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Ezra Levant, Ron Paul, Jason Kenney and the eternal conflict of the ideological mind

Sights and sounds from a weekend at the Manning conference


 

Ezra Levant, the carnival barker of the conservative movement in Canada and the foremost heel to Canadian progressives, was trying to explain the problem with environmentalism.

“I have no problem with treating the environment on an issue by issue basis: we’ve got to fix this or solve that,” he said. “But environmentalism is a philosophy, like most words ending with ism. Socialism, communism… hinduism, it’s a faith. And so the question is if your true ideology is conservatism or libertarianism, and you also think you can be an environmentalism person, you may have a conflict there.”

***

Mr. Levant and Mr. Solberg were one of three short debates that preceded the arrival of the star attraction of this weekend’s Manning Networking Conference. After a short introduction from Preston Manning, the would-be grandfather of Canadian conservatism, Ron Paul arrived on stage to warm applause and what sounded like the theme from Star Wars.

The American libertarian, a whimsical little old man, is an icon of ideological purity. His answer to most any issue of social order and well-being is “liberty.” In a world of compromise and contradiction, he is a model of consistency. And consistency of thought has its appeal. Up and until the point you realize it means opposing the Civil Rights Act.

“The spirit of liberty seems like it’s alive and well in Canada,” he ventured upon taking the lectern, winning whoops from the crowd.

After explaining that he thought the world was undergoing profound change in the direction of liberty, Mr. Paul took a moment to discuss labels.

“This is a conservative group and I’m seen as a conservative, but even the term conservative has relative terms. You know, if you were in the Soviet Union, when it was starting to come apart, the conservatives were the ones who wanted to conserve Marxism and the Liberals were the ones who wanted to believe in liberty,” he explained. “The founders of the United States called themselves liberals and that term was in many ways destroyed and undermined. Today, you know, one of the terms that I used to always have sympathy for because it sounds good—shouldn’t we all be progressives, shouldn’t we want to look in the future and see new things. But progressives, I don’t know how the word is used up here, but in the States it’s a bad term, if you’re a conservative. But maybe that’s true here too. But then the term libertarian comes up and that has a controversial connotation. So you have moderates and libertarians and conservatives and liberals and progressives and socialists. And terminology is very tricky. So I’ve simplified my terminology for what I believe in to a simple term and that is interventionism. If you believe in interventionism across the board, that means you want the government to tell us what to do with our personal lives, you want the government to tell us what to do with our economic activity and you allow the government to tell other people around the world what to do. So guess what? I’ve come down on the side of saying, I am a non-interventionist.”

This pronouncement won more applause and more whoops.

By Mr. Paul’s definition, the government that is presumably supported by the vast majority of people at this weekend’s conference qualifies as interventionist. Indeed, were Ron Paul and Stephen Harper locked in a room together they would find many things to disagree about: drug laws, the value of central banking, the war in Afghanistan, government funding for snow-grooming machines and so on. By comparison to Ron Paul, Stephen Harper is a liberal. Maybe even a socialist.

But then libertarianism is most easily appreciated as an imaginary world. North American libertarians are generally free to argue for their ideology without any reasonable expectation that it will ever be wholly and fully embraced (except maybe on an oil rig off the coast of San Francisco). It is less a reasonable plan for the future of humanity than it is a useful counterpoint by which we might test our current practices. Indeed, Mr. Paul might’ve given the game away in this regard when he observed that his views have proven popular with 15-year-olds.

Of course, conservatism, even in less pure forms, is still itself a problematic governing philosophy. Mr. Paul prides himself on being a truth-teller. What this means is that he says things other politicians don’t say. And, in doing so, he can help to demonstrate the contradictions of others. On Friday morning, for instance, he advocated for the elimination of income taxes and was applauded for doing so. It seems to be a general principle of conservatism that taxes are bad. “I don’t believe,” Stephen Harper himself once said, “that any taxes are good taxes.” Except that he hasn’t gotten around to eliminating all taxes just yet. Conservatives, somewhat relatedly, don’t believe the government is a particularly efficient or trustworthy manager. But then some of their most recent leaders have been among the most eager to use military force. The government apparently can’t be trusted to manage anything except war—the most fraught and consequential endeavour any nation can undertake. In that regard, there’s something to be said for Mr. Paul’s laments for the military industrial complex.

At some point, thinking about such things, Mr. Paul starts to make sense. At least so long as you don’t then start thinking too hard about how he would order the world.

***

A few hours later it was Jason Kenney at the lectern. The theme of this session was “Advancing Conservatives Politically.” After a few pleasantries, Mr. Kenney proceeded with 80 seconds of attacks on Justin Trudeau.

Over the course of the ensuing speech, Mr. Kenney would variously scorn and lament all of the following: “the political elite,” “the nattering nabobs of negativism,” “the talking heads,” “the doubters among the self-appointed cognoscenti,” “the media,” “the critics,” “the clutter,” “the media coverage and commentary in newspapers and on TV,” “the self-styled experts,” “a coterie of left-wing activists and lawyers,” “our critics,” “the special interests,” “political correctness,” the “fashionable and politically correct views of a narrow class of lawyers, academics and journalists from the Plateau-Annex-Glebe axis,” “the soft on crime, hard on the wallet NDP” and “the arrogant and entitled Liberals.”

