Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Worth Reiterating: Peter MacKay Made the Right Decision

Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger good for parties, good for Canada

In a letter written to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Marjaleena Repo reminds Canadians that, although the 2004 merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party -- forming the modern Conservative Party of Canada -- has long been old news, there are still those who remain preoccupied with it.

Apparently resenting the description of the Liberal Party/NDP attempt to form a coalition government -- also worth reiterating: a government that would have been irresponsibly mortgaged to the separatist Bloc Quebecois -- as a coup d'etat, Repo instead describes the CA-PC merger as the same:
"In discussing the possibility of a Liberal-New Democrats merger, frequent reference is made to the Alliance-PC Party 'merger' as the natural and logical one, unlike the projected one of the two opposition parties.

Those who participated in the 2003 Progressive Conservative Party leadership campaign and its aftermath know well the so-called merger was simply a
coup d'état."
Repo goes on to describe MacKay's decision to explore merging the two parties in conspiratorial terms:
"Leader-elect Peter MacKay ran as a 'non-merger candidate' and signed an agreement with David Orchard pledging not to pursue a merger with the Alliance and to respect the party's constitution that explicitly forbade a merger.

He did the very opposite and opened PC membership to a flood of Alliance members. These dual Alliance-PC members were able to overtake the much smaller PC membership and, in a manipulated teleconference vote, get the merger approved
"
Repo may object too much. After all, Orchard and his anti-merger cabal only accounted for 25% of PC membership. A significant minority perhaps, but still a minority.

Conversely, when a vote was held on whether or not to accept the merger as proposed in 2003, the result was a landslide.
"Had MacKay abided by the agreement he signed, far from leaving the 2003 leadership convention with no choice but to cave in to the Alliance, the PC party would have carried on the rejuvenation and revitalization process that saw its caucus grow with byelection wins.

The thousands of Orchard supporters and those who had supported MacKay as a no-merger candidate, would have contributed to the regrowth.

Indeed, it is quite possible the PC party would have done well in the 2004 election, when Canadians were eagerly looking for an alternative to the Adscam-stained Liberals.
"
As it turned out, both Orchard and Repo -- who, herself could never be mistaken as an impartial observer, as she served as senior political advisor to Orchard -- instead joined the Adscam-stained Liberals.

In other words, at the end of the day, there was little to no difference between Orchard and the Liberals at all. There was, however, strong similarities and common conservative causes between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.

MacKay wisely recognized this, and recognized the folly of keeping the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties divided, despite the common philosophical bonds between the two parties -- all in the name of David Orchard's political vanity.

There was not one logical reason to do this. In fact, it would have actually run counter to Peter MacKay's responsibilities as the leader of the PCs: that is, to do what is best for his party.

Perhaps Repo considers her speculation on what could have happened to be pertinent cause to re-think the merger. But the results of what actually happened -- with the Conservative Party of Canada forming the government within two years of the merger -- speaks for itself.

Certainly, some former Progressive Conservative stalwarts abandoned the party after the merger -- but they did this by choice. Some did it out of sheer opportunism (Belinda Stronach, who crossed the floor to become a cabinet minister). Others did it out of being unable to set aside their differences with the former Canadian Alliance and work with who they deemed to be the "wrong" conservatives -- whom many of them contemptuously deemed "Hats and Horses" conservatives.

Marjaleena Repo, for her own part, has gone on to be a contributor to Global Research -- a haven for far left conspiracy theorists, including 9/11 truthers. Orchard himself has also contributed to this dubious think tank.

It's just as fair to speculate that the Liberal Party would have continued to govern Canada had the CPC merger never taken place. And while the Liberals wish they could treat the Sponsorship Scandal as an isolated incident, it's worth mentioning that when a decision regarding the taxation of income trusts was leaked to investors in 2005, the Liberals simply declined to investigate.

