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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:00 pm
 


Title: The Hidden Strength Of Red Toryism In Canada, Part One
Written By: JaredMilne
Date: Monday, November 04 at 17:59







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It’s common these days to hear the claim that Red Toryism is dead in Canadian politics. Many observers believe that the demise of the older version of Canadian conservatism, popularized by the likes of John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield, is gone for good. Canadian conservatism has supposed shifted to more closely mimic its American counterpart. Now, Canadian conservatism is supposed to emphasize the marketplace, laissez-faire individualism and drastically cutting government spending and taxes.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:00 pm
 


$1:
Many Canadians don't know very much about our national history.

I have found out since leaving the school system some 40+ years ago, that the history we have been taught was definitely filtered through a white, anglo-saxon protestant lense. So disappointing to find out there is much more to history of Canada than was doled out to us then.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:14 pm
 


$1:
Tories have a passion for the commonweal and the commons. The good of the people and the nation, with each finding their place in an organic whole for the common good, is an essential part of Tory politics


One of the things I have found out about our history, post-academia, is that Canada was (and is) all about exploitation. Any lip service paid to "the commonweal" was (and is) designed to keep the hoi polloi in line while the "merchant class" (now the corporate world) sliced and diced this country and it's people.

And in this the Liberals were (and are) as complicit as the Tories.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:25 pm
 


The Enbridge example is particularly apt in lighlighting my assertions. Christy Clark has just today (05 Nov) reached an informal "accord" with Redford regarding a potential toll on bitumen being pumped across BC. This, IMO, is the beginning of her promoting Northern Gateway instead of rejecting it.

The modis operendi of governments and resource businesses is to offer a choice between jobs and environment - one being exclusive of the other. And when people are worried about income security, it becomes relatively easy to ram through job, jobs, jobs.......



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:10 pm
 


$1:
Canadian businesspeople and writers such as Peter Munk, Gordon Nixon, Dominic D’Alessandro, Donald Macdonald, Roger Martin, Dick Haskayne, Gerald Schwartz, Ian Tefler, Thomas Caldwell and Scott Hand have all expressed worries about how much of Canada’s economy is owned by foreigners.

Of course they have to. To do otherwise would run them into the proverbial brick wall where they would be required to explain how government should subsidize one aspect of business and not others. Primarily, I am referring to military spending. A "true" Tory would promote a private military, in keeping with a general belief that the marketplace is the best adjudicator of dealings between and among different parties.



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 1:02 pm
 


$1:
It’s common these days to hear the claim that Red Toryism is dead in Canadian politics. Many observers believe that the demise of the older version of Canadian conservatism, popularized by the likes of John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker and Robert Stanfield, is gone for good. Canadian conservatism has supposed shifted to more closely mimic its American counterpart.


That is, as you point out, the common claim (as expressed by those who lament the development), but I would express it differently. The long dominant strain of Canadian conservatism, centred in Southern Ontario and based around social elitism (offset with noblesse oblige) and centralized authority, has been displaced by a second, equally legitimate conservative tradition centred in Western Canada and more oriented towards individual autonomy and private enterprise. The former is more aristocratic (in that it serves to protect established social class structures, even while evening them out economically) while the second is more meritocratic (the faster runner should win the race). One is more associated with inherited wealth while the other is more directed towards the "nouveau riche". I object to the implicit characterization of the latter as a foreign import or case of "mimicry" rather than an alternative Canadian philosophy.

Britain long ago moved away from Disraeli "one-nation" conservatism. It is not a sin against British (or Canadian) history to do so. Red Toryism is but one approach to conservatism. The fact that Dart considers it sacrosanct means little to me. Your defense of Western Canadian conservatism (as appreciated as it is) is based largely on the idea that Red Tories and Reformers are closer to each other ideologically than either is to Tea Party Republicanism. I agree that the "Tea Party" slur has become a facile and obnoxious tactic grossly overused by the Laurentian centre-left and its media organs. But your line of argument inadvertently plays into their meme that right-wing = American.

