a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Conservative Heretic

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
Winston Churchill

I have fallen into disrepute.

I know it’s hard for you to believe but there is a whole group of people who are very annoyed with me for criticizing Stephen Harper and the Conservative Base. I believe it works on the principle that anything that challenges what this particular group considers to be orthodox is considered by them to be heresy.

I suppose that makes me a heretic. I wish I could be more concerned about it but as the dear lady, my mother, used to say while she was still with us:

“Before you take the compliment or the criticism too seriously, dear, consider the source of it first.”

It was good advice; although advice I didn’t always take in my younger years. These days I tend to take extreme compliment or criticism with a grain of salt which I believe probably elevates me (or lowers me, depending on your point of view) to being a jaded heretic.

The simple truth is, however, that I’m less interested in what people think of me – or what I write – than I am in defending what I think is important and what I think is important are values and principles.

I get tired of the endless attempts to defend individuals who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, dishonest or corrupt simply because they happen to be one of ours. If we, as conservatives, are not going to defend our values by holding our leaders to a high standard; who do we think is? Certainly neither the Liberals nor the NDP are going to rush to the defense of the things we claim to believe in and support.

I get tired of the delusional mythology too. No lie is greater than the lies we tell ourselves and some conservatives have been more than just a little willfully blind in their desperation to believe that we’re still the good guys.

One of the great mythologies is the wonderful job of managing the economy that the Harper Government has done and how fiscally responsible it is. By comparison they point to the Liberals, in particular the Ontario Liberals and the mess they have made and continue to make of Ontario’s economy.

Quite frankly, that’s setting the bar for comparison pretty low. I know gambling addicts and shopaholics who do a better job of managing their resources than the Ontario Liberals have done.

The Chretien Liberals balanced the books. It’s a matter of record whether we like the Liberals or not. Stephen Harper inherited a balanced budget – we now have a budget deficit again and have had for the better part of his mandate.

One of his first acts after being elected Prime Minister was to cut the GST. “Hurray” said conservatives – lower taxes but it was a conservative government that brought in the GST and for good reason. Consumption taxes are a fairer form of taxation than income tax and they generate more government revenue with less pain to the taxpayer. When Stephen Harper cut the GST he removed any wiggle room he might have had when the recession hit in 2008.

I don’t blame Harper for the recession or even the infrastructure spending he implemented to fight it although it is suspiciously like a Liberal approach. But I do blame him for failing to plan for unexpected contingencies which a truly fiscal conservative government would have done.

Much is made about the stability of our banking system and with good reason. It is highly regulated and was able to withstand the devastating impact of the 2008 recession that crippled many financial institutions in other countries. But again, the Harper Conservatives didn’t create that circumstance; they inherited the strong banking system Canada enjoys.

As for managing our money more responsibly; I beg to differ. Since 2008, the Harper Government has spent more than $500 million advertising its Economic Action Plan. The advertising was so ineffective that it failed to generate one single phone call to its 1-800 number.  That’s a lot of taxpayer money simply to pat yourself on the back. It’s enough money to pay to cancel a gas power plant in Ontario.

Another $50 million was pulled out of the Border Security budget so that Treasury Board President Tony Clement could redecorate his riding, complete with a media centre that features an indoor lake* that almost nobody sees or uses 

I find that kind of waste to be contrary for what we, as conservatives, claim to stand. There are other examples, some trivial, some significant but the point is made. The Harper Government is no more fiscally responsible than some previous administrations and less so than a few.

Some of the hard-core right is equally as forgiving when it comes to accountability, transparency and integrity in government and it bemuses me to watch them turning themselves inside out in an attempt to rationalize the same failings in the government we elected that they criticize in the Liberals.

Scandals? We’ve had more than a few including Robocall, In and Out, illegal campaign funding and, of course, the current Senate Expense mess.

Integrity? Even Stephen Harper has admitted that some within his administration practiced deception; he just hasn’t accepted responsibility for appointing those people to their positions. That would be the same lack of accountability we condemn in the other parties.