In the end, the Minister of Finance, Ralph Goodaale, was cleared of any wrongdoing. A civil servant working in the Finance Department was eventually charged and convicted. Wrongdoing had taken place, and the Liberals simply declined to investigate. Their approach to matters of corruption was, as such, wholly unacceptable from a party expecting to continue governing.

In other words, the stakes for Canada were very high. Peter MacKay recognized this very early, and did not only what was best for his party, but was best for his country. He did what David Orchard simply would not.

At the end of the story, history will speak very favourably about Peter MacKay's decision -- and less-than-favourably of David Orchard and his ideological vanity, if it speaks about Orchard at all.


3 comments:

  1. The merger of right of centre parties made sense to stop the Liberals. Many Reform, Alliance supporters at one time were PC supporters but left when they felt it became another Liberal lite party.

    Some will never accept a political party that has had it roots from the West have power in Ottawa.

    The amount of real scandals and lack of oversight was a problem if you examine the reports from the auditor general during the 13 dark years.

    The left of centre media is busy pushing the fake scandals narrative trying to get their pick back in power.

    Like climate gate, the old media does not get it. They can't stop information getting out and ignoring it for a month won't work anymore.

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  2. Although I am no fan of the Conservatives, I heartily agree with your thesis. From the standpoint of the Conservatives, the merger was clearly justified (as "Canadian Sense" writes) to "stop the Liberals." The merger of Canada's centre-left forces was likely the only means to accomplish this feat, and regardless the doleful complaints of Orchard and dissafected Prog Cons, it worked brilliantly.

    By the same token, however, it must be recognized that, from the perspective of Canada's centre-left, a merger among the Libs and NDPers (if ever it could be pulled off) would likely be equally effective at "stopping the Conservatives". Such a feat would energize Canada's left-centrists just as the Reform/Prog Con merger energized Canadian righties.

    Why do I say this? I am not consulting polling statistics, nor am I relying on my own bias against the Harper Conservatives. Canada, fundamentally, is a social democratic (dare we say "socialist"?) country. Medicare, equalization, the Canadian Wheat Board, arts subsidies are proof enough of that proposition. The Liberals are the natural heirs to this social-democratic tradition; for their part, the NDP not only support the Canadian welfare state, but want to add more spending to the pile. Any party which is seen to not only support but ENTHUSIASTICALLY support these fiscal monstrosities will wind up on the right side of the electorate.

    The problem with the Harper Conservatives is that, while they may offer grudging support (which many in the electorate suspect is faked at that), they are not enthusiastic about the above welfare slop-pile (or, as the Libs would undoubtedly say, "Canada's fiscal heritage"). In the face of obvious political reality, the Cons may promise not to scrap outright Medicare or equalization, but voters know at the end of the day that the Conservative heart just isn't emotionally invested in "Canada's fiscal heritage". And the public will remain forever suspicious about Conservative efforts to "reform" these monstrosities.

    (Which is another reason, by the way, why even minimalist reform along Conservative lines is impossible in the long run. Conservatives, especially of the Harper brand, are on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of Canada. By the way, despite my obvious glee in writing this, so am I, and with a vengeance. In my heart, I believe the federal government should be dissolved and all national politicians and bureacrats be tried for war crimes, and given the rope if convicted. But, as is claimed to be a virtue about even the lowest of scoundrels, at least I am honest. You cannot say the same about the Harper Conservatives.)

    Conservatives are not committed, at least not in the same way lefties are, to maintaining Canada's tradition of welfare-state corporatism. This is why Canadians, in their heart of hearts, don't trust Conservatives. This is Conservatives are only able, and will only ever be able, to be elected to minority governments, with the other parties given the honour of collectively keeping watch over them. In a way, this proves my point. Because Canadians do not trust the Conservatives, and simultaneously trust the Libs and NDP to supervise them (with the possible exception, outside of Quebec, of the Bloc), the Cons would not stand a snifter of a chance in a fair, two-man fight. If Canada's left merged, the Conservatives would never again form a government.

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