Monday, May 31, 2010

Conservatism in Canada Died a Slow and Painful Death

I was putting together all of my notes and postings on the hostile takeover of the Progressive Conservative party, that killed the conservative brand in Canada; and realized that it had not been an accidental death but pre-meditated murder.

I'm adding the links at the bottom that show a bit of a chronology, that I will work into a chapter of my book, but then I came across an article written in 1996, that revealed just how organized the crime was.

We talk a lot about the myriad of think tanks and 'non-profits' that became part of the infrastructure of the far-right. We also talk a lot about Harper's muzzling of the press, that allows him to operate in almost total secrecy. But in 1996, David Taras from the University of Calgary, hit on something else that I hadn't really thought of.

The media is not being silenced so much as the fact that they have now become the voice of neoconservatism. And it was not all Conrad Black and his hiring of only right-wing journalists.

What Taras spoke of was the fact that these journalists were not just writing with a right-wing bent, but had physically become involved in promoting the movement.

His point of reference was the Winds of Change conference, organized by National Post journalist David Frum. And if you don't think Frum is right-wing, he went on to write speeches for George W. Bush.
The Winds of Change conference, which took place in Calgary in May 1996, brought together approximately 70 leading right-wing thinkers and activists in an effort to bring unity to conservative forces before the next federal election, expected in 1997. The goal, according to organizer David Frum, was to discuss the prospects for a merger between the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties ....

The conference's real significance, its real meaning, however, may have little to do with whether the goal of unity on the right is ever achieved. More important perhaps is that the conference highlighted a phenomenon that has been taking place for quite some time in American politics, but seems only now to be emerging full-blown in Canada: that an increasing number of journalists have become ardent political activists. Where objectivity was once the gold standard on which the professional credibility of journalists rested, today the rules seem to have changed. Some journalists have been able to enhance their status by openly championing partisan positions and causes. We have in some senses gone back to the days of the party press, the period from 1870 until at least 1940, when fierce and zealous partisanship by journalists was the order of the day. Politics and journalism are no longer separate estates, locked in a relationship of conflict and symbiosis, but are merging in new ways that have been little studied or even recognized.

Journalists as partisan political activists? How could we ever expect a fair and impartial media? Should they not have to disclose that fact with every article?

The following are links to the stories leading up to the official dissolving of the Party of Sir John A. MacDonald in 2003. What former PC MP Flora MacDonald called the end of a 150 year old tradition.

Peter Mackay and the Death of the Tory Party in Canada

Ernest Manning and the NCC

The Fraser Institute's Role

Conrad Black and Media Manipulation

David Frum and Winds of Change

Craig Chandler and the Roots of Change

The Creation of Stephen Harper's Sandbox

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