And speaking of accountability, to hear Stephen Harper tell it, one person was responsible for Robocall even though it now appears that some of the statements made to police by conservative campaign workers are not truthful and the Senate scandal was caused by just two people. Imagine that, Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright are solely responsible for everything that has happened over there in the Senate and upstairs in the Prime Minister’s Office on Parliament Hill.

I had one conservative blogger refer to me as someone who had been ‘trapped’ by the media hype over the Senate Scandal. I laughed out loud when I read that and read it to Maggie when she got home from the office because she likes a good chuckle too.

The only people who are trapped are those who are trapped by blind devotion to an individual rather than loyalty to a set of principles and values. I’ve read some of that particular blogger’s recent pieces and it is almost sad to watch someone work so hard to cling to a tattered illusion of Conservativism rather than dealing with the truth of what is being done to it by people like Stephen Harper, Rob Ford, Mike Duffy, Irving Gerstein, Carolyn Stewart Olsen and a whole bunch more.

Yesterday, another one of our veterans committed suicide. That brings the total number of suicides among Afghan vets to 51 since 2008 or almost 37% as many deaths by suicide as those killed in action. (138 Canadian soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan)

There were 27 suicides in 2011 alone and 4 more just in the past week . The PR push is now on to blame the military culture and even the disabled vets for being ashamed to seek help because of the stigma of suffering from PTSD.

There is only place the blame for this lies and that is with the government. Since taking office, neither DND nor the Harper Government undertook to address the issue of the increasing suicide rate among veterans. Instead, the Harper Government first tried to have PTSD removed as a recognizable medical disability. It cut support to returning veterans while claiming increased support through its ‘fiscally responsible’ Veterans’ Charter. reduced the number of case workers available to assist vets, discharged disabled service personnel before they were entitled to pensions and benefits rather than providing them with support and has closed a number of veterans’ support offices.

Even now, the approved medical practitioners approved to assist vets are being held back thanks to a bunch of absurd red tape.

This has upset many Canadians from all political parties with the exception of Stephen Harper’s most adoring fans. They continue to defend him while claiming to support our veterans and that, my friends, is where I part company with the hard right.

I have no respect for people who talk out of both sides of their mouth; who support in our leaders what they criticize in the opposition. I have no use for people who claim to be conservatives but allow the very values that define being conservative to be trampled as if they are meaningless.

It is because I do speak out and criticize my party for its excesses, its lack of ethics and its erosion of our principles that I have been labeled a heretic.

So be it.

I’m a conservative and if being a heretic means standing up in defense of fundamental conservative values, I’m good with that; but  if you’re going to label me a heretic for defending those values rather than those like Stephen Harper or Rob Ford, who violate them; make sure you put a capital H on the word Heretic.

*It has been correctly pointed out to me by a trusted source that the indoor lake and media centre were located in Tony Clement’s riding is wrong. I’ve acknowledged the error in the comments section but have left it here with admission of error rather than try to hide the fact that I made a mistake. The statement that $50 million was taken from the border security budget and spent on infrastructure in his riding is factually correct and a matter of public record.

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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

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  • peggyt

    Bear: Here is someone else’s opinion about Harper. Perhaps you should read it. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/12/06/david-frum-in-praise-of-the-prime-ministerial-control-freak/

    • MaggiesBear

      I read it. It changes nothing for me.

  • Matt Mills

    I agree with some of the others. Your blog stands out, and not in a good way. You are somewhere in between a liberal and a conservative – sort of like john tory.
    Generally not a good read and maybe you should take a break.

  • deb Scott

    I think the problem lies with people believing in ONE party OR the OTHER party. Its really about the issues that face all canadians. The outrage for the sponsorship scandal didnt just emanate from the conservatives, it was outrage felt by all Canadians. I think this moment, that many conservatives have reached with Harper(for many scandals), is felt by all canadians, left and right. What we need is all govt and all politicians to be held accountable. Not the ones that arent in power, or the ones that we feel bias against. Rob Ford is a mess, so he needs to go. The end. He is not a good mayor. That is the reality supported by the facts.

