Saturday, April 11, 2009

Come In Under the Big Tent

That former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was dirty we have known for a long time, certainly since the 1995 release of Stevie Cameron's On the Take. Recent revelations about his connections, while PM, to $20M in Airbus bribes and $4M in Thyssen bribes have been so convincing that even his own party is trying to pretend he isn't a member. The long-delayed public inquiry into some of his shenanigans will produce a flood of fresh news articles in coming weeks.

Meanwhile Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is taking a conciliatory tone towards Mulroney, pointing out that he deserves some respect as a former PM. And so he should. I assume (hope) that Liberal brass are trying to lure Mulroney conservatives out of the Conservative party and into the Liberal. They would fit into the Liberal party far better than they do in the far-right party that Harper has created.

It's a wonder to me that so many Progressive Conservatives stayed in the party after the hostile take-over that forcibly merged the PCs and Reform-Alliance. It takes brand loyalty too far to remain loyal after everything but the name has changed. Conservatives who supported Joe Clark are essentially Liberals. Conservatives who supported Mulroney are closer to Ignatieff than they are to Harper. Harper not only changed the values and policies of the Conservative party, but also moved its base to Alberta. Harper's autocratic, centralized-power style has been designed to keep down the majority of the party who are not natural followers of his far-right ideology.

Conservatives might think that it's a little craven of me to write about non-Reformers in their ranks moving over to my party, but I think the time has come to open the discussion. It was six years ago that Peter MacKay was made leader of the Conservative party on the written promise that he would not merge with the Reformers, and six years ago that MacKay bought himself a cabinet seat by handing his party over to Harper.

The strength of the Liberal party is that it responds to the needs of all Canadians and not just a narrow base; it is jokingly called Canada's "natural governing party" because it offers the most responsive, responsible governing style. The Liberal party tries to be fiscally conservative and socially progressive - a balance it can never achieve perfectly, but it's the only party even attempting it. Chretien/Martin spent a decade wiping out the structural deficits created during the Mulroney era; it took Harper only two years to create another structural deficit (before the recession), despite slashing social funding.

All evidence so far points to Mulroney's corruption being totally for his own gain, with no taint on his party or supporters. The Harper Conservatives are hanging Mulroney out to dry, so people who believed in Mulroney's policies should give some thought to leaving Harper and either forming their own party or joining up with their natural allies in the Liberal party.



RuralSandi said...

Hmmmm....well done.

The Mound of Sound said...

"It takes brand loyalty too far to remain loyal after everything but the name has changed." Good point. By the way, which party do you think will form the next conservative government of Canada?

Anonymous said...

Is that Mound of Sound bitching again?

There are a handful of so-called Liberals that are on the tiresome, boring Iggy rant and they stalk all the sites to put in their two cents which is the same bellyaching and crying all the time.

penlan said...

I'm surprised that it took 3 years for division to surface. 2 different ideologies don't often stay together that long. Good post!