Confirmation bias

This post is an almost perfect example of confirmation bias. I agree, as I said yesterday, pretty much fully, with almost everything that Andrew MacDougall said in a recent article in Macleans’s magazine and I’m going to inflict his views, with my comments, on you, too.

First: Derek Sloan finished fourth in a four-person party leadership race in which only one candidate, Peter MacKay, identified as a progressive. Both Erin O’Toole and Leslyn Lewis beat him, handily. I explained, six months ago, why I could not even give Mr Sloan a fourth place mark on my ballot. While, I said, “he speaks for a large constituency of good, honest decent people,” his views ~ at least how he expresses them ~ are too far from the socially moderate mainstream, where I reside, to allow me to accept them and him as being Conservative, at all. Mr MacDougall says, and I agree fully, that Mr Sloan “doesn’t speak for the majority.” He doesn’t even speak for the majority of social conservatives who are a minority in the Conservative Party. I think Mr O’Toole earned that right with his “True Blue” campaign and I suspect he will be able, confidently, to hand that task to Dr Lewis when she is elected.

Which brings us,” Andrew MacDougall says, “to what social conservatives would like from their participation in politics. If it’s a reversal on questions like gay marriage, or the enactment of strict abortion laws, or the right to practice conversion therapy, they’re going to be disappointed because the vast majority of Canadians simply don’t see things the same way and anyone advocating loudly for these positions is auditioning for the opposition benches .. [and the Conservative Party has already ruled on issues like gay rights and abortion] …

If, however, social conservatives have other issues at the heart of their politics, they might be in with a shot.” Some Conservatives, like Mr Sloan and Brad Trost, confuse the views of the religious right with the ideas that Stephen Harper had about conservatism and new Canadians. The simple fact is that the religious right is in decline, even amongst evangelical Christians, I think, while diverse, ethnic, immigrant communities are growing in size and political importance.

After dealing with a couple of issues ~ the power of the tech giants and lockdowns, on which some social conservatives might make some gains, he says that “Put simply, the Sloan agenda is a recipe for electoral disaster. Even with the more standard net zero moan he seems hell-bent on digging deeper into a hole the Conservative movement needs to fill if it wishes to become competitive. Indeed, new research released this week by Clean Prosperity demonstrates that Conservatives understand the need for new approaches on climate, including carbon taxes, in order to regain government. Sloan and those who think like him need to understand the best route to prolonging the lifespan of the oil sector in Canada is to engage with serious climate policy, not duck the conversation.

Andrew MacDougall concludes by saying, correctly in my view that: “In a sense, the latest groan from Sloan is a blessing. Had Press Progress not brought the shady donation to everyone’s attention now, you can rest assured Justin Trudeau would have gladly done it during the campaign. O’Toole now needs to find the finest-toothed comb in existence and start brushing the rest of his herd before the writ drops, because Trudeau surely has electoral plans for his other buckets of opposition research … [and, after that is done] … The trick for O’Toole is to find ways to engage social conservatives without appealing to their social conservatism. The current focus on jobs is the correct play, especially when contrasted with the out-of-touch government in Ottawa. Trudeau has now rolled over on Keystone XL without so much as a pro-forma objection, and there are no signs the Prime Minister understands the impacts of the immoral outcomes of globalization. Amazon is great if you use it to get cheap and quick deliveries or a nice streaming service; it’s a different beast entirely if Amazon has run your shop out of business and you have to go work in one of its sweatshop fulfillment centres. It’s on these questions that O’Toole must flex some serious policy muscle … [and, finally, he asks] … Will that stop [despicable white-supremacist and neo-Nazi Paul] Fromm or others who think like him from supporting the Conservative Party of Canada in the next election? Possibly not. Would that be Erin O’Toole’s fault? Not if he keeps on his current course of making clear that people who hold such views have no place in his party.

As I said, yesterday, Mr O’Toole is moving the Conservative Party in the right direction, towards the moderate middle where most Canadian voters, specially those in vote-rich Ontario, want their political parties to be. There is, as I have also said before, a leftwards tilt to politics in Canada …

… which, generally, favours the Liberal Party and, right now, Justin Trudeau. The Conservatives, however, can hold on to their base (about 20%) and can gain enough (another 20%) in the suburbs around Canada’s major cities by disavowing the Trumpian hard right to secure a majority government in 2021 … IF they are and are seen to be a moderate political party … because Canada is a moderate country.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

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