    Harper needs to stand up to the podium and apologize to all Canadians. He needs to get real and be accountable, he is the leader. Thats what leaders do, they dont blame their underlings. Strangely enough Paul Martin didnt shy from that role when his scandal hit big time. He inherited sponsorship scandal but he was finance minister when it was playing out so he knew that he had to stand up and take the heat.
    So yes, conservative values are strong in many of us. but What we need is all govts to do right by the people of canada. Only the people of Canada can demand that, and we can do it with more than voting. Pretending that our leader is good because we dont want to admit he has failed us, isnt real, thats living in denial, wearing blinders. Harper has failed in all of his mandate, so yeah I want to see him ousted.

    • Bert_1

      I agree with all of your post except for the last sentence. Harper may not do things the way *I* think that they should be done, but I ave never been PM so I really don’t know how things should be done. Every PM is different. I like the differences in some and don’t like them on others. But, whether I like or dislike how a particular PM handles himself is in no way indicative of his efficacy as a PM. Besides, if Harper were to do things the way I think they should be done, he would most likely end up in jail.

  • peggyt

    I have said it before and I will say it again now.
    No leader, no party, no candidate is perfect.
    Stephen Harper is an excellent leader and we are fortunate to have him.
    CPC is a good party with realistic policies.
    The CPC MPs and cabinet ministers are, for the most part competent and dedicated.
    I do not see any other viable alternatives that could offer better government than what we already have.
    I suggest we all enjoy the Harper govenment. We in Ontario are stuck with the inept, incompetent, corrupt, scandal ridden Liberals

    • MaggiesBear

      We don’t agree. Let’s leave it at that.

  • peggyt

    Hey Bear,
    No one uses the “indoor lake” because it does not exist. It was not in Clement’s riding, it was in Toronto for the G20 where thousands and thousands of journalists from all over the world were couped up inside buildings. The lake was 12″ deep and was a prop no different than a water feature at the Sportsman Show. The lake you speak of however, attracted world wide attention to the District of Muskoka which happened to be named one the the 10 places on the planet to visit last year. Guess that media attention paid off since the biggest industry in Muskoka is tourism.
    I could point out other factual errors in this particular blog but will leave it at that.

    • MaggiesBear

      I stand corrected on the lake but I still think that $1.9 million spent on a media centre with a fake to be used for three days is a bit extravagant.

  • Pingback: A Bear’s Rant | Grumpy Opinions()

  • Bert_1

    I have been doing some thinking about this blog and the comments on it. I admit that I came on a bit heavy, probably because I was in a bad mood and the blog just rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t bother to count, but you claimed many times in this blog to be a conservative, Bear, but the blog has “LIBERAL” stamped all over it in my opinion. You are bashing the activities (legal and illegal) of conservative politicians but offer no workable remediation strategy. That is a liberal tactic, not a conservative one. If you don’t like what Harper is doing, join the CPC if you haven’t already and invoke their leadership review process. Sitting behind a keyboard and bitching about real or perceived inappropriate activities by Harper or anyone in the CPC does nothing but provide a forum for those who wish him ill. Like it or not, he is our PM and for the time being, is the best option for PM of any contenders.

    I also found it rather disturbing to find, on a presumably conservative blog, that I have been maligned and accused of things that cannot be either proven or even alleged for lack of evidence. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs and, with the sole exception of an occasional foray to the liquor store to pick up a case of beer or bottle of wine for my wife, I do not support anyone in their endeavors to partake of any of those activities. Yet, I have been accused numerous times here of supporting things like smoking crack. WTF? Is that how conservatives behave? I expect that kind of comment on the CBC site, not here.

