I saw this on social media …
… that is exactly wrong. It is 100%, completely back-asswards. 21st-century Conservatives are, by a mix of choice and default, the keepers of the 19th-century liberal flame and the custodians of 17th and 18th-century enlightenment. Prime Minister Mulroney was quite right: an important part of “the art of leadership is the capacity to remain true to your own principles while accommodating the realities of the country.” Prime Minister Harper had principles, and he kept them to himself. He made public his position that neither he nor his government would not roll back rights or allow them to be rolled back. He would allow debate, he said, even private members bills but he would not allow change to settled issues like abortion and equal right for all, including gays and lesbians.
People who want to impose their personal views on others are not principled … nor are they Conservatives. Principled people may want to try to persuade others to change their views on certain issues … but only the unprincipled, who are found in abundance on the hard-left and the hard-right really want to impose their own, personal values and views on their neighbours. Prime Minister Trudeau has already done so. He banned any potential candidates who did not share is own pro-choice position on abortion. He made it clear that his position on citizenship for terrorists was the Liberal Party‘s and therefore the nation’s position because … well, just because it’s his position:
That’s unprincipled; that’s something akin to one-man rule. That’s what both Hitlerian fascists and Maoist-Stalinist communists believe. I may not (do not) approve, on different grounds, of many things that go on in my community and my country. I wish we would change some of those things … but most people either support them or, more often, don’t much care (the most common form of tolerance) and so I have to move on and try to change the things I can.
That, it seems to me, was and is still Stephen Harper’s position. It was and still is a good one. It is principled and it works for Conservatives. Many Conservatives, including me, are suspicious of the globalist agenda. Many Conservatives, including me, are equally suspicious of the Laurentian Elites and their agenda. We all need to examine what socialists and Liberals (and right-wing movements, too) are saying and we need to counter them with reason. We are not right just because we say we are. We are only right when enough people, from Toronto’ suburbs to Joe Batt’s Arm, NL to Eureka, NV to Prince Rupert, BC and back to Leamington, ON agree that the policies and programmes that we espouse are better for Canada than those which are on offer from the Bloq Québecois, Greens, Liberals, the NDP and others. A lot of Canadians agree with some of the globalist agenda, they agree with some of the things the Laurentian Elites say, they agree that climate change is an important issue, they also agree with some of the things that Justin Trudeau espouses, too … as do I, now and again, in very broad, general terms. It is not anti-Conservative to affirm that our political opponents are not always wrong about everything.
Some conservatives on social media are saying, for example, that Rona Ambrose or Erin O’Toole or Peter MacKay cannot be their party’s leader because each is too moderate. Canada is, by and large, a moderate country. One of the big reasons that Justin Trudeau lost 25+ seats was because many Canadians saw that he is not really a moderate; the reasons why he didn’t lose the government was because many Canadians believed that Andrew Scheer wasn’t either.
Real Conservatives want to give Canadians better, more responsible, more honest and more principled government. That means that we cannot, must not try to impose any values on Canada except for liberty, democracy and the rule of law. Canadians, as I have said, over and over again, are moderate people. They will respond to a moderate leader who offers a suite of fiscally moderate, environmentally moderate, and socially moderate policies. They will not vote for a leader, not on the left and not on the right and not even one from the centre, who they believe will want to tell them what to do. They will vote for leaders who listen to what they say they want and who, with the amazing skill that Donald Trump has in such large measure, convince them that (s)he understands. Justin Trudeau lost so many votes and so many seats because he lost contact with too many Canadians … they know he doesn’t listen and they don’t believe he understands. Andrew Scheer did not win enough vote in enough ridings, especially around the Greater Toronto Area, because those voters thought he wasn’t listening and couldn’t understand.
The next Conservative leader must listen, must hear, must learn and must understand.