Surely a Canadian can make an argument against single-payer healthcare (of which, for the record, I'm a strong supporter) without having to be labelled a "closet American". Canadian nationality isn't dependent on one's place on the political spectrum. Being right-wing doesn't make a Canadian citizen any more an American than being left-wing in the Cold War era made one a Soviet. Certainly someone claiming that a Red Tory isn't a real conservative is less outrageous than saying that a right-wing citizen isn't a real Canadian, even if both statements are equally false. The latter statement is a form of reverse McCarthyism.

I agree that Western Canadian populist conservatism does contain elements more traditionally associated with European liberalism, such as the concern for individual rights and liberty. Red Tories, as Dart points out, don't have the passion for these things that they do for the "commonweal". But this is the where the labels become less important for me than the fundamental ideas. If Red Tories are essentially a force of reaction against the Enlightenment, then that's not a conservatism I want any part of, however correct and appropriate their use of the term would be in this instance.

The Liberals under Pearson and Trudeau essentially stopped being liberal, particularly in economic matters. So you had the Liberals, whose concern for individual liberty was limited to sexual freedom and liberalized drug use, and the Red Tories, who shared the Liberals' belief in government intervention as the solution to all problems. Add to that an NDP that had shaved off its CCF rough edges and purged most of its radicals and you had what Ibbitson calls the Laurentian Consensus (and what I had called the Morningside Consensus). Excluded and marginalized in this ideological homogenization were the radical socialist Americaphobes like Robin Mathews and his Waffle comrades and the Western populist conservatives. Although Pierre Trudeau kept enough anti-Americanism in his Liberal brand to keep at least some of the former at least somewhat placated.

The differences between the two branches of conservatism are significant, and not merely a case of Freud's narcissism of small differences. That is not to say that the two cannot productively co-exist with the same country or even party. But in order for that to happen, each must accept and respect the legitimacy of the other tradition. However, the Red Tories are still too full of snobbish contempt, and the Western conservatives still too resentful and angry, for that to happen in the immediate future. The wounds must heal first.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:34 pm
 


Individualist Individualist:

That is, as you point out, the common claim (as expressed by those who lament the development), but I would express it differently. The long dominant strain of Canadian conservatism, centred in Southern Ontario and based around social elitism (offset with noblesse oblige) and centralized authority, has been displaced by a second, equally legitimate conservative tradition centred in Western Canada and more oriented towards individual autonomy and private enterprise. The former is more aristocratic (in that it serves to protect established social class structures, even while evening them out economically) while the second is more meritocratic (the faster runner should win the race). One is more associated with inherited wealth while the other is more directed towards the "nouveau riche". I object to the implicit characterization of the latter as a foreign import or case of "mimicry" rather than an alternative Canadian philosophy.


You are quite right, and this is in fact something I address in point #8 of the article, which can be found in Part Two:

$1:
Finally, one might note the emphasis on dialogue that is so important to Red Toryism. This is an issue within Red Toryism itself. As conservative blogger Patrick Ross has noted, those who advocate for a more individualist conservatism certainly don’t deserve to be pilloried as “un-Canadian” for their views. They are part of the larger conservative tradition in Canada, which can evolve and grow from the conservatism of 1867. Certainly few Red Tories today would advocate forcibly assimilating Canada’s Aboriginal peoples the way that so many Canadians, liberal and conservative alike, wanted to do in the 19th century!

For that evolution to take place, more positive dialogue is necessary, not the insults that different groups and entities throw at one another. This cuts both ways-certainly Red Tories don’t deserve to be attacked as ‘not true conservatives’ any more than individualist conservatives deserve to be attacked as un-Canadian! Notably, Red Tory writer Richard Clippingdale notes that prominent Red Tory thinker Robert Stanfield would have seen some worrying trends in the Conservative party of Stephen Harper, but he would also have seen several encouraging trends. Clippingdale also noted that several of the current Conservative government’s own goals would have fit into a pattern inspired by Stanfield.


The business of maintaining existing class structures, as you point out, is something that I would not mind seeing jettisoned from Red Toryism, along with the attitudes described by people such as yourself and Patrick Ross.

