Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Convention

There was alot of hype going into this event about how the party would gel or whether it would implode due to its own internal ideological divisions, quite frankly I was never worried. I wrote a paper in 2002 in a poli sci class where I pointed to the leadership of the two conservative parties as being the principal dividing force between them, and indicated that they were fairly close on alot of issues. I also noted that Stockwell Day and Joe Clark were unlikely to bring the parties together, however, that there were factions in both parties acknowledging the need to work together and resolve their differences to defeat the liberals.

To be a touch smug I reiterated this opinion a year later after my Canadian Political Parties professor suggested the ideological divide was too deep to be bridged. I noted in turn that people like Peter MacKay didn't seem to have any problem working with Canadian Alliance Mps such as Chuck Strahl during the DRC evident, and that there was a certain amount of concilliatory sentiment that existed between suporters of each party. I also argued broad areas of agreement and a desire for victory and for the proverbial "half a loaf rather than none" could overcome areas of disagreement between members of the former parties. My professor has had to rewrite his lectures on the Conservative party, while I get to stand by all my previous comments.

I didn't attend the Conservative convention in Montreal (I was an alternate), but I know alot of people who did. From that alone I felt that the votes to be cast were in extremely good hands. I wasn't particularly worried about the outcome for a moment.

I'm a Conservative who believes that the government is taking too much money from my pocket to pay for non-sensical and inefficient shcemes of dubious value.

I also feel I'm more likely to take a keen interest in arranging my own affairs than a bureaucrat in far off Ottawa, and I'll likely do a far better job in seeing such things attended too.

I think that the government stiffles business with punitive taxation measures, excessive red tape and a potpurri of other regulatory hurtles.

I think the gun registry isn't accomplishing anything, and a crazy drug dealer in a small town north of Edmonton here just proved that with a machine gun tragically killing four brave Mounties.

I think our military deserves the equipement it needs to complete the tasks we set for them and should be an institution in which Canadians can take pride in.

I think spurning our allies on Ballistic Missile Defense to score some cheap political points, hurts our trade interests, our diplomatic credibility, and our relationship with the united states - especially when its not clear what if anything we would have actually had to do other than say "great go ahead we're with you on this one".

I think the definition of marriage is a social issue, not a legal issue. I'm also fairly ambivalent about abortion - not a huge fan but its probably for the best for some people in certain circumstances.

I think the senate has become a relic which needs to be rethought and re-energized to bring it into line with a modern, democratic tradition.

These are things I believe to be true, and they are believes that are shared by the broad cross section of conservatives. They are also beliefs which were confirmed by the party and became party policy. Dare I even suggest that these beliefs are those of Canadians in general?

Stephen Harper recieved a sound endorsement, recieving the support of 84% of the delegates at the convention. I personally found some of the media attention trying to play up some sort of leadership jockeying running up the convention extremely distasteful. I do not think there was ever any question that Stephen had the competence of the party's membership, and if there was it show not be put to rest. However much Chantal Hebert protests that Stephen Harper will never win , and however much The Globe and Mail's Brain Laghi may be dreaming of some form of the PetLinda entity to sieze control of the party - its not where conservatives are and its not where most of us are looking to go.

Despite Peter MacKay making an ass of himself on Friday, and playing into the hands of a media looking desperately for a conflict the convention was about Conservatives comming together and affirming their similarities. It was about burying the hatchet that has been taken up in intermural warfare since..well Diefenbaker. The leader (click on the media link), members of our caucus, delegates and yes..even the media! (Gasp! find it here , here and here) have reported the general good will and positive feelings that have come out of the convention. The party has come together, moved beyond PC or Alliance, our agenda is out there in the open, its moderate, its centre-right and it speaks to the concerns of Canadians. (Question Period and Politics with Don Newman seemed to latch onto the terms moderate, mainstream and clear policies with Scott Reid predictably sounding like a complete hack trying to disagree)

And to the Liberals - we're coming for you, the gloves are off.


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