Thursday, May 05, 2011

Is It Time to Recalibrate Canada's Political Centre?

The question begins by noting that Canada has a majority government that goes by the name "Conservative" but really isn't.   They're opposed by a party that once was proud to proclaim itself socialist that is now decidedly centrist, liberal if you will.  Over there in the corner, in a heap of ashes, lie the remains of a party that claimed the name "Liberal" but allowed itself to drift much too far into conservative territory and paid the price for its foolishness.

What's missing?  The Left.  It's gone and probably for a good long while as the New Liberal Party works to convince the public that its CCF roots and all that ideology have been cleanly amputated.   The New Liberal Party's leader did a job on his own followers just as Tony Blair did to Britain's Labour Party and, in the process, transformed Britain into a bellicose warfare state.  It happens.

So now, with the Left having skulked to the Centre and Harper about to cement his move to the Right, we do need to recalibrate Canada's political centre.  How do you do that in a two-party state?  You begin by taking careful measure of both sides and looking for the middle ground.

To begin you must realize that just because you're on the right of the political spectrum doesn't make you "conservative" as that term is defined.  There is much territory that lies to the Right of conservative, territory that becomes increasingly undemocratic, fundamentalist and authoritarian as you get farther and farther from the true centre.  Consider it in the context of our Earth.   At one pole you have democracy, at the other totalitarianism.   You can reach the same state by heading continuously Left but, for the moment, no one is going in that direction.

We understand this here in British Columbia where we have a government that claims the mantle of "Liberal" but is, in reality, quite hard conservative - secretive, deceitful, unaccountable, corporatist, anti-labour  - the standard for that part of the political spectrum.  In many ways it is remarkably similar to the political movement Stephen Harper leads and their strongest bond seems to be their adherence to corporatism.   Perhaps that is a fitting description for Harper's party, the Corporatist Party of Canada.

So where does that leave us?  Where is the middle ground?   Well, now that our former labour party has turned New Liberal and the former conservative party Corporatist, the new political centre is Conservative.

We hear their words but so rarely listen to their message.   From the get go Stephen Harper proclaimed his principal goal was to shift Canada's political centre well to the Right.   What went unnoticed was that Steve wasn't saying he wanted to be at that new political centre.   He wanted to govern well to the Right of the new, conservative political centre which is precisely what he's doing now.  He's kept the conservative cloak but he's really evolved into a corporatist, neo-conservatism.

What's not conservative about Steve Harper?  That becomes plain as day when you weigh him up against the Father of Conservatism, Edmund Burke, or former great Republicans Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.   Harper and his kind plead conservatism but, in practice, scorn it.   They have no intention of being conservative.  They intend to be corporatist and they've engineered a corporate media to grease their path.

The sooner the Canadian public wakes up to this the better.   Yet I fear it's already too late.


Anonymous said...

The issue that I have, is that when you distort the real meaning of "progressive" it becomes the new normal. Yes Iggy moved the Liberals to the right and the party paid the price.
We have seen the results of the absurdity of American politics and are heading down that same road. A two-party state offers no measure or true democracy, and in many cases, both parties (as with the Republican and Democrats) end up looking the same with only minor differences.
We often shake our heads at Conservative voters who somehow insist that Harper is "conservative", even faced with facts of his actions, the supporters believe the rhetoric .
Can the public wake-up? I don't think so as it would require work to have to analyze. I don't understand voters who want smaller government yet have no qualms about corporate welfare. They gladly cheer measures that will impoverish them saying that it's needed to keep jobs. The divide between the rich and poor is accelerating yet these yobs think that their hard work will make them immune to what is happening.

Anonymous said...

Where would you put the NDP? I know you hate and despise them but that doesn't mean they don't exist... In fact many Canadians support them. Canada doesn't have a 2 party system. We do have a broken electoral system that needs updating.

The Mound of Sound said...

Where would I put the NDP? They're the New Liberal Party now. Ignatieff utterly failed to hold the centre and Layton seized the opportunity to fill their shoes.

Layton and his followers know that their former hidebound 'lefty' ways ensured their third party status so they ditched their principled ideology for opportunistic expedience and jumped aboard the mainstream political bandwagon they always previously deplored. There's no hypocrite like the one that makes a career calling others hypocritical.

Oemissions said...

Igy moved to the right but the right in the Libs moved farther right in this election, right?