Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Future of Canadian Conservatism

On February 27, 2016 while the Conservative elites were at the Manning Centre Conference in Ottawa, I was speaking at the smaller but not less important FreedomTalk Conference in Edmonton. Both conferences were about the same thing: how can conservatives regain the upper ground. The following is an excerpt of my speech:

In the words of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, 2015 was Annus Horribilis for Conservatives in Canada. We lost federally and in Alberta, and today we do not have one government with the name ‘conservative’ in the country. The question is why?
Let us get something out of the way immediately I am not PC. That means not politically correct, not a pretend conservative, and not a progressive conservative. I am a small ‘c’ common sense conservative pure and simple.

In my view, as expressed in my book Conservatives Dead or Alive? I start with the theory that the day that Obama was elected President of the US, it was the day that conservatism began its downward spiral. The whole world backed by a liberal mass media embraced this man as if he was the second coming , awarded him the Nobel Peace prize without any known accomplishment, and embraced his policies as if they would fulfill his promise of Hope and Change.

Conservatives around the world and in Canada got themselves boxed in on every policies they put forward, the world wanted to mirror Obama’s policies, and conservatives to their detriment, in most cases, just went along to get along. But let us get to the more pressing issue of how conservatives could get the upper hand back. First we must acknowledge that we made mistakes and eliminate our weaknesses, and identify and increase our strengths, and second get out of the habit of shooting each other.
Having said that, I am more optimistic about the resurgence of Conservatives at the Federal level than I am for our provincial parties in Alberta.
Despite people like Dandt Tent and Andrew Coyne who continuously try to lecture conservatives on how they should behave, Federal conservatives have a solid foundation to build on and they also have an inept government with a neophyte and vacuous PM to deal with. What the party must do is to take their time and choose the right leader to take us into the next election.
 There are not too many changes to be made to the past policies but what is absolutely necessary is for the new leadership to articulate and explain to the public why they should be the alternative. More importantly they must attract the millennials, not with promises of more entitlements but with solid policies that will guarantee their economic future.

 In Alberta the rift among conservatives is theoretically huge, but in effect the so called PC and Wildrose have more in common that they have differences. The major obstacle to any unite the right movement in Alberta is the constant and persistent attempt by members of the establishment to insert themselves into the discussions.
There are so many organizations promoting themselves as intermediaries to get the parties to talk that in effect it is causing confusion among grassroots party members. Then we have Preston Manning injecting himself into the debate; this after having taken part in the destruction of the PCs and the betrayal by many of the Wildrose members when he supported their defection to the Progressive Conservatives under Prentice. Remember that Mr. Manning has tried to unite the right in the past and failed miserably each time and in effect it took years before Harper could remake the conservative movement and govern the country for ten years.  Despite accolades from many quarters, a close examination of Mr. Manning’s involvement in conservative politics shows that he has been a distracting rather than a positive force in Canada’s conservative movement. His latest foray into Calgary’s Municipal level was a disaster that left many right thinking Council candidates stranded when he folded under attack by Mayor Nenshi and apparently left for Australia in the middle of the campaign.

So what is the future of conservatism in Canada? In my view it is very bright provided we take stock and not make the mistakes of the past and fight among ourselves.
First we must remove any allusion of being Progressives but act more like libertarians
Progressive conservatism is an oxymoron. You cannot be progressive and conservative at the same time. Clinton,Sanders, Notley, Mulcair, May and Trudeau are progressives. Should conservatives adopt their policies? I sure hope not.
At the provincial level, any new name should only have Conservative in it and nothing else. We must distinguish ourselves by being compassionate conservatives not progressive conservatives.
A compassionate conservative believes in teaching a man to fish so he can feed himself for a lifetime and not be fed by government for a day and ever. This is the policy that creates dependency and entitlements, not independence.
 Social conservatives should focus on healthcare, education and security as the social goals and responsibility of conservatism. As for the issues of LBGT, same sex marriage and abortion they are wedge issues that the left uses every time that they want to get conservatives off balance and divert their leftist failures from scrutiny.
As law abiding conservatives we should respect the existing laws that have been adopted on these divisive issues, but we must fight to have our alternative point of view respected. It is the freedom of speech that we should be fighting for. A religious leader has the right to express his opinion. A politician has the right to have his values respected without being hounded by self-interest groups. For individuals to oppose a leftist point of view does not make them bigots, racists, xenophobes or homophobes. It just makes us different. Isn’t that diversity?
Conservatives must fight for a better health care system. Private care exists and it should be made available to any citizen if they so wish. Canada spends a large percentage of its GDP on health and yet we still have long wait times and excessive drug costs.
Our education system has been infiltrated by union activists who now dictate our curriculum. Our children are being indoctrinated in leftist thinking without parents having a say. The Conference Board of Canada gives us a “C” for the number, just 21.2 per cent of university students studying science, math, computer studies and engineering. The bigger question is what is the other 69% studying? Is Canada going to be competitive in a technology driven economy?
What good is social security if you are being attacked and cannot defend yourself?  To me a strong military and police force is at the root of a conservative government. The protection of its citizens is social conservatism.

