This was not a marriage, it was an abduction. The majority of Red Tories had no interest in joining the neoconservative movement. We knew what it was and knew that it was all wrong for Canada.
Back in the day when we were allowed to call Stephen Harper a neoconservative, one of those Red Tories wrote a book on the subject. Beyond Greed: A Traditional Conservative Confronts Neoconservative Excess.
The author of that book was Hugh Segal, a man who has now joined the Harper cheer leading squad as a senator, embracing all of the undemocratic maneuvers he once sounded the alarm over.
Reform's power in the federal election of 1993, achieved during a clear Progressive Conservative vacuum both in leadership and policy, emerged from the capacity to divide. Increasing anti-Quebec animosities in the west, encouraging intransigence on native land claims, feeding an anti-politician and anti-government cynicism, arguing for tougher law and order treatment of the most juvenile of criminals, doubting the appropriateness of liberal refugee policies, attacking equalization between rich and poor regions in the name of fiscal restraint — all these speak to the Reform party's attempt to maximize their gains from the power to divide. (1)When Brigette DePape stood in silent protest as this neoconservative agenda was being realized, she shared the concerns that Segal once had.
Anne Lagacé Dowson writes for The Hour:
Parliament has never witnessed such excitement during what is usually a sombre event – the Speech from the Throne, which outlines the government’s plans for the next session of Parliament, such as the Conservative scheme to cancel taxes for the richest and most powerful corporations. Reading between the lines, the speech also means that more Canadians will be imprisoned for what were once minor infractions in the relentless war on drugs, never mind that last week a blue ribbon panel, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, pronounced the war on drugs a lost war. More Canadians going to jail is just dandy since Harper intends to build spanking new prisons.Johnston was an old Brian Mulroney crony who tried to suppress the inquiry into the Airbus scandal.
Picture the scene. Harper is a control freak and on that day he had total control. Control over the Commons because he won the election by splitting the opposition vote using the basest of Republican scare tactics. Control over the Senate because he appointed three Tory hacks who had just lost their elections, which gave him a majority of Senate seats. Control over the Governor-General. Former governors-general Michaëlle Jean and Adrienne Clarkson both maintained a certain regal aloofness from the governments that appointed them. Not Harper’s appointee, David Johnston. At his swearing-in ceremony we were witness to the extraordinary moment of the Governor-General giving a fist-pumping cheer to the new Conservative cabinet.
The Reform party has maximized its gains from what Segal called the "power to divide". But the senator also warned that Canada's neoconservatives risked becoming "captives of their own propaganda".
Anyone following Stephen Harper's career for more than a week and a half, know that he is not in any way imaginable a moderate. However, in his path to power he has had to tap into the worst of people, and now that "worst" wants action. And for the next four years, that worst will get it, while the Canadian identity is systematically destroyed.
But what's worse than Harper's tapping into the "worst", with all of his Quebec, women, progressives, gay bashing; is that he has used the power of the American neconservative movement to get where he is today. And they too have come calling.
He has sold the Canadian soul to the devil, and the devil has a signed contract.
Now About This Marriage Nonsense
The new Conservative Party of Canada is not the offspring of a marriage between Red Tories and the Reform/Alliance. It is an illegitimate child of a backroom affair. The bastard of Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper. Or if I can continue to be crude, the result of a gang rape.
The bait was a signed contract between Peter Mackay and another PC leadership contender, David Orchard. Mackay promised that if Orchard threw his votes to him, he would not try to unite with the Reformers.
Orchard, perhaps not willing to take Mackay at his word, demanded that he sign a contract. MacKay did, but before the ink was dry, met his political lover Harper, and a new generation of conservatives was born. (You can read more about that here and here)
Oh, but the Progressive Conservatives voted on the merger, you say.
Yeah, about that. Enter Craig Chandler, a card carrying member of Canada's Religious Right.
The controversial Chandler had worked behind the scenes to not only "unite the right", but also to have Stephen Harper head up the new party. He had held a 'Roots of Change' conference, to draw in the fringe elements. And during the vote on the merger, created The 2Cards Campaign.