    Then there is the leadership of the various parties, etc. People claim that we deserve better than what we have with Harper. OK, fine. You are entitled to your opinion and I don’t necessarily disagree with you. But, if Harper was replaced tomorrow by Kenny, Baird, Ambrose or any of the other qualified candidates, we would be right back here in a year or two with exactly the same arguments. For that mater, Jesus Himself could come down from Heaven and serve as Canada’s PM and people would complain about Him. So, if you want to replace Harper, go for it. Just remember that you will be held accountable by people who don’t know what they are talking about for putting “that idiot” in the PMO.

  • SDC

    Carry on as you were, Bear, you’re speaking for a whole lot of us. As a conservative, I don’t enjoy being lied to by the party I voted for, any more than I enjoyed being lied to by the Chretien/Martin cabal, but it seems like your critics don’t MIND being lied to, as long as they’re being lied to by their own team. This is what led to the Reform/PC split not that long ago, when enough of us decided that being lied to by ANY party was unacceptable, and Harper promised to do better. He’s running out of time to keep that promise, because it looks like he’s got the same sort of “power at any price” disease that led to the Lieberal’s downfall.

    • MaggiesBear

      I appreciate the support but I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself. I am encouraged, however, when people like you also stand up and speak out against unethical behaviour by all parties rather than just those we oppose. Who knows, if enough of us make enough noise, they might just start to sit up and take notice on Parliament Hill.

  • Randy

    Well done men. Reading the comments below is what I would imagine
    the editorial board of the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun would come up
    with in a debate. As always, personal criticism of the opponent is a requisite
    for any conversation about politics. And everyone wonders why the voting
    percentage continues to drop in every election!!

    • MaggiesBear

      I have no problem with criticism as long as it’s warranted. My issue is criticizing in others what we defend in our own. Either support all or criticize all equally but this double standard is nothing less than hypocrisy.

      • Randy

        Criticism of their political stand and views is fair game,
        criticism of the other person’s values is not.
        I enjoy reading a constructive debate between people who are
        passionate about their point of view. It is why this is one of the
        very few sites I come to.

        • MaggiesBear

          I try not to make it personal although sometimes my patience is tested and I am merely human. :-)

          I appreciate your support and the commentary you have offered in the past. It encourages me to believe that not everyone in the country is going mad.

  • Randy

    Bear, you continue on as you are. The reason most of us read your post’s are the
    very reason you are being criticized. You are pointing out the facts, and everything
    stated above is a fact. Much of what the Harper government has done in your
    article is what they campaigned against in previous elections. Yes, sometimes
    you have to change your goals when governing, but your values should not change.
    We can read the Toronto Star or the Globe and Mail for the Liberal zealots, and
    the Sun media for the Conservative zealots. There are enough willfully blind on
    both sides to keep their memberships up, however some of us do not want to join.
    It is going to be very sad in the next election when we have to vote for the person
    we dislike the least, as compared to who we like the most. Those who are not
    blind followers will understand the difference.

    • MaggiesBear

      Thanks for the encouragement but I have no intention of stopping. The last paragraph in the comment above pretty much summarizes why.

  • Bert_1

    I am really starting to get worried about you, Bear. You seem to be so blind that you can’t even detect your own blindness.

    You chastise Harper for taking Cretin’s balanced books and putting Canada back on a deficit footing but you completely ignore how Cretin balanced those books. You ignore the fact that Cretin so decimated our military that, when the Afghanistan war started, Canada lacked the military transportation facilities to transport our troops to that country. We had to rely on the US to fly our troops over there. The only time I can think of that I was more embarrassed as a Canadian is when Bev Oda was raked over the coals for spending $16 on a f#$%^& glass of orange juice. A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER SPENT TOO MUCH ON ORANGE JUICE WHILE REPRESENTING HER COUNTRY!!!

    • MaggiesBear

      I think your last paragraph pretty much sums up why I’m writing the stuff I write. I find the attitude unbelievable.

