progressive Conservatives painfully discovered, alienated conservatives who cannot bring themselves to vote Liberal or NDP simply stay at home on election day or vote Green, which amounts to about the same thing.
The lesson for Conservatives to learn from the faith-based school funding fiasco during the last provincial election in Ontario is as follows:
While conservatives might be patient and suffer silently through long periods of incremental change, they are not easily duped. And to alienate the party’s conservative base with too much pandering to and currying favour with Quebec and the rest of liberal Canada is to lose votes even if the votes are not lost directly to the Grits and NDP.