Conservative Politics

Two political items caught my eyes, today:

First, David Akin, in his blog

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… which we should all have bookmarked, says that IF he decides to run the financier and media personality Kevin O’Leary will be a formidable candidate.

Mr Akin includes a poll from Mainstreet Research:

The Conservative Party will be holding a leadership race to choose a new leader. Of the following candidates, whom would you vote for if you could to be the next Conservative Leader?

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Source: Mainstreet Research. n=1,400. Poll done by IVR on Jan 15. Pollster says margin of error this group of voters is 2.3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

David Akins says that:

“Mainstreet polled 4,937 Canadians using an automated telephone survey on Friday. Of those, 1,400 said they’d vote Conservative right now with interim leader Rona Ambrose in charge.

Mainstreet then put six names in front of that group of 1,400 and asked if those Conservatives would vote for any in a leadership race.

MacKay, who left politics last May, was the top pick of 25% of Conservatives surveyed but O’Leary was right there as the pick of 23%.

The pollster said the margin of error for the  poll of Conservative voters is 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.”

I am still in the undecided column.

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Preston+ManningThe second item was by Preston Manning in the Globe and Mail. Mr Manning suggests six things we Conservatives need to do, while we are in opposition because, as he says, “Being temporarily relieved of the burdens of governing is an opportunity to renew ideologically, policy-wise and organizationally.”

His six prescriptive points are (my emphasis added):

1. Greater recognition of the character traits that Canadians want to see in their elected officials – openness, honesty, transparency, integrity, compassion, humility – and making the possession of such traits a much more important factor in recruiting candidates, leaders and staff.

2. More clearly embracing those Canadian values – such as freedom, responsibility, equality of opportunity, stewardship, respect for life, democratic accountability – that conservatives want to strengthen and apply more rigorously to public policy. In other words, more clearly define what it means to be positively and constructively “conservative” from a Canadian perspective.

3. Continue to strongly communicate the importance of trade liberalization, public-spending constraints, balanced budgets, debt reduction and tax relief, all of which are increasingly necessary to counter the weaknesses and irresponsibility of left-of-centre parties and governments in these areas.

4. Undertake a fresh round of policy development to strengthen the creative application of conservative values and principles to those areas where conservatives are, rightly or wrongly, seen to be weak or disinterested, such as poverty, inequality, health care, education, environment, science and culture.

5. Investing heavily in training conservative-oriented Canadians for more effective participation in the country’s political processes; providing more and better training for volunteers, constituency executives, campaign managers and candidates. It is sad but true that Starbucks invests more time and money in training its baristas than our political parties invest in training their own front-line people.

6. With respect to all of the above, consulting and involving ordinary Canadians at every stage – not just party insiders and elites – so that a renewed Canadian conservatism is ultimately rooted in that greatest of all political resources, the people themselves.

I think all of Mr Manning’s points are valid and sensible. I know some people will have some concerns about his fourth point; I do not … we must, I keep repeating, be a “big tent” party and a lot of Canadians want to hear our policies on inequality, the environment and culture. The “anti-science” notion is a “bum rap,” but it is one we have to address.

The point about training our volunteers in policy and communications is very, very well taken.

Anyway, it’s all food for Conservative thought …

4 thoughts on “Conservative Politics”

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