A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy. Benjamin Disraeli
People ask how I can be a conservative and still want higher taxes. It makes my head spin, and I guess it shows how old I am. But I thought that conservatives were supposed to like balanced budgets. I thought it was the conservative position to not leave heavy indebtedness to our grandchildren. Ben Stein
Being a conservative has become very confusing these days. It’s becoming more and more difficult to tell the Conservatives from the Liberals.
Today, for example, The Sun newspapers reported on Conservative Cabinet Minister, Kelly Leitch and her recent letter to 500 of Canada’s largest corporations. It appears that Ms Leitch, on behalf of the Harper government, wants to see more women on corporate boards and has asked private industry to report back with their plans to accomplish this. Sounds kind of like affirmative action, doesn’t it – the kind of politically correct nonsense that we have criticized Liberals engaging in for decades and which, truth be told, hasn’t really worked out all that well.
Conservatives are supposed to be non-interventionist and free market aren’t we – or did I miss a meeting where it was decided we should be more like the Liberals?
I must have because when the 2008 recession hit, the Conservative Harper government did precisely what the Liberals would have done. They threw taxpayer money at the problem – billions of it and they kept throwing it around long after the recession had ended.
Their base call this fiscal restraint but only because it was a Conservative government that spent the money.
I don’t know why you might have voted Conservative in the last election but I know why I did.
I wanted accountability and transparency in government. I wanted a reformed senate, a rational policy on abortion that protected the life of unborn children – at least in the late stages of pregnancy if nothing else. I voted for a strong military and improved support for our veterans, less government spending and a balanced budget.
To put it mildly – I got screwed and so did you if you thought you were voting for many of the same things for which I voted when you voted for this government.
There is no transparency or accountability with this government. Every time they get caught doing something they shouldn’t, they deny, deflect, counter-attack or ignore. They never take responsibility for anything except those things they think will make them look good. The Transportation Safety Board’s report on the Lac Megantic train disaster is just one more example. It points to specific failings by the government but once again the government’s has refused to take any responsibility for what it failed to do.
Senate reform is dead – at least under this government because the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government cannot unilaterally make constitutional changes to the senate. It must work with the provinces and that, quite frankly, is as difficult as it is distasteful to the Harper government.
Even after all the cuts to the federal public service that have been much ballyhooed by Treasury Board President Tony Clement, the simple fact is that the Harper government has grown the civil service by almost 17,000 new positions.
It’s enough to make your head explode.
As a percentage of GDP, our military spending is now 50% of what it was under Pierre Trudeau and half of what we committed we would spend to belong to NATO. Veteran’s benefits have been slashed and continued benefits to the surviving spouse of a veteran eliminated.
So much for respecting the men and women of our armed forces; or worrying about our national defense.
I’m not even going to get into all of the scandals except to mention that some of them are so outrageous that more than a few Liberals are wishing they had thought of them.
I sometimes take a lot of flack from hard-right conservatives for my opinions about the Harper government but I’m not surprised. These are people who claim to be pro-life but who support a government that refuses to advance the pro-life agenda. They claim to be fiscal conservatives but support a government that has squandered hundreds of millions in advertising its Economic Action Plan, handing out corporate welfare to the profitable oil and gas industry and has elevated ministerial pork barreling, privilege and patronage to a level that would make the folks at the old Tammany Hall envious. Along the way, they have run budget deficits for 6 of their 8 years in office and added $160 billion to the national debt.
It’s understandably become quite confusing to many conservatives and it shows right across the country.
In Alberta, the Conservative Caucus tossed their leader and former Premier Allison Redford for acting like a Liberal with a no-limit Visa card. She plunged her province back into deficit while indulging herself in luxury travel and privilege that would turn an oil sheik green with envy.
On the east coast, however, the Newfoundland Conservatives tossed their leader and former Premier Kathy Dunderdale from office for being too conservative. Her focused attempts to wrestle the provinces budget deficit under control weren’t very popular and the conservatives were more worried about getting reelected than fiscal responsibility.
In Ontario, the Conservatives tossed their leader because he was either too liberal or too conservative or something or other and after they got finished blaming the Liberals, the NDP and the electorate for their election loss – they blamed him. They aren’t really clear whether he was too far to the right or not far enough. It all depends on who you talk to at the time.
The end result is that conservatism is taking a real hit in this country thanks to poor leaders with no vision and inconsistent policies. It’s also being undermined by supporters who think a political movement is a personality cult rather than a coalition of people who share similar values.
Currently, the federal conservatives trail both the Liberals and the NDP in popular support and Stephen Harper’s personal support is just slightly more than half that of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau who really hasn’t done very much to earn that level of support other than to undo another button on his shirt. It drives the young girls and mature women wild, dontcha know – although it didn’t work all that well for me. These polling results aren’t an aberration but are rather, a 12 month trend downwards for the Conservatives.
And that puts conservatives at a crossroads.
We can either continue to cling to the illusions and spin the failed policies and scandals as I watched two sweet young things attempt to do on Sun News Network today – or we can suck it up, admit to ourselves that we’ve got some serious problems of our own making to address and get busy fixing them by demanding better from those we elect.
As it stands, conservatism is already starting to fracture with the Tea Party in The States and Wildrose in Alberta. Even the Liberal government of Quebec is more fiscally conservative than the federal Conservatives (and a whole lot more civil).
Pretty much 70% of this country has had it with the Harper conservatives. We can either take that as a wake-up call and demand they start living up to their election promises or alternatively, many among us who claim to be conservatives can just continue to be pissed with anyone who has the audacity to be concerned with and speaks about what is happening to our movement.
Three guesses as to which is the road to perdition – and the first two guesses don’t count.
© 2014 Maggie’s Bear
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