However, I stick by my belief that the two strands of conservatism are not as different as they are often made out to be, or at least that they overlap considerably. After all, we here in Alberta offer generous subsidies and rebates to the oilpatch, even as Central Canada is capable of building up business giants like Research In Motion and Quebecor. Even if RIM may be in trouble now, how could it ever get so big in the first place if Central Canada didn't have an entrepreneurial, meritocratic spirit of its own?

Individualist Individualist:
Britain long ago moved away from Disraeli "one-nation" conservatism. It is not a sin against British (or Canadian) history to do so. Red Toryism is but one approach to conservatism. The fact that Dart considers it sacrosanct means little to me. Your defense of Western Canadian conservatism (as appreciated as it is) is based largely on the idea that Red Tories and Reformers are closer to each other ideologically than either is to Tea Party Republicanism. I agree that the "Tea Party" slur has become a facile and obnoxious tactic grossly overused by the Laurentian centre-left and its media organs. But your line of argument inadvertently plays into their meme that right-wing = American.


I don't believe that right-wing automatically equals American so much as I believe that Canadian conservatives, including Western Canadian conservatives, tend more towards the political centre than do many of their American counterparts, at least if one is to judge by the American right's most prominent political voices. You voice your support of single-payer healthcare, while Preston Manning decries the idea of the state imposing socially conservative faith-based solutions on people who don't want them. I can't imagine you or Manning getting a warm welcome from the most prominent Republican advocates if you said those things to them.

And I should point out that these are *tendencies*. We have our Terrence Corcorans and Ezra Levants, just as the U.S. has its Meghan McCains. However, from everything I've seen they are less prominent in their own countries than conservatives who are more willing to things like environmental regulations and single-payer health care (in Canada) and conservatives who strongly advocate for faith-based solutions (in the United States).

Individualist Individualist:
Surely a Canadian can make an argument against single-payer healthcare (of which, for the record, I'm a strong supporter) without having to be labelled a "closet American". Canadian nationality isn't dependent on one's place on the political spectrum. Being right-wing doesn't make a Canadian citizen any more an American than being left-wing in the Cold War era made one a Soviet. Certainly someone claiming that a Red Tory isn't a real conservative is less outrageous than saying that a right-wing citizen isn't a real Canadian, even if both statements are equally false. The latter statement is a form of reverse McCarthyism.


I can add nothing to this except that I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. As the quote above shows, I also address this in the article itself.

Individualist Individualist:
I agree that Western Canadian populist conservatism does contain elements more traditionally associated with European liberalism, such as the concern for individual rights and liberty. Red Tories, as Dart points out, don't have the passion for these things that they do for the "commonweal". But this is the where the labels become less important for me than the fundamental ideas. If Red Tories are essentially a force of reaction against the Enlightenment, then that's not a conservatism I want any part of, however correct and appropriate their use of the term would be in this instance.


One thing I wish more progressives and others who are concerned with the commonweal would do is offer a clearer definition of where and when people would be left to solve their own problems, to succeed as individuals, to succeed or fail in the market, where government intervention stops, and so forth. That lack of clarity (and its conservative counterpart in more clearly defining where state action, public ownership, government programs, etc. would be beneficial) is part of what's contributed to the polarization in this country, even when I find that we have more common ground on many issues than we realize.

Individualist Individualist:
The Liberals under Pearson and Trudeau essentially stopped being liberal, particularly in economic matters. So you had the Liberals, whose concern for individual liberty was limited to sexual freedom and liberalized drug use, and the Red Tories, who shared the Liberals' belief in government intervention as the solution to all problems. Add to that an NDP that had shaved off its CCF rough edges and purged most of its radicals and you had what Ibbitson calls the Laurentian Consensus (and what I had called the Morningside Consensus). Excluded and marginalized in this ideological homogenization were the radical socialist Americaphobes like Robin Mathews and his Waffle comrades and the Western populist conservatives. Although Pierre Trudeau kept enough anti-Americanism in his Liberal brand to keep at least some of the former at least somewhat placated.


