Sunday, March 20, 2005

Is there a conservative party in Canada?

The Conservative Party of Canada is winding up it's policy convention in Montreal. It was twenty years ago when a united Conservative party met there (I was there as a delegate - and a blast it was. It is true that the drinking age there is merely a suggestion). But after looking at all the resolutions and policies, which on one level don't mean much, it still does raise the question on what does the Conservative Party of Canada stand for? The sad answer is not much.
Some all my experience in Canadian politics at all levels have brought me to these truths about conservative politics in Canada (and are as relevant for Republicans on this side of the border too):
  1. Waiting on the other guy to screw up doesn't pay off. For the last century, the Conservatives in Canada have essentially got elected because the Liberals were in power too long and got arrogant and corrupt. So that gave the Tories how many years of majority government? Something like 16 out of 100? So running on a platform of "throw the bums out" works roughly less than 20% of the time. And even then, it is not good for the country that things had to get really, really, really, bad before it finally did happen.
  2. If you're not going to be conservative, then why the heck should I vote for you? This ties into (1) above. If I want high taxes, overregulation, and the status quo for big government, I'll stick with what I know and vote for the Liberals. Also, running as a more cost effective tax and spender doesn't cut it either. That is what Bob Dole was in the U.S. Senate, Joe Clark was in Ottawa, and Larry Grossman was in Queen's Park, none of them ever had the types of victories achieved by Mike Harris or Newt Gingrich. Those men won when the conventional wisdom said they couldn't or wouldn't. Ideas matter, and distinctions matter in politics. Better to be bold, make your case, and really differentiate yourself from your opponents. Give people a real choice and they'll vote for you.
  3. It is more important to have the right enemies than the right friends. The CBC, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star are not your friends. Let's not kid ourselves. Just because you got good press from castrating yourself policy wise doesn't mean they won't slander you come election time. Ditto for the elites in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. So you piss them off with your policies, so what? Look at George W. Bush: he has the right enemies, and it motivates his supporters. So pick your fights with that in mind. To use a Canadian example, look at Don Cherry - he knows this better than any politician in Canada: the more the CBC , Toronto Star, feminists, and what not go ballistic over his comments, the more his popularity goes up. This is because people intuitively know that Cherry is closer to their worldview than the CBC, Toronto Star, et. al. By the way, also be unapologetic of your views, as Cherry is. You are what you are, if they don't like it, well too bad.
  4. Make your case directly to the electorate. Mike Harris laid the foundation of his 1995 victory going around to every riding association, every Rotary Club luncheon, every Knights of Columbus meeting making the case for his policies. It was retail politics. Gingrich and the architects of the 1994 Republican revolution did the same thing. Harris was able to bring forth his policies and philosophy to the people directly, bypassing the media. He got to interact directly with the electorate and find out first hand what their issues were. He got to make contact with local business and opinion leaders to directly make the case. These are things that go under the radar of the media, the pollsters, and the opposition, and have major payoffs come election day. Harris used his 5 years in the wilderness to build a coalition that swept him to a majority government in 1995 when everyone thought it was impossible.
Steven Harper, of all people, is a student of history and should know this better than everyone. I know that this convention was a bit of a compromise with the Red Tories on policy issues. But events in the past few weeks, this convention, the budget abstention, the spinelessness on SSM, just raise red flags with me that this party doesn't have the fortitude to stand up for their beliefs and fight for them. I'll give Harper the benefit of the doubt for now. But the sad thing is that if I had to put money on this, I'd be betting against the conservatives right now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Incestuous Relationships of Adscam


The guys at Right Thinking People published another great post with their commentary about AdScam (I know I have linked a lot of their posts, but, IMHO, they are arguably the best Blog on Canadian politics I've seen). They've been able to tie in how this has been going on in Ottawa for God knows how long. Their explanations does dovetail into my explanations of why does it seem that every major scandal from Parliament hill has a Quebecker as a predominant theme. Being from Sudbury(notice how Sudbury has the highest billingual population in Ontario outside of Ottawa), I can attest that their comments about the civil service is true, and then some. I shall elaborate on this some more once tax season is over.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Ontario: Embodiment of the Nanny State