      • Bert_1

        What’s unbelievable about it? Do you not like the fact that I want our governments to be run by people who can and will do the job? If you can find someone who can do the job, GO FOR IT! Instead, you are just bitching and complaining about Ford’s and Harper’s antics. What the hell good does that do? That is a liberal tactic, not a conservative one. You remind me sometimes of the people who never look beyond the car in front of them when they are driving. There can be a 500 car pileup developing 200′ in front of them but they will drive right into it because they can’t bring themselves to look a few feet further down the road. You want to get rid of Harper and/or Ford? Fine! Who will they be replaced by? Do you have the authority to force a leadership review of the CPC? If not, your ranting is doing nothing but driving conservatives to the liberal camp. Nothing more.

        • MaggiesBear

          What complete and utter claptrap.

          • Bert_1

            Spoken like a true liberal.

        • Barb Gulka

          Truly a fine example of where partisanship is more important than principal, honesty & clean ethics! There are excellent leaders in the Conservative government that could and should step forward, to settle for the likes of Harper and Ford poses the question to Canadians, are we willing to settle for rotten apples at the bottom of the barrel.? don’t think so……!

          • Bert_1

            How is anything I said an example of partisanship? I have no particular love for Harper. I respect what he has accomplished but if he were to resign tomorrow, no problem. I hope than someone as capable steps froward to take the reigns of the CPC. In the meantime, however, I recognize that, regardless of what *I* think, Harper ***IS*** the leader of the CPC and that is what we have to deal with. So, deal with it! And, unlike with your comment, I refuse to condemn Harper or Ford or anyone else without cause. Harper has been an excellent PM whether you like it or not. Yes, he has done some things I wish he hadn’t and he has not done some things that I wish he had or would. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he is infinitely better than JT can ever be.

            • MaggiesBear

              Clearly you have forgotten this short comment you wrote.

              ” But, I would much rather see a crack smoking, lying, dishonest copy of Harper running this country than JT. PET tried to destroy Canada and he almost succeeded. JT will finish the job.”

              If that isn’t blind partisanship that is prepared to sell out our values and principles, I don’t know what is.

              • Barb Gulka

                MY POINT EXACTLY! what are we prepared to settle for? I WANT BETTER! I want an ethical, honest, fair and strong leader, not one that grovels in back room deals and lies with a straight face and twists unpleasant deals around to suit his position……or one that deals drugs with characters that our law enforcement is trying to curtail. Nor do I want this to be an example to the young leaders of tomorrow……I want to say…..I WANT BETTER!

                • Bert_1

                  That’s what we ALL want! But, until you find this utopian leader, you have to deal with what you have. I have said it many times: If one of our politicians commits a criminal act, CHARGE HIM/HER! Until we have proof that will stand up in court, why throw them out? Sometimes, the better option is the devil you know.

              • Bert_1

                If you see that as blind partisanship, then I am beginning to get an idea of why you post the stuff you post. That was simply meant as an indication of how much I dislike JT and fear having him as a PM. The fact that I would prefer a crack smoking PM over JT as PM should tell you, I would think, of my disdain for JT, not that I somehow support smoking crack.

          • MaggiesBear

            Bang on Barb. The Base thinks the only alternative to Justin Trudeau is to support unethical behaviour in our own leadership. I agree with you. The real alternative is to replace any who want to represent us with leaders who will walk their talk and stay true to conservative principles and values rather than simply pay lip service and expect us all to clap our flippers like trained seals. If enough of us speak up and put pressure on our MPs you can be damn sure that this party will get back on track fast enough.

            • Bert_1

              There you go again, Bear :-( Why do you have to claim that we conservatives believe that the *ONLY* alternative to JT is to support unethical behavior in our leaders? I have never said that and I know of no one else who has said it. But, you insist of flying that flag. Why?

              • MaggiesBear

                You said it yourself at the end of the very first comment you wrote about this piece.