As I've addressed elsewhere, my concern about the shift from what you call the Morningside Consensus to what I call the "Market" Consensus is that we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater in some cases.

Individualist Individualist:
The differences between the two branches of conservatism are significant, and not merely a case of Freud's narcissism of small differences. That is not to say that the two cannot productively co-exist with the same country or even party. But in order for that to happen, each must accept and respect the legitimacy of the other tradition. However, the Red Tories are still too full of snobbish contempt, and the Western conservatives still too resentful and angry, for that to happen in the immediate future. The wounds must heal first.


We can agree to disagree about how different the branches of conservatism in Canada are. However, you speak for me on the necessity of needing to accept and respect the legitimacy of the other tradition, and for the wounds to heal. Indeed, I would extend that to many other Canadian issues-Quebec, regional alienation, the Aboriginal peoples, and so on.



"Nations were now formed by the agglomeration of communities having kindred interests and sympathies...It was a benefit rather than otherwise that we had a diversity of races."-Sir George Etienne Cartier, February 7, 1865

"I am a Canadian. Canada is the inspiration of my life. I have had before me as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of conciliation."-Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1911.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:25 pm
 


JaredMilne JaredMilne:
However, I stick by my belief that the two strands of conservatism are not as different as they are often made out to be, or at least that they overlap considerably. After all, we here in Alberta offer generous subsidies and rebates to the oilpatch, even as Central Canada is capable of building up business giants like Research In Motion and Quebecor. Even if RIM may be in trouble now, how could it ever get so big in the first place if Central Canada didn't have an entrepreneurial, meritocratic spirit of its own?


Fair point. However, for me the true poster child of the Laurentian approach to "industrial policy" is Bombardier, that long-standing beneficiary of subsidies, sole-sourced procurements and other assorted forms of favouritism from various levels and stripes of government. Hardly what I'd call meritocratic though.

JaredMilne JaredMilne:
I don't believe that right-wing automatically equals American so much as I believe that Canadian conservatives, including Western Canadian conservatives, tend more towards the political centre than do many of their American counterparts, at least if one is to judge by the American right's most prominent political voices. You voice your support of single-payer healthcare, while Preston Manning decries the idea of the state imposing socially conservative faith-based solutions on people who don't want them. I can't imagine you or Manning getting a warm welcome from the most prominent Republican advocates if you said those things to them.


Well, remember that the Republican Party is not all Tea Party types. That is the most vocal, and it would seem the most influential faction at present. And I think there are folks on the Canadian centre-left who would be put off by the tactics and rhetoric of people like Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann.

JaredMilne JaredMilne:
And I should point out that these are *tendencies*. We have our Terrence Corcorans and Ezra Levants, just as the U.S. has its Meghan McCains. However, from everything I've seen they are less prominent in their own countries than conservatives who are more willing to things like environmental regulations and single-payer health care (in Canada) and conservatives who strongly advocate for faith-based solutions (in the United States).


There are university professors in New England who would make Justin Trudeau look like Barry Goldwater. Say what you will about Levant, but I admire his taking on the human rights commissions and their star chamber tactics. When people like Dean Steacy say that they consider freedom of speech an "American concept" and by implication irrelevant to Canadian society, then I'm glad for bulldogs like Ezra.

JaredMilne JaredMilne:
One thing I wish more progressives and others who are concerned with the commonweal would do is offer a clearer definition of where and when people would be left to solve their own problems, to succeed as individuals, to succeed or fail in the market, where government intervention stops, and so forth. That lack of clarity (and its conservative counterpart in more clearly defining where state action, public ownership, government programs, etc. would be beneficial) is part of what's contributed to the polarization in this country, even when I find that we have more common ground on many issues than we realize.


I strongly agree. I'd like to hear "progressives" talk about the merits of private enterprise and conservatives talk about those social programs that they feel are useful and beneficial to Canadians. I'd like to hear Linda McQuaig talk about successful entrepreneurs she's admired and Conrad Black speak about the advantages of Canada's single-payer health insurance over the US model. I'd like to hear Mel Hurtig talk about which US TV shows he likes and Stockwell Day talk about a situation he'd seen in which he felt a union had made a positive contribution.

