Canada Would Benefit From Having Maverick & PPC MPs In Parliament

Right now, Conservative voters are being treated as if they lack any leverage. That can change rapidly.

In politics, it is always dangerous when any large group is treated as lacking leverage.

The moment that starts to happen, politicians begin taking them for granted.

And when politicians take a group for granted, they demand their votes, their support, their volunteer hours, yet feel they owe them virtually nothing in return.

This can often go on for a long-time, as loyalty to a party brand, and antipathy to a shared opponent is a potent method of inducing the desired behavior – in this case how someone votes.

However, over time the feeling of being taken advantage of generates rising resentment, and that resentment does not stay suppressed forever.

We are seeing that resentment now among many in the Conservative Party, and among those who have left.

It had been building for some time, beginning with perceptions (fair or not), about Maxime Bernier being sidelined after nearly winning the leadership race, rising as the West was increasingly damaged by Liberal government policy that the Conservatives were unable to stop, and with Erin O’Toole’s abrupt shift from ‘True Blue’ in the leadership race to the same ‘Liberal Lite’ attitude he accused Peter MacKay of possessing.

Of course, the biggest tipping point was O’Toole’s blatant flip on the carbon tax.

There is simply no way to get around the fact that he blatantly lied to Conservatives, and then tried to use the same rhetorical games as Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley to claim it wasn’t a tax.

Further, not only did he break a promise – a promise he had made repeatedly – his ‘plan’ is a clear violation of Conservative principles, as it takes your money and puts it into an account that can only be used for things the government agrees with – with O’Toole and his colleagues presumably picking which items are ‘green enough’ for you to be ‘allowed’ to spend your own money on.

Stunningly, most Conservative MPs didn’t even hear about the plan until it was leaked to the CBC, and announced by O’Toole shortly thereafter.

For many, this was a tipping point, a point at which they could no longer pretend they didn’t see what was going on.

Erin O’Toole has settled on a strategy of completely taking Conservatives for granted, offering them little – if any – actual ‘conservativism,’ yet demanding their votes, their money, and their effort.

Lets look at a few key areas of Conservative thought, and see what O’Toole is offering.

Social conservatives

During the leadership race, Erin O’Toole made repeated overtures to social conservatives, asking them to put him second on the leadership ballot, and making nice with both Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis.

O’Toole went out of his way to make sure people knew he was the only Ontario CPC MP who defended Derek Sloan in Caucus, putting out ads on how important Sloan was as a contributor to the party.

But then, once he won the leadership race, he turned in the complete opposite direction.

This isn’t a matter of agreeing with Sloan on things or not. Personally, I’m not a social conservative. But what O’Toole did to Sloan was a disgrace, using a donation from a disreputable character to try and cast Sloan as an extremist and ruin his reputation, despite the donation having been actually processed by the Conservative Party itself, and despite the disreputable character being a member of the party (which was quickly revoked after O’Toole’s scheming brought it to light).

O’Toole not only stabbed Sloan in the back, but he was seen as having stabbed countless social conservatives in the back.

Further, considering that O’Toole isn’t offering any social conservative policy, all he had to offer to social conservatives was that they would be made to feel welcome in the party. Now, he doesn’t even have that.

Fiscal conservatives

Pierre Poilievre is one of the most important voices on the economy and Canada’s fiscal/monetary health.

He regularly addresses topics that most other politicians are keen to avoid, bringing attention to the rising threat of inflation, Bank of Canada enabling of Trudeau’s debt binge, and the danger of Modern Monetary Theory.

Poilievre’s well-delivered speeches manage to share an important message in a way that is entertaining and informative, while generating a large audience on social media – a place where conservatives often struggle.

So of course, O’Toole removed Poilievre from the Finance Critic post, and put him in the less prominent Industry Critic role.

Since Poilievre has a large following, he is able to get his message out regardless, but it was still quite instructive that O’Toole saw fit to demote the party’s most effective communicator on the economy.

And perhaps that’s because O’Toole doesn’t plan to offer any fiscal conservatism whatsoever.

Looking for a balanced budget?

