Whither the SoCons?

Almost four years ago I suggested that there was room, on the Canadian political spectrum, for four national parties:

  • Today’s NDP, with much better leadership, should, I suggested, be able to regularly win between 15 to 35 seats and even more, now and again;
  • The centrist Liberal and the equally centrist Conservatives should, regularly, again, win 100 to 180 seats each; and
  • That leaves room on the far right for a social-conservative to win 10+ seats in most elections.

Now I see an article by Chris Selley in the National Post that causes me to revisit that notion. The social-conservatives, My Selley says, are facing a problem: they are less and less welcome under even the biggest of either the Ontario or federal the Conservative Party‘s big tents. If they “can’t exist within the Ontario Tory ecosystem,” Chris Selley says, “and with federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole looking less and less interested in indulging his social-conservative supporters, it might finally be time for so-cons to consider when and how they’re finally going to jump before they’re pushed. It’s difficult to imagine how they could accomplish any less in a party of their own than they have under Canada’s increasingly unwelcome big blue tents.

The issue de jour is Ontario MPP Sam Oosterhoff but just weeks ago it was federal CPC leadership candidate Derek Sloan and before that it was Richard Decarie and Brad Trost . Again and again the mainstream Conservative Party rejects the social-conservatives‘ chosen standard bearer, going so far as to eject them from the party. In Mr Oosterhoff’s case the issue is an incredibly ill-conceived campaign to, somehow, conflate abortion with the Holocaust. It is something that no real Conservative can accept.

So, does that leave room for a Social Conservative Party on the right?

Maverick Party (@maverick_party) | Twitter

Now, my little chart doesn’t take account of the left-leaning Bloc Québécois which, currently, holds 30+ seats nor the emerging Maverick Party which may attract some voters away from the CPC. And what about all the other fringe parties? Forget about the People’s Party, so long as Maxime Bernier leads it, it is NOT a social conservative movement. M Bernier claims to be a libertarian and he helped change the Conservative Party‘s policy on e.g. same-sex marriage to the centre. But what about e.g. the Christian Heritage Party? Can it, or a similar group, provide a base upon which social conservatives ca build a viable, successful politival movement?

For those who take umbrage at the row of men above, I can replace them all with credible women: NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq from Nunavut, Liberal MP and Minister Mary Ng from Toronto, Ontario Conservative cabinet minister Caroline Mulroney and Christian Heritage Party Executive Director Vicki Gunn:

The problem for the existing political parties, even for the fringe Greens, is not potential leaders ~ be they female leaders, “racialized” leaders or gay leaders ~ the problem is that, until now, at least, the social-conservative movement has been unable to elect anyone except as a Conservative.* But as Mr Selley (and others) have pointed out the big blue tent is not big enough for those for whom the only really important button issues are abortion and equal rights, including marriage and adoption, for homosexuals. There are a lot of social-conservatives in Canada, in fact, evangelical Christianity, where many social-conservatives find their “home” is one of the few religious movement that shows strong growth, globally and in Canada, too. If the Conservative Party rejects the “far right”* then where does it go? There is no place for it on the left of the Conservatives, is there? Even if some NDP leaders are willing to flirt with notorious anti-Semites, that’s not as bad, politically, in Canada, as being anti-abortion.

I believe that the social-conservative movement’s place in the Conservative Party is untenable. They must accept either being denied any voice in that Party or they must strike out on their own. I think there is some room, and some seats in the House of Commons, on the “far right” of the Canadian political spectrum. The question is can the social-conservatives unite and then find a popular enough leader and recruit enough candidates and develop a platform, and, and. and ..?


Liberal Party of Canada - Official Web Site

* There were some notable social-conservative Liberals, like Tom Wappel, but Justin Trudeau hardened a previous Liberal Party policy when he said ALL Liberal MPs must vote pro-choice. Now, Erin O’Toole is making it harder for the “far right” to find a home in the CPC, too.

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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