The path to success is very simple. We must remove any allusion of being Progressives but act more like libertarians. We must embrace true conservative principles of small governments and less taxes, and free market principles. We should embrace some of the fundamentals of libertarianism such has the freedom of speech. And most of all we must adopt Reagan’s 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Conservative.”
History has showed that the left always asks for compromise when there are in the minority, but never exercises compromise when they are in power. Conservatives can compromise on process and procedures but never on principles.
As I conclude, I would like to leave you with this thought and appeal. In the context of Alberta politics I would like to ask Mr. McIver and Mr. Jean which duo would you like to be remembered for : Harper/ McKay or Manning/Clark?
Remember that unity is strength; it is the only move forward.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

How to ruin a country in 100 days or less

With a new government it is expected that changes will happen. However to make wholesale reversal of the previous government’s policies without any intelligent thought about unintended consequences can be downright dangerous and detrimental to the country. Justin Trudeau has done just that!

The election of a new Liberal government under the leadership of a neophyte is producing results that may ruin this country for generations to come.
Having been advised by Obama operatives during the electoral campaign, expect policies based more on ideology rather than common sense.

This new government will embrace multilateralism and make decisions to please the world rather than protect the country and its citizens. The UN will determine how we do things in this country. Starting with the decision to bring 25, 000 Syrian refugees without any planned strategy has already produced consequences that will affect both the refugees and Canadians. We have homeless and disaffected veterans and yet the refugees are being given priority on housing, healthcare and financial assistance, While Europe has started to see the negative effects of its policies towards refugees who may have been infiltrated by terrorists, Canada willy-nilly continues with its feel good policy which could endanger Canadian security. Furthermore a change towards citizenship that may no longer require refugees or immigrants to have knowledge of at least one of the official languages will put pressure on the work force and the education system.

As for the foreign policy with regards to the Middle East, this government shows that it has absolutely no understanding of the gravity of the situation. As a terrorism denier PM Trudeau’s  decision to repatriate the 6 CF-18 from the combat zone, and increase the number of boots on the ground is not only risky, but places more Canadians in arms way. Despite the fact that Iran and North Korea are collaborating on missile and nuclear build up, the government has decided to start diplomatic relations with the rogue state of Iran, in the hope that Canada will benefit from trade deals. This has already shown to be flawed as Iran chose Air Bus over Bombardier.

On the economy, we have yet to see a budget, but we know about the promise that Canada will produce deficits and create debt the size of which are not determined. With a global glut in oil and gas, this government has shown absolutely no backbone in promoting Canada’s resources. In fact Trudeau has chosen ‘resourcefulness’ over resources. The result is obvious: massive unemployment in the oil, and mining industry, and soon in other industries as a ripple effect. In a PR effort to look good in front of the world, Trudeau and a cohort of 383 delegates promised the world that he will change Canada’s policy to help climate change. Provinces that depend on the resource industry who have for years been the backbone of the country’s economy will be severely affected. Alberta, once the economic envy of the country, will become a have-not province, and Newfoundland may be bankrupt within years. Lives will be affected, but to this government the environment, foreign aid to the third world, and ‘selfies’ with Hollywood stars seems to be more important.

The promise of billions of infrastructure money to provinces to kick start the economy, does not include pipelines. This government does not understand that the oil and gas industry is still very important to the Canadian economy and will be required for many more years. To ignore the need for pipelines, both East and West, is purely based on ideological beliefs. In addition the new rules for consultation for pipelines are just rhetoric and postpone decisions that should be made now and not protect this government hate for carbon.
The change in policies regarding First Nations(FN) and Unions will no doubt kill any semblance of transparency that the previous government required from these institutions. More money will be spent on First Nations without addressing the real issues of dependency. Those in charge of the finances will continue to reap the benefits while ordinary FN citizens will continue to languish in poverty and squalor. Throwing money at the problem will solve nothing. A complete revamp of the Indian Act and the abolition of reserve policies are required. Like Quebec we should be looking at new agreements that will curtail any federal funds within 12 years.

Trade Unions, in many cases have outlived their existence. While the freedom of association must be guaranteed, the right to work should be put in place. No longer should union dues be used by union officials without the permission of the membership. A worker should have the right to designate where his/her dues should be spent. Unfortunately transparency does not seem to be high on this government’s agenda.

During the next three years, Canadians should take note of the changes that this government will put in place. Many of their decisions will be to affect the demographics, financial status, and electoral eligibility through gerrymandering tactics. Any change to a proportional representation electoral system will guarantee that a Liberal government will be for ever.  The positive part of this new government is that many of their promises will not be fulfilled, either because they do not work or because they were full of platitudes which did not make sense. The negative side is that many of these government policies may change this country for the worse, and it would not have taken them 4 years to do it. Hopefully in four years Canadians will remember that feel-good governments do not necessarily a country make, and the ‘selfie’ PM will be sent packing to a new drama gig, where he always belonged.