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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?

We haven’t.

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.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

all rights reserved. The written content of this article is the sole property of Maggie’s Bear but a link to it may be shared by those who think it may be of interest to others

Let’s connect on Twitter: @maggsbear or send  a  friend request on Facebook to: Maggie’s Bear

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  • red_06tweet

    I like the feature of tweeting text straight from your write-up and it follows with a link…no more re-writes…love your posts.

    • MaggiesBear

      Thank you

  • Bert_1

    I know that sometimes, I get a wee bit cynical. I look at articles like this and think “He has nailed it. We, as a society, have to get off our collective butts and *sell* conservatism to the unwashed masses. **THEN** we can show the world how it is done!”.

    Then, I come across things like I saw on Twitter the other day. Someone tweeted a link to a video that was done by some Democrats who were going about New Jersey (I think) trying to sell Obamacare by explaining all of the “benefits” of it. When they spoke to one guy on the street, he demanded “What is this “Obamacare” you are talking about and why have *I*, as an American citizen, not been made aware of it?”.

    I dunno, Bear. I bet that there are Canadians who have never heard of a Sea King or, if they have, they think it is a type of sea bird. Submarines? Forget it! West Edmonton Mall? What’s an “Edmonton”? But, everyone knows what pot is. So, who will win the most votes? I bet it will be the one talking about pot.

    • MaggiesBear

      You’re quite right Bert, which is why I think we all need to speak up rather than just keep yelling inanities at each other. I’m trying to convince anyone that I’m right or to think like me. I just want people to stop reacting and start thinking. I’m tired of corrupt cynical government. I want good government; one that is efficient, transparent and accountable and I just decided that I didn’t care who was in government – if they were screwing up, I was speaking up.

      • Bert_1

        I know, and it is the knowledge that I know that you are right that keeps me going sometimes. I know that there are Canadians who don’t know who our Prime Minister is and who don’t really care. There are just as many who will vilify anyone who doesn’t agree with them just because and they will think nothing of destroying someone’s life to shut them down. It happens all of the time.
        .
        I think an even bigger problem, though, is to get someone to stay the course once they are elected. Time and again, people get elected (and this is not unique to any country) and go to their Capitol with all of the enthusiasm in the world. But, the system grinds them down sometimes to the point that they become the person they swore that they would never become. Then, again, doesn’t that happen to all of us? How many people have done something and then realized, to their horror “OMG, I have become my mother/father!”?
        .
        I think that that is what has happened to Stephen Harper. He went to Ottawa with all the right stuff but time has taken a toll on him. No, he isn’t very conservative any more, but I have to admit that I don’t think I would remain conservative very long in Ottawa. The opposition is just too vicious. As a matter of fact, I have considered from time to time becoming more active in politics and running for office. I will never do that, though, because I know that I would not survive in that environment. A sad truth but a truth nonetheless.

        • MaggiesBear

          I think you pretty much captured it in this comment and have nothing of value to add to it other than I agree with you.

          • Bert_1

            I guess the question then becomes “What can we do to help out politicians remain true to their calling?”. If we keep sending good people to Ottawa (or our provincial Capitols – same idea) only to have them chewed up and spit out, is that effective? I marvel at folks like Romney, Ryan, Rand, and a host of others who manage to stick to their guns through thick and thin. In the meantime, what can we do to help Harper and any other Conservative already in Ottawa to remain Conservative or, if they have already strayed, return to conservatism? I think at least a part of that is to point out the hypocrisy of their opposition, don’t you? No, we shouldn’t stop at that point, but we shouldn’t ignore it, either. To that end, I think that the various forms of social media are Godsends. Many things that wouldn’t have been public knowledge for years are now revealed almost immediately. And, *everyone* knows about it.

  • Pingback: If You’re Conservative – Who Are You? | Grumpy Opinions()

  • Gerry

    Bear, it is like watching a pro wrestling match back in the 70s where people cheered wildly for the ‘good’ guy while he did things they would boo wildly about when the ‘bad’ guy did the same thing. (Long story but I was there when Archie the Stomper Goldie went off-script – but that is another story). Having lived in the US and after having (under duress) had to study the underpinnings of our differences (US and Canada) I have come to understand that we do not really have a conservative party here. What we have is center Democrat (otherwise laughingly called the ‘Conservatives’) left of center Democrats (that would be the Liberals – at least until their new leader takes them way past the NDP to the left) and the far left of center Democrats (which would be the NDP but as per my previous comment may well be the liberals)..