                • Bert_1

                  I most certainly did not say that I **SUPPORT** any of those behaviours and I have reiterated that stand in numerous posts. Yes, I have stated that if, given the choice between a crack smoking Harper and JT, I would choose the crack smoking Harper and I stand by that claim. But, there is no evidence that Harper smokes crack and I would hope that such a choice is not the only choice we have for PM. If it is, we have a hell of a lot worse problems than whether someone smoke crack or not.

      • Bert_1

        Don’t play that game with me, Bear. I have quite enjoyed most of your blogs for quite some time now because you were conservative and looked at things from a very rational perspective. Emphasis, unfortunately, is on “were”.

        Saying “I must have missed the meeting where it was decided that corruption,criminality, hypocrisy and deception were established as the new conservative values.” is a very childish liberal argument. You know damned well that I have never condoned of any of those actions and I certainly don’t champion them. I am a pragmatist and I believe that we need to play the hand we are dealt. If that means that we have to deal with a crack smoking mayor, then so be it. A true conservative approach to such a situation is not to jump ship and vote liberal but to figure out what can be salvaged from the situation so that the taxpayers don’t get saddled with the bill. AGAIN! We ask ourselves questions like: Is Ford a good mayor? Does he have the support of the people? Is there anything we can do to help him deal with his substance abuse problems? We don’t throw him out just to save face. The left has been trying to get rid of him since he won the election. Like it or not, the answer to all three of those questions is “YES”. The problem, then is how do we help him to be an excellent mayor?

        • MaggiesBear

          I’t’s interesting that you didn’t take the same attitude with Duffy, Wallin or Brazeau.

          • Bert_1

            I do take exactly the same attitude with them as you very well know. We have discussed all three of them in other posts and my stand hasn’t changed. What really bothers me, though, is that, in this blog, you trash Duffy even though both the auditors and the RCMP say that he did nothing wrong. I have said all along that if Duffy – or any politician – has done something wrong, CHARGE THEM!!!!!!!! But, if they haven’t, why are you posting such vitriolic garbage about them? If you are a true conservative, accept the fact that nothing has been found that can incriminate them and STFU! Otherwise, just accept the fact that you are a liberal and have the decency to admit it!

            • MaggiesBear

              I don’t trash Duffy for his housing expenses, I criticize him for charging taxpayers for meals he took in his own home.

              • Bert_1

                If that can be proven, charge him with it. If it can’t, why are you getting upset over it? Get over it.

        • Barb Gulka

          excuse me! I am gagging!! ‘help him to be an excellent mayor’? really? pretty sad state of affairs when people are willing to settle for these very poor examples of humanity pounding their chests saying how great thou art! take stock, what does that say about the people that say this is OK behavior and we are to expect nothing more of our leaders than criminal, lowlife, back alley behavior

          • Bert_1

            Get a grip, Barb! At no time did I say or imply that any of this behavior was OK or that we should expect nothing better. For that matter, I didn’t even say that he was an excellent mayor. What I **DID** say that that, if he is who the people of Toronto want as their mayor, we should ***DO WHAT WE CAN*** to help him **TO BE** an excellent mayor. Maybe he can never be an excellent mayor, I don’t know, but I think that the mature approach would be to salvage what we can.

            • Barb Gulka

              And you have just confirmed…..your willing to settle for anything just to say ‘you have’…..sad state of affairs for Toronto and Canada…..It should be the mayor of Toronto and the PM of Canada that ‘WANT’ to be the best they can be for the people they represent on the world stage! Don’t ever fear…..’.I have a grip’

              • Bert_1

                I must have learned a different version of the English language because I can see nothing in my post that would lead a rational person to believe that I am willing to “settle for anything”. As visionaries, we must always strive for the best for our future. But as pragmatists, we must make the best of what we have. And, no, that is in no way, shape or form “settling” for second best. It is just being a realist and dealing with what we have in the best way that we can while building for the future. To me, THAT is being a conservative.