Dear readers,

It has been a very long tax season, so the sporadic posts shall continue until April 16th at the earliest. Sunday mornings give me the opportunity to catch up on my reading. I was able to read this old article of Mark Steyn from the Western Standard site. It is about Ontario's bicycle helmet law from a few months back, and that, coupled with the proposed Sushi ban, the smoking ban, and what not, irks the heck out of me.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Carniverous Beaver is having a tough go of it right now

Over at the site of my esteemed colleages at Right Thinking People, Carniverous Beaver is having one of those moments that all conservatives in Canada have. I've had it too many time for my liking in Canadian politics. All the disappointments - for every Mike Harris there are three or four Bill Davis (IMHO - the WORST Premier in Ontario history, and I'm including Bob Rae). That is the crux of the problem - and it's a tough go when when almost all the media is openly and agressively out to get you. You people know my decision, and I respect the people who still fight the good fight on the home front.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Demographics and the welfare state.

I've been thinking a lot about a few interconnected topics - how SMS, demographics, and the future collapse of the welfare state are interconnected. There has been some good discussions on this matter by Stanley Kurtz and Pavel Kohout on various aspects of this matter, and Mark Steyn has written on these a plethora of times. It seems that the low birthrates of the West will lead to the demise of the social welfare state as we know it.

These two essays tie into the current discussions on reforms to social security, and the greater issues involved long-term. The issues facing the United States are relatively benign compared to Canada and Europe.

Canada's problems are two-fold. They need more younger workers to fund both CPP and universal health care. CPPs problems pale versus Medicare. With longer lifespans, more expensive treatments , and vastly improved lifestyles amongst the elderly, there will be an increased cost on the young because (i) they are working and paying taxes, and (ii) they are net payers of medical users, unlike the elderly who are the largest consumers of health services. Already, something like 40% of Ontario's budget goes to health care. What will happened in 15 years when almost all the baby boomers are retired, hardly paying any taxes and using up massive amounts of health care. Gonna cut their benefits? Not when they will become the dominant voting block. Need more young taxpayers - try affording to have one kid, let alone three with the tax rates you'd need to support a provincial budget that uses up 80% of an ever expanding budget on health care. Immigration? That might work for a while, but having large unassimilated populations, especially from cultures whose values are antagonistic to Western concepts of liberty, equality, tolerance , and pluralism will lead to its own problems. See Holland's problems with the murder of Theo Van Gogh. What also happens when countries that have been the traditional sources of immigrants for Canada, India and China, become prosperous and bourgeois enough where the middle class there would never consider moving to a high tax jurisdiction like Canada for a miniscule increase of standard of living?

This is the dilemma of the New Left as it looks into the future: it must either destroy its oh so cherished welfare state in order to survive fiscally, or it must abandon its talismanic devotion to moral relativism and multiculturalism and start assimilating large immigrant populations into Western Civilization. It cannot do both, as Europe is starting to grasp after Van Gogh's murder.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Supreme Court Travesty

New Sisyphus gives a great summation of the perversion of the U.S. Constitution by the Supreme Court on the matter of the death penalty for minors. If this is not reinforce the need to have constructionalists on the bench, I don't know what does.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tax Beaner looks at the Federal Budget Process

Here is the first of many essays from Tax Beaner, a former colleague of mine, and self described "leader of the opposition" for Canada's John Galt.

Now here is another approach to taxation. Do not measure taxation by the
tax collected but by governmental expenditures in a year. Why? Because
this would treat deficits as deferred taxation, accrual basis instead of
cash basis. Now here is where the research comes in. To really get it
right, the expenditures should be expressed as the inflation adjusted
percentage of GDP. But should the expenditures necessarily be tied to the
GDP for the same year? Expenditures are budgeted and approved without
really knowing what the GDP will be for the next year, but we do know what
the revenue is for the year most recently ended. Just trying to answer
the question, "Is the government being fiscally responsible?"
Additionally, we often know what the revenue will be at the time a
"special expenditure" is voted on and approved. Should the "special
expenditure" trigger a "special tax assessment". Hoo-hah, that would
really make Congress and the President think twice before purposely
leaving things out of the budget that they know they'll need later.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Missle Defense - Coyne Gets It

Andrew Coyne gets the monumental absurdity of Mr. Dither's stand on missle defense. Tip of the hat to Right Thinking People. Couldn't say it better myself.