    I am not a fan of any of them. I just wish a real conservative would stand up and be counted. And like you I am confused as to whether I am conservative or libertarian. Sort of depends on the day. I am still po-ed about their turn around on taxing trust funds. Had planned my retirement around their promise not to tax (which once elected they of course promptly reneged on) and now have to continue working because they LIED. Sorry, no polite way of saying it. If you say one thing while in the process of getting elected and then do the opposite when you are elected what the hell do you call it? Not principled conservative I don’t think. Not principled anything as far as I can figure. And on that day they lost my support so I am stuck with no option when I vote. I suave my conscience by voting for the local candidate although I know they are but a pawn in the national party game.

    And while Harper is the best of a sorry lot I don’t have to be happy about that.

    • MaggiesBear

      Well – that pretty much says in two paragraphs what I’ve tried to say in a half dozen posts. I need to work on my editing skills. I think you’re bang on and I agree with everything you wrote – I just wish I had written it.

  • Randy

    Cripes bear, I’d love to comment but you have said every single thing
    that I would want to say. Very well done!

    • MaggiesBear

      I appreciate that but I believe there is still lots of room for all of us to explore this issue especially the part about what we’re going to do about it. I think the thing I hate most about all of this is feeling somewhat powerless to affect how my own government, and the political party support, operate.

      • Randy

        I wish more people would hold their political parties accountable,
        but like you I think everyone feels “what difference would it make”.
        I believe the answer is to get more people out to vote. When you win a majority by getting 40% of the vote, and only 60% of the
        eligible people voted, your mandate is really not that strong.
        All political parties feel a smugness when they win with above numbers and they shouldn’t. When you get 80-85% of the people
        voting, for whoever, then the politicians listen. Until then, 1 or 2%
        of the 40% of the 60% are like a speck of dust to politicians.
        And that is why people feel frustrated, left out and with no voice,
        at least in my opinion. However, a small voice is better than no
        voice. As the saying goes” even one mosquito in a tent can
        get things moving”, or something like that.

        • MaggiesBear

          More people need to speak out rather than follow blindly. We’re not sheep and I believe it’s long past time that we stopped acting like them.

          • Randy

            I think we are in agreement on that.

  • starfighter441

    I wonder how many C1A1 rifles are still in storage, and why the Rangers couldn’t be equiped with them? Be that as it may the Nr 4 Lee Enfield is still a good weapon, but spares are getting scarce.

    • MaggiesBear

      The Lee Enfield was a good weapon in its day but not much good against AK47s

      • Exiled maritimer

        Automatic weapons tend to have freezing problems in cold weather/ adverse conditions. A minor problem in structured military operations but a concern in the north. Also I consider modern armies went to autos to make up for lack of experience with firearms. Spray and you might hit something. Also the Lee Enfield bolt action in 308 is a most versatile hunting round when living off the land. I am willing to bet that most Rangers would pick a LE over most other options. Finally modern military equipment peters out over about 400m. A LE is accurate at twice that in experienced hands. An old design but deadly effective. I would guess that the replacement chosen for the unique conditions the rangers operate under would be a modern design 308 based on the mauser design (120 years+/-). What works works.

        • MaggiesBear

          You raise valid points but are not completely accurate. The AK-47 was designed in Russia for use in all conditions from Sibera to the desert. It does not jam and is so reliable you can run over it with a truck, bury it in sand and it will work first time, every time. I’ve seen both of those demonstrations done repeatedly with the same weapon.

          The Canadian Rangers are not issued a.308. They are issued the .303 Lee Enfield No. 4. As for automatic weapons being issued to compensate for poor marksmanship. I would suggest that like all other weapons, automatic and semi-automatic weapons have been issued because they have accelerated killing power.

          Under the conditions you describe which would be long-distance single shot almost sniper conditions. The Enfield is fine. In a fire fight within 300 yards, it is no match for automatics.

          • Bert_1

            I remember reading a statistic (no idea if it is accurate or not, but it is interesting) that, in the Vietnam war, there were 50,000 rounds of ammunition fired for every fatality.

            • MaggiesBear

              I don’t know if that’s true or not but I don’t have difficulty believing it. Almost every night on the news they show video clips from war zones and often you see combatants crouched behind a wall holding their rifle above their heads to shoot blindly over the top of the wall. I suspect that isn’t the most accurate way to fire a weapon.

          • Exiled maritimer

            Of course the 303 (doh) I took my first deer with one. Thanks for the correction. And one of the reasons for adopting the autos was the Korean war when the large amounts of targets required accelerated killing power. Still for a lightly armed patrol unit a dual purpose hunting / defence weapon works. I can see issuing a bolt action 308 that would do the job (and help with recruiting). Let the reg force with the firepower, and who the rangers would be babysitting, take care of anything

            • MaggiesBear

              I’m not sure that it has to be mutually exclusive. Some bolt action, some automatics might be a good all round approach to equipping them. But it is clear that the Rangers themselves feel that the Lee Enfield is obsolete and needs to upgraded to a more modern weapon. Because I’m not much of an authority on military equipment, I tend to support leaving it to the our men and women in the field to identify what they need rather than to politicians. It is, after all, our soldiers who put their lives on the line not the politicos making the decisions.

