What’s a Tory? Part 723

I have an ongoing theme on this blog about the ideology of Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick. As you know, I lean small c conservative in my politics and my views on the interaction between government and the people. But, mostly based on my experience, I tend to give ideology a wide berth on many issues because of the insanity of hard and fast positions on a lot of it.

But I never – in 20 years – could figure out what it meant to be a PC in New Brnswick. Never. Richard Hatfield was anything but a Tory in the classic sense. Bernard Lord said he was a fiscal conservative and then rung up government spending at over twice the rate of economic growth in the province during his time in office.

Now I have been reading Jeannot Volpe’s response to the proposed tax reform in New Brunswick and am amazed at his hard left stance – talking about how it will favour big corporations and hurt the little guy. Slamming the notion of a flat tax which is universally considered a ‘conservative’ idea.

To listen to Volpe, a conservative is about “lookin’ out for the little guy” and protecting them from the evil corporation.

But isn’t that ideological ground already a crowded space in Canada?

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0 Responses to What’s a Tory? Part 723

  1. mikel says:

    That’s actually the REAL definition of a tory, which has been why they’ve dwindled since the seventies. The ‘classic’ political analysis has always said that liberals have lost to NDP, but that’s not true.

    You certainly can’t believe the crap about looking out for the little guy, I don’t think anybody in their right mind takes that seriously. This is the party that paid their leader twice the national average from party coffers. Let’s pretend that money DIDN”T come from Irving, if you were a ‘little guy’ donating your hard earned cash to a party, how happy would you be that a huge chunk of it was going just to make the leader a millionaire quicker?

    Canada’s political spectrum is better categorized by business classes. That’s almost universal now. The Bloc represents the new french corporate interests, the liberals represent the older french and ontario businesses, and the tories the western oil based interests. While the NDP represents the workers and unions.

    That’s actually quite narrow, thats what happens with ‘first past the post’, thats why european countries tend to have six or seven groups representing…well, just about everything you can imagine.

    But in NB its a pretty unique case. I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere in canada-even north america, that is corporate run to the extent that NB is. You essentially have two different branches of the Irving party. And that’s why, to quote any poster on a different post, you have elections fought on single issues.

    There are some differences, but they aren’t unique to tory and liberals. As you mentioned yesterday, the method of decision making is becoming much more restrictive-but that’s becoming universal at many representative democracies and isn’t party based. Lord had a provincial referendum, and now a couple of tories have mentioned referenda on various issues. The OTHER way that the tories COULD show their roots is to remember that a ‘progressive conservative’ used to actually be ‘half progressive’.

    The other international movement has been people demanding more say in how these representative democracies operate. That was what ‘progressive’ often meant, and in the US it was that group that brought about direct democracy at the state levels-citizens initiatives, recalls, and referenda. BC is probably closest to that model now, but one never knows. The ‘new tories’ are playing the ‘little guy’ card a lot, but sometimes when you play a card you’re stuck with it and can no longer bluff. So if OTHER factors come into play then it COULD make a dramatic scene.

    How far the tories would go is unknown, but Volpe even publicly groused about the Irving monopoly, and I’ve NEVER seen a high ranking official do that. That’s a far cry from DOING anything, but its a step. So for the only thing missing in New Brunswick is the organizational structures that tend to bring populist themes to the forefront of political discussion. Charles Leblanc still does that a fair bit, though he’s kind of off track with his personal stuff. There are a number of organizations, but they are mostly small with few PR skills and no desire to really confront the political system.

    In the field of democracy the liberals have always been far more autocratic, and are now even worse. Lord had a referendum, a commission on democracy, a commission on forestry which wasn’t as one sided as before, and was having another referendum. The liberals cancelled it and basically sold the forestry farm to the corporate interests-but the tories were no friend to the ‘little guy’-just watch ‘forbidden forest’ and see Volpe himself tell the small woodlot owner that ‘thats the market and we’re not doing anything about it’.

    The liberals did have some isolated referenda, but they were rural ones with little fanfare and not much notice and poorly run. And now their decision making has gotten so anti democratic the courts are weighing in. So just because a premier smokes some pot means nothing about conservative. A flat tax is NOT a conservative idea, it is a CORPORATE idea and a RICH idea, because its yet another way that the rich save more money. It’s only conservative if you believe the media propaganda.