Chandler, the founder of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (nothing at all like its name implies), ran for the PC leadership to get to the convention, where he helped to defeat Resolution 9, which sought to ban dual memberships in the PC and Alliance. He then launched the 2Cards initiative.
As you are well aware both the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance are sending the Merger Package for full ratification. The Tories and the Canadian Alliance are sending the proposal to their memberships and each party is different and this the real issue. Our polling numbers from The Strategy Group Inc show that 80 - 83.5% of Canadian Alliance members would support any effort for a united conservative movement. Also, since the Canadian Alliance only requires a simple majority to accept the Merger Package our efforts will not be focused on persuading Canadian Alliance members.This meant that Alliance members would get to vote twice. The one within their own party was a lock, but the majority of PCs were opposed to the merger.
However, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada is where the battleground is. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada's Constitution requires a 2/3 majority vote from participating members to ratify this Merger package and this is where the problem lies. ... How can we insure that the Tory membership will embrace the Merger Package? Quite simply, by following the initial plan of the www.2cards.ca campaign.
It worked and the hostile takeover began.
Canadians Not Blameless
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." PlatoCanadian artist Joe Mendleson, a former PC insider, does blame Mackay, but also blames the Canadian people for being asleep at the wheel.
“I view us as a people in decline,” he says. “We are a society that is very lost and completely uninvolved with democracy.” He himself has been involved in the past, becoming a card-carrying Progressive Conservative working for Prairie populist David Orchard in the 2003 leadership race won by Peter MacKay.He calls on us to protest. We have, but I believe there will be larger protests in the near future. People are just not mad enough yet.
“I was betrayed by Peter MacKay,” he says, referring to the deal between MacKay and Orchard in which MacKay promised, if he became leader with Orchard’s backing, not to seek a union with the Canadian Alliance. The deal was eventually broken when the PCs joined the new Conservative Party with Harper as its leader.
His disenchantment since has only deepened. Canadians, he says, have become “anesthetized – they’re asleep about their country ..."
Another Canadian artist also wrote of the "new" Conservative Party. Robert Bateman in the Wildlife Art Journal says: Why I Am A 21st Century Conservative
I am a conservative. This is why I deeply resent the neo-conservatives who are not conservatives at all. They are the opposite: radicals who are destroying cherished institutions and wreaking havoc on our human heritage as well as our natural heritage.Hugh Segal once espoused the same values as Mendleson and Bateman.
I do not consider destroyers to be conservative.
So many cherished institutions have been built with great care and dedication through the decades by well-trained people with good hearts. These are being smashed and weakened in great haste by politicians and ideologues who do not even understand what they destroy. Creation is long and difficult; destruction is quick.
Power in a democracy comes not from the ability to divide or even the ability to direct. Power in a democracy ultimately comes from the capacity to persuade, and be persuaded by, the essential moderation of the population as a whole.Boy did he fall hard.
The ability to persuade is based on trust, and trust is based on a clear and established practice of not abusing that trust. Using government to divide, using government to impose narrow fundamentalist biases, using government to encourage unfairness by sins of omission or commission is precisely such an abuse.
Leaders or putative leaders who encourage a retreat from moderation seek to bolster the legitimacy of their narrow views and purposes by seeing the population become as disengaged as they are from a balanced view. These are the leaders who work not to prevent crisis but to create it and expand upon it. They seek to leverage it for their own purposes rather than prevent it by true and fair-minded actions.
The moderate imperative explicitly provides that a democracy's only real power is power shared and used sparingly, and where possible not at all. The legitimacy of a public office holder or aspirant seeking to lead by building a shared consensus about common responsibilities to each other is more enduring than the opponent who seeks power by turning one demographically distinct voter group against another. (1)
So to my friends in the media. Never, ever suggest that Red Tories were privy to the building of this dictatorship. Aside from those like Segal who have sold out for power, most of us detest Stephen Harper as much as the Liberals do.
Instead of doing background checks on pages, maybe we should be doing them on these "new" Conservative senators. I'd like to know the exact date that Segal contracted out his soul.
1. Beyond Greed: A Traditional Conservative Confronts Neoconservative Excess, By Hugh Segal, Stoddart Publishing, 1997, ISBN: 0-7737-3053-2, Pg. 153-155