  • sebanders

    Correction: Your rant did not appear on my FB Page, but rather in my email box. I guess you really wanted to make sure I read your rant. Good for you. I have. And I still think you are to thin skinned for this business. Or lack humility. Try some in your morning coffee.

    • MaggiesBear

      As usual you only read what you want to see. I didn’t say my rant appeared on your page. I referred to the comment you posted on mine.

  • sebanders

    From my experience with bears while living in the Rockies, I always considered them to be some of my favourite people, but I also believed they were thick skinned for putting up with so many dumb tourists. You, on the other hand, are far from being thick skinned.

    I don’t know how you did it, but you apparently removed me from my “friends” list, since I cannot find you on it, but you somehow were able to post his on my FB page to, I suppose, let me know how offended you are at my not bowing down to your “purity of conservative soul”. I wondered why you are so easily offended by people who disagree with your point of view. But now I know.

    I have heard of Progressives; I have heard of Conservatives; I have heard of Progressive Conservatives; and I have also heard of Libertarians. But today, because of your need to vent about those (me) who dare remonstrate the bias of your statements, I learn that you are a Conservative Libertarian, which explains why you are the way you are.
    You can’t help it.

    Your first paragraph, of course, is a lot of “bull”, and you know it. You are simply trying to justify yourself to your readership by dumping your “bull” on those who disagree with you. You write well, and you write very good stuff, most of the time, and for that I have great respect. But the criticism I gave you last week still stands, and even more so after this “rant”, where you should have left well enough alone, since I had written you off as a disgruntled thin skinned bear.

    But in this rant, you made a grave error, again, in your attempt to discredit the present Conservative Government of Stephen Harper.

    You accused “this government” of purchasing the British junk yard submarines. That is absolute BULL. Those submarines were purchased in 1998. by a previous government, when the Conservative Party did not yet exist, and Stephen Harper was otherwise occupied.

    Suggestion: first, check your facts, not just about that, but about a lot of what you wrote here above. It appears you don’t know as much as you think you do about the inner sanctums of this Government.

    Second: try a bit of humility in your coffee. And stop accusing others of your own sins.

    • MaggiesBear

      I am not offended in the least by people who disagree with me. I am offended by hypocrites who talk out of both sides of their mouths and who are undermining what conservatives stand for. You are no better than the precious fools who drool over Justin Trudeau only your idol is Stephen Harper. You defend the individual not the principle and it is people like you that are undermining conservative values and principles.

      • oldwhiteguy

        that sir is the intellectual level one faces when attempting to tell the truth. their ideology trumps any incoming information.

        • MaggiesBear

          I don’t mind a informed debate or even if someone disagrees with me but Christ in Heaven I get weary of the hypocrites and weak minded.

          • oldwhiteguy

            just finished a round of golf and a few beer. my perspective always changes after that. the terminally stupid are a burden none the less.

            • MaggiesBear

              I didn’t get out on the course once this year because of my back. It’s really annoying because I like golf and Maggie gave me a really spectacular PING leather bag for Christmas but nobody has seen it this year. Damn. Hopefully next year. I’m pretty sure the bag plays golf better than I do but I look great standing around the clubhouse.

              I agree with you about the terminally stupid. I think we should rent buses and every time we run into one of them, tell ’em to get on the bus. When the bus is full we should have it driven way up north and emptied and then brought back to pick up more.

              • oldwhiteguy

                a very large bus.

      • MaggiesBear

        “Your first paragraph, of course, is a lot of “bull”, and you know it.” As I told you on FB. I think you’re an idiot. You can add arrogant and adolescent to that. Take your nonsense somewhere else before you make an even greater ass of yourself than you already have. it.you know it.r first paragraph, of course, is a lot of “bull”, and you know it.

  • Gramma Barb

    A liberalized Conservative and I lean towards the ‘green’ ! And at any given time one or all P*%$# me off because of their stupidity and enormous ego entitlement attitudes! Now where does that leave me…….and others in the same bowl? I like the musical video, very fitting!

    • Gramma Barb

      OH….and that is for Federal and provincial alike! they all come in with lofty goals and promises, and within 30 days it all begins to fall apart, beginning to think it is simply a very profitable company with a very good pension for those with public aspirations to try to get hired on!

      • MaggiesBear

        Power and privilege corrupt.