If You’re Conservative – Who Are You?
Not so long ago I was accused of hiding behind a bi-partisan smokescreen to justify my criticism of the Conservative government specifically and some ultra-conservatives in general. I wasn’t overly offended by the accusation. It came from someone who patterns himself as a highly moral and open-minded conservative but who spends his time verbally attacking and blaming everyone but people like him for the criticisms being leveled at conservatives.
It’s the same kind of culture of victimization that too many groups use to rationalize the failings of those they support or to try and justify their own brand of intolerance against others.
The fact is that I am not bi-partisan. I am a conservative/libertarian who believes in small, transparent and accountable government, fiscal responsibility and who is opposed to stupidity and hypocrisy. Conservative values have always centred around tolerance, family, self-reliance, respect for our military and the rights and freedoms to which we are all entitled. That’s what I believe in and what I support.
I make no apology for any criticism I level against anyone be it progressive or conservative in defense of traditional conservative values. I have little use for the progressive ideology be it Liberal or NDP but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to constantly attack and smear the character of progressives who don’t agree with me. I consider that demeaning – not to them but to me.
If I can’t win the argument based on my values and the facts then it may be an indication that I need to revisit the facts or reconsider my opinion. I think it is self-degrading to try to win based on smearing the character of an opponent for nothing more than disagreeing with you.
Too many conservatives conduct themselves in exactly the same manner in which they accuse progressives of doing. They revere Stephen Harper in much the same way they accuse progressives of drooling over Justin Trudeau. They turn a blind eye to thing done by Stephen Harper that they loudly condemn in Trudeau.
The simple fact is that I don’t believe the progressive ticket is working. Ten years of Liberal government in Ontario has all but decimated the province’s economy, saddled future generations with unbelievable levels of debt and has eroded the people’s confidence in it democracy with more corruption and mismanagement than any Canadian government in history.
Likewise, I have no use for the PQ Government of Quebec which continues to promote a culture of victimization, enacts legislation that is restrictive and intolerant and which like the Liberals in Ontario is slowly destroying the province’s economy. Even the former founder of Solidarity, a separatist political party, left the province for greener pastures because he couldn’t find a comparable job in his home province.
Progressives have a proven record of economic mismanagement and government interference in the lives of people and it is not making life better for anyone. There has been too much corruption and not enough transparency or accountability in most progressive governments and it was conservatives who were going to change that – remember?
Conservative governments at both the federal and provincial level too often govern like Liberals. The current federal government is reducing government but only after having increased it to record levels. The Conservative Government will be lucky if it successfully reduces the bureaucracy to the size it was when it first took office.
Sometimes the contradictions become bizarre. The current federal conservative Government is expanding grow ops for medical marijuana at exactly the same time they’re ringing the bells about reefer madness because Justin Trudeau supports legalization of weed. Either grass is a dangerously harmful drug or it isn’t; it can’t be both and the government needs to stop trying to have it both ways. That’s how progressives govern.
Another case in point is the way the federal Conservative Government is treating our military.
The Conservative Party of Canada and ultra-conservatives talk a good game about supporting our troops. A section of Highway 401 in Ontario was renamed the Highway of Heroes because it is the stretch of highway down which the hearses carrying soldiers killed in action travel. People of all political stripes stand on the overpasses to pay homage to the fallen and it is a symbolic gesture that honours our men and women in uniform.
Unfortunately the same government that established the Hwy of Heroes also tried to claw back disability pensions from severely wounded vets until it became public knowledge and they were shamed into backing down. They tried to claim that PTSD was not a real medical disorder in an attempt to avoid the cost of disability payments and not one person at Veterans Affairs lost their job or faced disciplinary action when the department leaked private medical records of a vet fighting them for benefits.
It was recognized in the late 80s that the Navy’s Sea King helicopters were passed their shelf life and dangerous to fly. The Conservative Government of the day ordered new helicopters; the subsequent Liberal Government cancelled that order at a cost of a half billion and then ordered cheaper helicopters. That was in the early to mid 90s. Since then two Sea Kings have crashed killing pilot and crew and not one new helicopter has been received. The current pro-military government hasn’t got a clue about when they will arrive or how to push to get them here.
Now it is the most fundamental piece of equipment used by the infantry. Canadian Rangers comprised of personnel from various reserve regiments patrol our Arctic territory. It falls to them to defend our northern sovereignty – an issue of late with countries like the United States, Russia, and Norway and to a lesser extent even China. They are equipped with .303 Lee Enfield bolt action rifles with ten round magazines– the same rifle used by the Canadian infantry in WWII. It’s a good rifle but hopelessly out of date an not much good against an AK-47.
The Conservative government claims it does not have the money to purchase the rifles needed although it had no trouble finding millions to advertise the success of its Economic Action Plan or to plunk $50 million worth of pork barreling into Tony Clement’s riding.
And that, my friends, is the reason why I criticize this government. They don’t walk their talk. It’s all well and good to rename highways and make nice speeches about our men and women in uniform but if this government is going to continue to nickel and dime those same soldiers then they are no better than previous Liberal governments. What frustrates me is how little criticism conservatives bring to their own party for betraying what they claim to be important to them.
If you’re a conservative who supports our military, how can you possibly allow yourself to remain silent or are you one of those conservatives who simply believe that wearing red on Fridays is enough?
You can’t suck and blow at the same time to use a vulgar expression but that is what Stephen Harper and his government have been trying to do of late. They lay claim to conservative values but govern like Liberals. Our debt is too high, our healthcare is in a shambles, we have no environmental policy and our Prime Minister refuses to sit down on a regular basis with the provincial premiers to discuss the issues that face this country.
He considers it good politics but it isn’t good governance that leads to your country being run by ten independent principalities. Canada is a federation and the key foundation of it is ‘cooperative’ federalism.
Conservatives need to wake up and smell the coffee. It isn’t anti-conservative to criticize those in our party who betray our values. It is anti-conservative to remain silent. It is a dangerous hypocrisy to condemn in progressive governments what we turn a blind eye to in our own.
At some point you have to make a choice. At some point you either defend your principles and your values or you sell yourself cheaply to defend an ideology and to cling to political power. Everyone gets to make their own choice but as for me – I’ve already made my choice. I refuse to sell myself so cheaply that I will remain silent while those I supported betray what we stand for and what they promised before they were elected.
I think conservatives need to ask who we are and for what we stand. Then we need to defend it.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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