Values, again … Main Street vs Bay Street

We all know these places …

… they are where we were raised and they are where the core values of the Conservative Party were born and raised, too. Values like respect for others, hard work, independence, individualism, cooperation, sharing, tolerance and thrift.

But, increasingly, Canadians live and work here …

… but many of them share our values: respect for others, hard work, independence, individualism, cooperation, sharing, tolerance and thrift. Living and working in a high-rise does not make one less likely to share Conservative values. Some conservatives like to see themselves as …

… but our real roots are more like this …

… we are all, whether in Alert Bay, BC or on Bay Street,  the children of the cautious, frugal, but always cooperative and generous country that always did more than its share, in war and peace.

For years, decades, over a century a bias in our electoral system that, generally, favours rural over urban seats has given a general advantage to the Conservative Party because we were, traditionally, the party of rural and small town Canada. But that bias is, very properly, being removed. We, Conservatives, should always favour equality and we should learn to adapt our message (but not our principles) to attract the fast growing numbers of urban voters. We proved, in the first decade of the 2000s that we can reach suburban voters, many of who are youngish, ethnic, working family, high-rise dwellers in cities from Richmond, BC, to Richmond Hill, ON …

… we convinced them that we shared most of their values and they shared most of ours. We went “off message” in 2015 and many of those suburban ridings shifted, with only a very slight change in voting numbers, from Conservative to Liberal. Put simply, team Trudeau out-campaigned us … they had a better focused message than was enough to turn enough ridings from blue to red. As we approach a 350 and then a 400 seat parliament there will still be almost 100 rural and small town seats scattered across the country but the other 250 or 300 will be suburban and urban and we must either tailor our message to those Canadians who, we have already proved, share many of our values, or we will wither and die.

Very obviously, and to the discomfort of many Conservatives, I’m saying that we must shed our “social-conservative”or “religious right” and “anti-immigrant” image ~ and all it is is hqdefaultan image of some members of our party. Of course we have members, including MPs, with firmly held socially-conservative views … and we should never, as Justin Trudeau has done, tell our members and candidates that they must toe one, specific “party line” even when it violates their principles. We must always welcome all people who share most of our core values ~ that “big tent” thing, again ~ and we must allow Conservatives to speak their mind on important, even “hot button” issues. But we must also remind Canadians that we are a party that, in the main, in the majority, is socially moderate, even progressive …

Slide1

… attuned to the needs and values of young, modern, urban, working families. We have to persuade them, through policy positions, that we are the party of small business, the family, the community and Main Street, not of Big Business, Big Labour and Bay Street.

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