An important lesson

Colonel GFR Henderson was a 19th century British soldier and author, most famously of Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War which is regarded by many as a masterpiece and was still used as a reference when I was studying for promotion exams in the 20th century Canadian Army.

Colonel Henderson wrote this, and it is demonstrable true, about British infantry regiments in the Victorian era (as so often, with thanks to my friend The Regimental Rogue) …

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… but it applies, in spades, to political parties, too.

It is an especially important lesson for the Conservative Party of Canada as it approaches the 2019 election. Elections are, generally won by coalitions of, either (for the Liberals in 2015) Quebec + Atlantic Canada + a few seats in every region or (for the Conservative in 2011) Ontario + Western Canada + a few seats in other regions. For the Conservatives (as it was for Jean Chrétien’s Liberals in the 1990s) Ontario ~ 121 of 338 seats ~ is the key. Ontario is big and diverse in every respect but, as Mulroney, Chrétien and Harper all demonstrated, it can and will swing, quite massively, behind one party. The sort of “cohesion” that GFR Henderson described can be had it politics, too, it gan be gained, as he said, when the people of Ontario and the Conservative Party share “mutual confidence and mutual respect.” The Conservatives need to demonstrate, now, in 2018, a deep “respect” for the views of ALL Ontarians ~ not just of those in rural regions and small towns. The Party must be fiscally prudent and socially moderate. If they can do that then enough Ontarians will give them their “confidence” to secure a majority government.

 

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