It’s great to hear that you’re settled into your new home, where you will hopefully feel more welcome politically as well as professionally. It feels good, doesn’t it? No matter how out-there we may be politically, we still want to be around people who think like us, see the world the way we do, and whom we can talk to about the stuff that’s getting us down.
You know who is really good at making you feel welcome? Canada’s Liberal Party, also known as “The Natural Governing Party of Canada.” When they say that, they’re not just whistlin’ Dixie! No other party in the developed world was elected for as long as they were, all through the 20th century and for a good chunk of the 21st.
What’s the secret of their success? Figuring out what the mainstream, middle of the road, safe position is on any issue and grabbing hold of it like Maura The Husky no doubt grabs onto a bone.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there are also provincial Liberal affiliates in the Canadian provinces and territories. Some of these Liberals are proudly socially conservative, others are fiscally conservative, and some are all over the place. No matter where they hold power, though, they’re always spending money on attack ads and partisan government advertising, generally making the case that only losers and nobodies oppose their agendas.
But Josh, you say, haven’t these Liberals been out of power nigh on this past decade? They sure have. They got that way because back in 2003, a doofus named Paul Martin who had been Canada’s Finance Minister led a coup to get rid of his boss, Jean Chretien.
Chretien - a.k.a. “Da Boss” - could throttle protestors with his bare hands, attack his political opponents for their Christian religious beliefs, or humiliate a judge accusing him of corruption with impunity, so long as he stuck firmly in the middle of public opinion. Once Paul Martin got power, he didn’t know what to do with it. He wasn’t aggressive enough in protecting the centre and he got stuck with the nickname of “Mr. Dithers,” losing power shortly afterwards.
So, what happens to Canadian politicians who aren’t Liberals and get into power? They start acting like Liberals. In Canada’s supposedly most conservative province, Alberta, the Progressive Conservatives had a pretty good streak of their own - 12 consecutive governments. They accomplished this feat by - you guessed it - staying firmly in the mainstream of Albertan public opinion.
Then, on December 17, 2014, the leader of the Opposition Wild Rose Party (a mix of Counterculture Canadians) got so tired of being part of the counterculture that she and most of her party joined the Alberta PCs. Unfortunately for her, the centrist “corporatist conservatives” didn’t like these new defectors and abandoned the party. The Alberta PCs had survived scandals and crippling oil crashes, but moving out of the centre finally got them.
But that’s OK, because those counterculture conservatives will influence the mainstream, just like you said, right? Well, here’s the thing - the governing Conservative Party of Canada is the product of one of those slow conservative revolutions you mentioned! If you ask the counterculture conservatives, though, the CPC has been doing their best Liberal impressions almost since the very beginning. At first they justified it by saying they didn’t have enough seats in the Canadian House of Commons to hold real power, but since winning a majority in 2011 things haven’t improved.
So Dave, if it’s counterculture conservatives you’re after, don’t go looking in Canada’s political system. You’re sure to be disappointed - just like us!
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