What’s a Tory? Part 23404

I know I harp on this a lot but I think it matters. Particularly now that the Tories in New Brunswick are about to elect a new leader.

I just heard Jeannot Volpe railing against the possibility of any private sector involvement in health care delivery. Even something as simple as a real estate company owning the building in which health care takes place and leasing it to government. That’s nuts. That is about as anti a traditional conservative viewpoint as you could imagine.

I think that the Lord/Volpe team missed the point. They became the traditional caricature of the Liberals and that confusion led to their downfall (at least in part IMO).

Conservativism used to be:

Living within our means (personally and collectively): under Lord/Volpe Equalization payments increased by hundreds of millions.

Limited government: under Lord/Volpe government spending expanded at over 3 times the rate of inflation. Public sector job creation ballooned and now we have second highest ratio of provincial government employment in North America.

Pro-business: Volpe has ranted against the ‘influence of large corporations’ and railed against the concept of trying to keep industrial energy costs competitive.

It shows a very low level of political maturity to oppose a position taken by the incubment government just because they are taking that position. For a Progressive Convervative leader (albeit interim) to be railing against the private sector is crazy. If the Liberals are co-opting certain conservative ideas (private health care, flat taxes, etc.), then the PCs should be rejoicing – or pushing harder.

The PCs in New Brunswick have got to get back to their core beliefs: limit government, living within our means, pro-business, less confusion on taxes, freer markets, etc. Otherwise, what’s the point?

If the next leader of the Tories – for perceived political points – mirrors the Lord/Volpe big government, expansionary Tories – I would be disappointed. Who knows? Maybe that kind of fearmongering, pork barreling, type of politics will get the PCs back into office. But it won’t do anything to help us address our collective problems and it certainly won’t be consistent with any ‘conservative’ ideals that I know.

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0 Responses to What’s a Tory? Part 23404

  1. nbt says:

    The PCs in New Brunswick have got to get back to their core beliefs: limit government, living within our means, pro-business, less confusion on taxes, freer markets, etc. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    Get back there? When have they ever been there? The late 1800s? :)

    It’s a know fact that there has never been a fiscally conservative government in New Brunswick that has controlled spending the way the Harris tories did in Ontario during the mid to late 90s. Furthermore, and to add insult to injury, we have had Liberal governments that have spent like drunken sailors. Take a look at the path Boudreau is on right now. It’s much worse then the Liberal-lite progressive conservatives.

  2. David Campbell says:

    That’s actually a good, no a great point. Maybe PC in New Brunswick (maybe out of pragmatism) never meant conservative at all. I’ll have to mull that over. You may have put an end to my irregular series on What is a Tory.

  3. nbt says:

    LOL! I would put Hatfield along the lines of a Joe Clark “Red Tory” and Lord close to a Mulroney “Red Tory.”

    To be honest, Chretien, Martin and McKenna abided by fiscal conservatism much more then their counterparts did, especially dithers who cut spending to the bone in ’96.

  4. richard says:

    “The PCs in New Brunswick have got to get back to their core beliefs…. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

    I guess the point is to get elected. They do not see a market for whatever you think their core beliefs should be. Historically, the Progressive Conservative party has not been a party of small government. Hatfield did not turn back the clock when he took over from Robichaud.

    Rather than focussing on the past, the PCs should focus on the future and develop policies aimed at creation of high-paying jobs. If that takes more spending (or less), then so be it. Suggesting that reduced spending or reduced taxes is going to automatically lead to growth is nonsense.

  5. Anonymous says:

    David, NBT is right. New Brunswick Conservatives aren’t inherently conservative.

    And from an economic development point of view, that can be a good thing.

    After all, two young brothers named McCain never would have entered the strange new world of frozen French fries back in the ’50s without a grant from the Hugh John Flemming government. I think the return on that one has been pretty good — but if Hugh John had been a strict ideological conservative, it might not have happened.

  6. David Campbell says:

    Another very salient point – although in the U.S., the Republicans are particularly good at giving out tax breaks to stimulate new investment.