Friday, February 09, 2007

The Neo-cons are here to stay

There has been a large and permanent change in the Canadian political landscape. It began happening a while ago so it is not earth shattering but it is significant and it has some significant implications for the future of politics in this country.

It is a matter of faith amongst many progressives and old Tories that the Stephen Harper brand of conservatism is an anomaly that will disappear in Canada when he finally receives his well deserved walking papers from the Canadian electorate. Afterwards the myth goes, true Toryism will rise again and take its rightful place in the Canadian political landscape as the neo-cons scurry back into their caves.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The old Tory Party is dead, it will probably not be resurrected and the Tory tradition that it kept alive will eventually wither away under pressure from the progressives and the neo-cons.

The person who finally confirmed that was Garth Turner. Contrary to some beliefs he is not a Liberal or a Red Tory, he is a dyed in the wool Blue Tory. He has been such for as long as he has been in public life. The fact he could not find a home in the Conservative Party of Canada speaks volumes and it pretty much puts the final nail into the Canadian Tory coffin.

In addition if you look at the possible replacements for Mr. Harper, when we finally give him the heave-ho, there is only one amongst them who could be considered remotely moderate and that is Jim Prentice. However, his purported moderation is the result of him not cleaving to the social conservatism that many of his neo-con cohorts cleave to. As well, he is somewhat less ideological and more pragmatic than his neo-con brethren but that does not make him a Tory or the standard bearer for an eventual Tory resurgence. Despite is smoother edges he is a neo-con through and through.

Finally, there are very few voices amongst the Canadian political right at large that could be considered Tory. If you peel away the heated rhetoric, insults, bullying and general cement headedness of the average Conservative supporter in the media and on the Blogging Tories you will find people who admire the stalwarts of the neo-conservative movement such as Dick Cheney, George Bush and others of that ilk. There are very few who show any admiration to the likes of Joe Clark, Bob Stanfield or other former standard bearers of the Tories. Even Brian Mulroney is not admired for his ideas, he is admired for some mythical ability he is supposed to have to guide Stephen Harper to six decades of Conservative governance.

When Stephen Harper finally does go these folks will still be around. They will only rally around someone who supports the same bloodyminded conservatism that they believe in. Anybody that shows true Tory leanings will be destroyed, although that will not prevent them from supporting someone who is of the true faith that can act like a compassionate Tory conservative as they will be more electable.

So Liberals, true Tories and progressives had better get used to the new political reality and they had better be prepared for a long struggle to hold back the narrow-minded, means spirited, socially conservative neo-cons that now menace the Canadian political landscape.


Blogger rabbit said...

"Neo-conservative", "neo-liberal", and "neo-socialist" are terms bandied about with few people having any idea what they really mean. They just sound derogatory.

In fact, Stephen Harper differs from some of the principles of neocons. He prefers, for example, a weaker, not stronger, federal government (he's wants, for example, to offload some responsibilities to the provinces). Nor does social conservativism play a large part.

February 09, 2007 7:25 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Neo-conservatism is not a derogatory term, it is just a branch of conservatism.

I fundementally disagree with its philosphy but that does not make it invalid.

Stephen Harper does differ from some of the principles of neo-conservatism but his core beliefs are pure neo-conservative.

He is by no means unique. I myself am more of a Red Tory in fiscal and financial matters but I am a pure liberal on social issues.

As for social convervatism it is true that it is separate from neo-conservatism but it is very apparent that they mesh well, and believers of one seem to fit in well with believers of the other, with many people holding both together.

February 09, 2007 9:12 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The fact he could not find a home in the Conservative Party of Canada speaks volumes and it pretty much puts the final nail into the Canadian Tory coffin.

Garth Turner not having a home in the conservative party, does not in any way mean the demise of the conservative party. If you take a look at any political party, you will be sure to find members thrown out or sidelined for various reasons.

Lets take a look at the Liberal party. Sheila Copps was forced out of her riding because she dared to challenge Paul Martin for the Liberal leadership. Former MP, John Nunziata was thrown out of the Liberal caucus for speaking his mind. So was Carolyn Parrish.

February 09, 2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Christian Conservative said...

"the narrow-minded, mean spirited, socially conservative neo-cons that now menace the Canadian political landscape"

Wow... as I posted on my blog today, it's a real shame that there is so much hatred towards us from the left.

I am indeed just about as conservative as you get. I'm fiscally conservative, I'm socially conservative... so what? How does that make me a menace? Why does that make me "narrow minded" in your view?

I'm open to listening to your ideas... hey, every party has some good ideas. Do we believe that our policies are the best for Canadians? Yes, we do. So what? Let's debate the policies, instead of taking personal derogatory shots at one another... how about it?

All that I want is to try and put forward ideas that I believe are in the best interest of all Canadians... seeking to make others lives better... including yours, for the record.

And that makes me a bad person?

