The media is full of, mostly useless, advice for the Conservative Party of Canada.
I see two trends:
~ Return to one element’s “Red Tory” roots; or
~ Go the whole hog to the social conservative/religious right flank.
Both are, in my opinion, recipes for disaster.
Both the Red Tories and the “SoCons” are fringes on a large (30%+ of Canadians) “base” that holds, generally, socially moderate and fiscally conservative values.
What do I mean by “socially moderate?”
Let me use two examples: abortion and gay rights.
Some, perhaps even many Conservatives oppose abortion, for good, deeply held, honest reasons. Bot most Conservatives understand that abortion is a “settled issue” and while most Conservatives support anyone’s right to speak out against it they do not expect a Conservative government to act against it. It’s done … settled. Sure some Conservatives can talk about it ~ some Liberals used to have that right, but no more ~ they can even, if they want, raise it in parliament, but a Conservative leader and a Conservative front bench must vote against restricting a woman’s right to choose, in private, her own actions.
Some, again perhaps many Conservatives wish that homosexual people would confine themselves to their own, small, private spaces. But, again, our courts have taught us that “rights are rights,” and homosexuals and transgendered people have the very same basic, fundamental, individual rights as anyone else. Some of us may wish that “Gay Pride” was a little more subdued but most of us understand that gay people are still fighting for recognition and acceptance and, in our society, we “fight” with words and art and ‘display,’ not with rocks and billy clubs.
Most of us, Conservatives, are socially moderate. We expect our leaders, including the front bench critics our leaders pick, to represent our views, no mater their own, individual ones.
What is “fiscally conservative?”
This is an equally broad spectrum. Fiscal “hawks,” like me, who would slash government, including social spending, are also a fringe, just as are the free-spending “Red Tories.” Most Conservatives want less and less expensive government, and we, naturally, want more money in our pockets. But we also want SOME social spending and SOME infrastructure spending, and, and, and … there needs to be a balance by giving something to everyone and slashing and burning, as I would do.
So, where are those socially moderate and fiscally conservative Canadians?
In the suburbs, first, around e.g. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City and Halifax and, especially, in the ‘Golden Horseshoe’ around Toronto. They are, second, in the small cities and towns in all provinces, but, especially, in the vote rich area surrounding the Golden Horseshoe and in Western Canada. One attribute of these two vote rich ‘regions’ is that they are moderately young (aged 30 to 50), “married with children” ~ two parent families, reasonably well educated, employed, over-taxed (by cities, provinces and the national government) and, frequently, ‘ethnic,’ especially East and South Asians. They have both socially moderate and fiscally conservative values of their own and they are looking for someone who represents their views and their needs.
Of course we also have a rural base and we can, often, win some seats in large cities, too, but out biggest base is in suburban and small city/town Canada, from coast to coast to coast.
We need leaders ~ an interim leader in the House of Commons, soon, and a new, Party leader later, perhaps in 2016 or even 2017 ~ who share, enunciate, embody and advocate for the “values” of suburban and small town Canada:
For Main Street, rather than Bay Street;
For prudent saving rather than reckless spending;
For helping those in real need rather than those who are just ‘entitled;’
For working families rather than special interests;
For steady, honest jobs rather than handouts;
For equality rather than queue jumping;
For equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes and quotas;
For honesty and integrity rather than cronyism;
For a foreign policy based on Canada’s vital interests, not those of various “old countries;” and
For a suitable, efficient and effective military rather than for using the defence budget as a job creation tool.