O’Toole won’t do that for an entire decade:

“He said he wants to erase Canada’s deficit in about a decade if his party forms government, a timeline he said can be accomplished without giving credence to Liberal characterizations of a Conservative “bogeyman” who imposes deep spending cuts.

He also called for increased immigration through family reunification as part of a COVID-19 recovery effort to make up for the temporary decrease in economic immigration, while also providing families with child-care alternatives.”

That’s another decade of deficits, rising debt, and rising short-term and long-term vulnerability for Canada.

There’s nothing ‘Conservative’ about that.

O’Toole’s criticisms of the Liberal budget (the biggest spending budget in Canadian history), have also been incoherent.

On one hand, he’s complained about the debt, while on the other he’s also saying the Liberals ‘didn’t do enough’ to help families and wants more spending on giving money to the provinces for healthcare.

And given his avoidance of talking about spending cuts, it leaves open the very real possibility that an O’Toole budget would have spent about the same amount as the Liberals.

Not only does this let down fiscal conservatives, it also lets down libertarian conservatives, who want to see a smaller government and a reduced role for the state in the lives of Canadians. O’Toole’s nanny-state carbon tax proposal is also a very anti-libertarian proposal.

Nationalists

Though it’s considered a ‘scary’ word, the fact is that nationalism plays a strong role in the Conservative Party. Canadians of all backgrounds embrace the idea of putting the interests of Canadians first in the eyes of the Canadian government (which should be a no brainer).

Many nationalist-leaning Canadians were pleased by O’Toole’s remarks during the leadership race on preserving Canadian history and pushing back against far-left attempts to tear down and desecrate statues.

O’Toole has of course since gone silent on this.

On the issue of immigration, surveys show Canadians supporting lower immigration levels – particularly amid the pandemic:

“New data suggests that Canadians are feeling skittish about any future increases in immigration levels for the next 12 months.

Fifty-two per cent of those polled by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies want to see the currently low levels of immigration maintained for at least a year.”

Even before the pandemic, many Canadians – including a clear majority of Conservatives – opposed the ever-higher immigration numbers under the Trudeau Liberals.

Yet, as we saw above, O’Toole wants to increase immigration, going against both Canadian public opinion and the vast majority of Conservatives.

Western Canadians

These are the lyrics of the song Dance With Who Brung Ya:

“You got to dance with who brung you
Swing with who swung you
Don’t be a fickle fool
You came here with a gal, who’s always been your pal
Don’t leave her for the first unattached girl, it just ain’t cool
You got to dance with who brung you
Swing with who swung you
Life ain’t no forty-yard dash
Be in it for the long run
In the long run you’ll have more fun
If you dance with who brung you to the bash
I had a friend in Texas
He really had some style
He sang that good old Western Swing and drove ’em wild
Then a talent scout from Vegas said,
“Boy, play and sing this way”
And in one short year he was broke in L.A
You got to dance with who brung you
Swing with who swung you
Life ain’t no forty-yard dash
Be in it for the long run
In the long run you’ll have more fun
If you dance with who brung you to the bash
You gotta be real careful what you wish for
‘Cause you just might get
The whole darn thing
Be sure what you want is really something you can use
Or you might wind up half dead
Just singing the Blues
You got to dance with who brung you
Swing with who swung you
Life ain’t no forty-yard dash
Be in it for the long run
In the long run you’ll have more fun
If you dance with who brung you to the bash (yeah)
Dance with who brung you to the bash (yeah)”

Western Canadians are who brung the Conservatives to the bash, yet Erin O’Toole is clearly being a fickle fool and looking around for someone else to dance with.

He is trying to trade Western votes for Eastern votes, yet the polls show he is ending up with neither.

The carbon tax betrayal was such an obvious slap in the face to Western Canadians, and a show of contempt for his Western colleagues, that it simply cannot be wished away or ignored.

He’s not Justin Trudeau

At this point, Erin O’Toole is really only offering Conservatives one thing:

His name isn’t Justin Trudeau.

For some, that’s enough, given how terrible Trudeau has been in office.