February 09, 2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Steve V said...

I have no problem with social conservatives, because I respect others opinions. What does bother me, and this where "narrow" fits, is the intolerance and rigidity that too often finds its way into the thinking.

Abortion is a great example. You are against it, and have a line of reasoning to support the thesis. You make the choice not to have an abortion, as is your right in a free society. You have the right to persuade others that your belief is the correct one. You do not have the right to tell others who disagree how they should act, that mentality implies a moral superiority, as though heathens need your guiding light. Imagine if we passed a law forcing people to have abortions because I felt that people should only be allowed one child. Imagine the outrage of social conservatives. Exactly. Social conservatives seem to the group most inclined to not accept others who see a complicated world differently.

February 09, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


Read the post again.

Keep in mind the difference between the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, otherwise known as the Tory Party.

Calling the current Conservative Party "Tory" is flat wrong because it has abandoned all vestiges of the Tory philosophy.

I a round about fashion you are agreeing with the main argument of my post. The Conservative Party of Canada, which is dominated by neo-conservatives is not going away.

The Progressive Conservative Party on the other hand is gone and it is not coming back.

February 09, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

christian conservative:

Very well I will present some of my views.

I am pro-choice, pro-SSM and pro-stemcell research. I believe the state has no business interfering with these practices.

My question to you is do you respect that position to the point where you will not say I am wrong?

Judging by your name I am going to assume that you are none of those things. I disagree with you but I do not believe that your beliefs are wrong.

I call the social conservatives a menace because many of them have an authoritarian streak and want to impose their views and their beliefs on society at large by using the power of government. Their intentions are probably honourable, they believe they are doing it for the good of the nation and our souls. However, I would remind you of that old saying about the road to a certain very warm destination being paved with good intentions.

When social conservatives lose this missionary zeal and let their fellow citizens live their own lives without trying to interfere in those lives then I will no longer consider them a menace.

February 09, 2007 11:26 PM  
Blogger Torian said...

i'm sorry otlib, but does the left all have their own social engineering they do?

Let's look at multiculturalism, championed by your man Trudeau. A total failure and misunderstood by many.

Let's look at "progressive taxation". Making it so that the only choice a family has is to have both parents work while the state look after your children. Let's penalize those who feel it is important to raise your own children by making them pay more tax compared to a dual income making the same.

Sure, the conservative's policies are targeted to the middle class and have some element of "socal engineering". So what? But to say that the left do not is ridiculous.

Btw, this is coming from a conservative who supports a women's right to choose, who has no prob with SSM, and who honestly has no opinion either way re: stem cell research.

Also, to use garth turner as an example that PC is dead is crazy. The man did not fit in the party because he got pissed that he was not chosen for minister of finance- the rest went downhill from there. Please dont fall for his spin. To say that the liberals are the closest thing to PC now is insane- I consider myself to be a tory and the liberals frighten me. Mulrouny supports Harper and one would consider him a PC.

February 10, 2007 8:09 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...


Brian Mulroney supports Mr. Harper because he has no one else to support. He has hated the Liberals all of his life and would never be able to support them. I see you are the same.

There are many old Tories like him and yourself who just cannot except the reality that the Tory tradition has been destroyed by a different brand of conservatism.

So some old Tories, such as yourself and Mr. Mulroney will abandon Tory principles to support a conservative party of some sort. Either because it is still closest to your particular beliefs or you just cannot support the Liberals.

Other old Tories are going to see this new conservatism as a threat to everything that they have worked for in their political life and they will fight it. In many cases they will do so by supporting the Liberals.

Finally some will just give up, lose interest in politics and remember the good old days.

Regardless of which choice they make it is only a matter of time before any trace of the Canadian Tory tradition is wiped from the Canadian political culture leaving the the neo-cons as the only conservative movement in Canada.

February 10, 2007 10:46 AM  
Blogger zgq1984 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 15, 2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Miles Lunn said...

I am not sure the old Tory tradition is totally dead. While the party has taken a significant turn to the right, the Canadian public hasn't and if they keep on losing election after election, eventually they will have no choice. I can give you two examples of where parties went from Old Toryism to neo-conservatism and then back to old Toryism.

Ontario PCs - Beginning under Frank Miller and accelerated under Mike Harris the party abandoned traditional Toryism of Bill Davis and moved well to the right. Today John Tory is now moving the party back towards Red Toryism.

British Conservatives - Margaret Thatcher lurched to the party to the right and won three back to back elections, but in 1997 they were turfed from power and lost three back to back elections badly. The party got the message the British weren't interested in neo-conservatism anymore so they choose David Cameron who is more a traditional Tory.

The only reason traditional Toryism won't re-appear is if the public falls for neo-conservatism and neo-conservatism parties become electable. That is what happened to the Republicans and why they never returned to the more moderate positions since they could still be elected with hard-right ones.

February 16, 2007 5:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home