JaredMilne JaredMilne:
As I've addressed elsewhere, my concern about the shift from what you call the Morningside Consensus to what I call the "Market" Consensus is that we're throwing the baby out with the bathwater in some cases.


I don't think the "Market Consensus" is quite as rigid or stifling as what it replaced. Where was the right-wing equivalent of the "Occupy movement" back when the Liberals, Red Tories and New Democrats operated as a centre-left troika? The simple fact that opposition to the new consensus happens to be concentrated in the media centre of Canada (i.e. downtown Toronto) itself means that the new consensus, if it even is that, lacks the kind of vacuum seal that the old one had managed to put into place.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:25 pm
 


Individualist Individualist:
The former is more aristocratic (in that it serves to protect established social class structures, even while evening them out economically) while the second is more meritocratic (the faster runner should win the race). One is more associated with inherited wealth while the other is more directed towards the "nouveau riche". I object to the implicit characterization of the latter as a foreign import or case of "mimicry" rather than an alternative Canadian philosophy.

Except - sullied by "pranks" such as Tony Clement's Gazebogate:
http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/06 ... r-general/
It smacks of privilege and less of meritocracy.



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:29 pm
 


Interesting take on "the big picture":
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=52b_1329796059



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'...If all of this is true, then why did Canadians give the Harper Conservatives a majority in 2011? ..' - this is the kind of problem that a lot of people have, accepting the mainstream media spin as if it were true, which it is not - it is dangerous, because it gives a completely false 'deeper' feeling about our country - if Harper has a majority from Canadians, then he must have at least some claim to 'legitimacy' in what he does.
But he most assuredly does NOT have a 'majority from Canadians'.
In 2011, with about 33 million people, and about 20 million eligible voters, Harper's Cons got a little under 6 million votes. Other parties got almost 9 million votes, and about 6+ million (more than voted for Harper) could not be bothered voting at all, for whatever reasons. Harper got his 'majority' (as have Lib governments before him, this is not a 'partisan' observation, just responding to a comment about Harper's 'majority') because those who rule this country prefer this very antiquated 'first past the post' electoral system, which ensures that one of their controlled tweedledee-dum parties will usually get a 'majority', and thus a 'mandate' to pass whatever legislation, or enter into whatever treaties, they wish, with this exact justification - they have a 'majority', therefore what they do is done with the approval of Canadians. But it is a false claim, and people trying to put this country back together again need to stop validating it by repreating 'false history' claims such as 'Canadians gave Harper a majority in 2011'. (the other very annoying one is the way they say 'Canadians voted for free trade in 1988', which of course we/they did not - again, an antiquated electoral system, but one that gives the rulers a great advantage, gave Canadians 'free' trade)
I could write at length about this piece overall - I agree with much of it, but there are a number of places I don't think you have seen deeply enough into the central problem, which is not really about 'red tories' or even 'conservatism' vs 'liberalism', but how all of the major parties are reading from the same script - things like identifying some of the politicians as 'red tories' or pretending there are serious differences between these parties, in their modern incarnations, is just a big red herring, when we need to be talking about how, regardless of certain apparently 'above the common' individuals, all of the three major parties are just different branches of the One Big Bay St Canadian Ruling Party, with different slogans and media support for these different branches, but at the end of the day, with all important issues (support for 'free' trade, supporting 'business', clammoring for 'austerity' to 'pay down the debt' ( a massive scam, as I explain here What Happened http://www.rudemacedon.ca/what-happened.html ), supporting the US Hegemon's rampaging around the world getting rid of any leader who dares deny their hegemony to demand everyone do as they are told, and etc), they all read from essentially the same script provided by the actual rulers of the country. They pretend to squabble over minor issues, but there's not even much of that - who opposes human rights in general? Who says they want a 'poor economy' or less jobs?
Anyway, just that comment - I like to engage in this kind of discussion, but probably won't find the time for this much more, although it is an interesting read, as I said - just wanted to make the point above re avoiding the trap of giving these people 'validation' they do not actually have or deserve.


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