Sunday, October 19, 2008

Michael Coren: The Conservatives are the new natural ruling party

Arch-conservative (Darth Vader levels of conservative) Michael Coren says that the Conservatives are now the natural ruling party of Canada. The Liberals have left the stage, the NDP failed to get near it, the Bloq have no interest or business being there, and the Greens, well the Greens no one really cared about to begin with.

I don't find the term 'natural ruling party' very palatable, even when it is used to describe the political party I currently support. It's just so sickeningly Canadian and provincial, maybe anti-democratic. It's a term that could only come from a country with a highly dysfunctional political system and an overabundance of hubris in its politicians. So no, I don't think the Conservatives are the new ruling party of Canada. I hope they never will be either.

Coren points out that the NDP hoped for 50-60 seats, but only grabbed 7 in the end, making this election something of a failure for them. I hadn't realised that the NDP were so serious, but now that Coren mentions it, I did notice a lot more of Jack Layton talking as if he had a chance at winning a majority. But what sort of party expects to win even 50-60 seats with people like Julian West, Andrew McKeever, Dana Larsen and Kirk Tousaw? Now Layton is once again calling for a grand union of left-wing parties to defeat the Conservatives, including the Bloq Quebecois and the unelected and largely insignificant Greens. Which makes me wonder if Layton believes that he alone could lead a left-wing alliance; surely deference to Liberal leader would be too much to bear?

What of the absurdity of Justin Trudeau? No sooner than he been elected in Papineau, he was removing himself as a leadership candidate for the Liberal Party. Did the media not realize that he's not done a thing yet other than ride off the back of his father's political capital? If that's what counts for merit in today's Liberal Party, or to the media, they're both much worse off than I thought.

Reasoned voices in the media are heralding a return to the Centre for the Liberals, not a further plunge deeper into the Left, despite the overtures of Elizabeth May and Jack Layton. It makes sense to me: Since the Liberals bore a hard turn toward the policies of the NDP and Bloq Quebecois (sans les separatists!), they have effectively abandoned the Centre to the Conservatives. In the past three elections, the Liberals' traditional centrist base of ethnic minority communities, Catholics and Montrealers slowly eroded into the meager collection of barely won ridings scattered throughout Ontario, the Maritimes and Quebec. As we've now seen, these voters - who often come from Liberal voting families (like mine) - are now voting Conservative. All the while Dion's leadership team was obsessed with bleeding votes to the NDP and the Greens (even though May tried her best to stop that), while the major benefactor of ex-Liberal votes was in fact the Conservative Party.

If reason prevails, a 'blue-ish' Liberal such as Michael Ignatieff or Keith Martin will secure party leadership. But all is not reasonable in the Liberal Party caucus these days. Ujjal Dosanjh, who just barely kept his Vancouver riding against a first time Conservative candidate, has announced his intention to one day seek a leadership nominations. Bob Rae's aspirations are well known. Both of these candidates are ex-NDP premiers and decidedly men of the Left. And each carry much unpleasant baggage with them from their times as premiers in British Columbia and Ontario respectively. A Dosanjh or Rae leadership would be, a la John McCain and George Bush, a repetition of existing policies. We all know how that usually turns out.

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