However, the issue O’Toole faces is that the more he tells people to vote for him because he isn’t Justin Trudeau, the more he is acting like Justin Trudeau.

He is offering a carbon tax like Trudeau.

He’s embracing cancel culture (against his own party members) like Trudeau.

He deceives the public like Trudeau.

He plans to spend like Trudeau.

And he embraces higher and higher immigration levels regardless of public opinion – just like Trudeau.

The CPC must be sent a message that they cannot take people for granted

As we read above, O’Toole is offering nothing to Conservatives except not being Justin Trudeau.

He is taking Conservative voters for granted, because he thinks they have no leverage.

That perception of Conservatives lacking leverage results in the entire political spectrum shifting further and further left, as O’Toole chases the Liberals ever-leftward.

The response to this must be a reassertion of leverage by Conservative Canadians.

And that can happen through the election of some Maverick & PPC candidates in the upcoming election.

In the West – particularly in ridings where the Liberals have no chance – a win for the Maverick Party would result in electing someone who is conservative, yet not beholden to Erin O’Toole. They certainly wouldn’t go along with a Liberal agenda, and would be a voice for fiscal conservatism and policies that support the energy sector.

On the PPC side of things, Maxime Bernier has been one of the few politicians in Canada who has spoken out against government’s increasingly infringing on our civil liberties – a concern of many Conservatives but one which the CPC itself (with a few notable exceptions like Michelle Rempel Garner & David Sweet – and more subtly Pierre Poilievre), has been reluctant to speak out against.

Bernier has certainly been much more consistently ‘conservative’ than the CPC.

For that, it would be good if he got his seat back in Beauce, getting back into Parliament and putting pressure on the Conservatives to actually live up to their ideals.

In short, a combination of some Maverick MPs and PPC MPs in Parliament would make it clear to the CPC that they no longer have a monopoly on Conservative voters, that Conservative Canadians have leverage, and they must actually offer something of substance to those they expect support from.

Now, notice that I’m not calling for the wholesale defeat of the CPC, as that would be completely counterproductive.

The CPC still has many MPs – like Poilievre and Rempel Garner – who have a strong future in Canadian politics and effectively represent major threads of Canadian Conservative thought.

On balance, it is still better to elect a CPC MP than a Liberal MP.

But unthinking, blanket support for the CPC has led to the situation we see today, where the upper echelon of the party leadership feels they can take their own voters for granted and offer them virtually nothing at all.

That cannot be allowed to continue, and some strategic voting to elect some Maverick & PPC MPs is very much needed in this country.

Strategic voting

In their effort to defeat Stephen Harper, the left embraced strategic voting, using the internet to set up what were often informal and self-organized efforts for voters to communicate with each other, assess the political balance of power in their ridings, and vote in a way that would achieve the desired result.

This is what Conservative Canadians need to do.

It wouldn’t make much sense to have Conservatives lose in swing ridings and see Liberals elected, as that would boost Trudeau’s power.

And Canada still greatly benefits from having CPC MPs like Poilievre and Rempel Garner in Parliament.

But in areas where the CPC either has no chance to begin with, or where they are relatively dominant, a vote for the Maverick or PPC could send a message, elect a Conservative Canadian not beholden to O’Toole, and avoid helping Trudeau.

The balance here is between the “I vote CPC no matter what” attitude, and the “CPC must be completely destroyed” attitude, both of which lead to negative outcomes for the country.

All Canadians should desire strong representation for what people believe

Since competition is such a strong force for improvement, the lack of a truly ‘conservative’ CPC weakens the entire political spectrum. It leaves millions of Canadians without true representation, narrows the range of ideas that are discussed and tested, and brings the whole system to a lower level.

We should all want the CPC to be a strong party that actually represents the many millions of Canadians who hold Conservative views, rather than a sad and desperate imitation of the Liberals.

So, I encourage you to take a look at the political situation in your riding, build networks of communication and strategic coordination, and give consideration to supporting either the Maverick Party or the PPC if it fits with your riding.

The CPC must be taught a lesson they won’t soon forget.

Spencer Fernando

Photos – YouTube

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