Every philosophy, of course, must be an answer to something and every hero needs a villain. Environmentalism has climate change. Capitalism has socialism. Catholicism has Satan. And the Harper government has the liberal elite. Seven years after forming government, it is still an underestimated underdog beset on all sides. Even if it also apparently speaks for the majority.

On that count, Mr. Kenney was here to say that 39.9%—the Conservative share of the popular vote in 2011—was not the best the Conservative party could hope to attract.

“Why do I believe we can not only hold 40% of the electorate, but actually win new voters in the next election?” he asked himself. “I’m confident that we can do it because I believe that our party’s priorities are closer to those of Canadians. Our values are closer to those of Canadians than any other party. That the values of Conservatives are mainstream Canadian values.”

And what are Conservative values? Mr. Kenney identified all of the following: “hard work and personal responsibility, a respect for tradition, a belief in family as the most important social institution, a respect for religious faith, a respect for law and order that ensures safe streets and values victims’ rights over those of criminals, a belief in entrepreneurship and initiative and risk-taking, the freedom to take chances and reap the rewards of initiative free of crippling taxes and red tape, a belief in an opportinity to succeed by playing by the rules without the over-developed liberal sympathy for those who refuse to do so, belief in a principled, democratic foreign policy that stands up for freedom and fundamental values and a pride in our Canadian armed forces and our history of military sacrifice and glory.”

For sure, a liberal might object here that these are not necessarily conservative (or Conservative) values, or that this is grossly over-simplified, or at least that there should be no inference that liberals necessarily take the opposite of these positions. Others in the self-appointed cognoscenti might compare and contrast these values with the Harper government’s record in office.

(“How conservative is the Conservative government?” is a fun game, likely played not only in the parlours of the Glebe, but also Red Deer. For all those who wish Mr. Harper’s government had more in common with Ron Paul, it is important to note that conservative governments get to do conservative things that wouldn’t be done by liberal governments. And on that count, Mr. Harper will have left his mark with any number of conservative victories. But then take this government’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Not just that its current position entirely contradicts its previous position, but that its current position advocates government regulation over a market-based approach. Never mind whether the Conservatives can reconcile their general ideology with environmental concerns, in this case they’ve chosen to reject a policy that fits with their political ideology in favour of responding to environmental concerns with a policy that contradicts their conservatism. Why? Because it allows them to malign Thomas Mulcair.)

Mr. Kenney surely has some grounds to assert that these conservative (or Conservative) values are in line with Canadian values. As noted, the party received 39.9% of the popular vote when ballots were last cast. It won at least a plurality in a majority of the country’s 308 ridings. A poll last month found that 37% of Canadians believed the country was moving to the right.

But then a poll in November found that 48% of Canadians self-identified as liberals, compared to 25% who identified as conservatives. According to Ekos’ research, that represents liberalism’s largest share of the Canadian population in 16 years.

Is it possible that Canadians misunderstand the finer points of these ideologies? Do many self-identified liberals not realize that, in terms of specific issues and values, they’re secretly conservative? Perhaps. But then when the Manning Centre asked Canadians to identify their partisan identification, 26% chose the Liberals, compared to 25% for the Conservatives (another 17% identified with the NDP). Meanwhile, when the Manning Centre asked Canadians to plot their ideology on a scale from one (“extreme left”) to seven (“extreme right”). The results were almost perfectly symmetrical, with 47% choosing 4 and 12% each choosing 3 and 5.

Add those numbers up and it seems like Canadians are mostly liberal centrists—perhaps fitting the classic “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” description.

None of which is to say that Jason Kenney can necessarily be said to be wrong when he says the Conservative party has found common cause with the common man. Quite the contrary.

In explaining how the party has succeeded and how the party can further succeed—and in between complaining about doubters and enthusing about values—Mr. Kenney humble bragged about how Conservatives have drawn the support of new Canadians.

“That project succeeded not by pandering like the Liberals used to do, not by running some kind of cynical Tammany Hall operation that was unfortunately the hallmark of other parties in the past,” he said. “We didn’t simply look for token issues. We took the time, first of all, to listen. To listen with respect to new Canadians and members of our cultural communities. And then patiently to explain where our values aligned with theirs. Fundamentally, we showed new Canadians that their values are our values, Conservative values.”

This apparently took “time, patience and a lot of hard work.” Which, coincidentally, Mr. Kenney also probably considers conservative (or Conservative) values.

“It took sitting down every day, weekend after weekend, with community groups, with small market ethnic media organizations, at gurdwaras and temples and churches and synagoes and at cultural festivals and holiday celebrations,” Mr. Kenney explained. “Not simply talking to new Canadians, but, most importantly, listening to them. Learning about their concerns and priorties and translating those into practical policies that reflect our shared values. And then going back to those same people and same groups and explaining our policies and earning their trust and good faith. The simple truth in politics is that you don’t win lasting support and you certainly don’t grow your support amongst people with just one meeting or with some kind of tokenism. It takes meeting the same people over and over and over again to demonstrate good faith to win that vote share.”

And not only were these new Canadians asked to vote for the Conservative party, but they were recruited as volunteers, campaign workers and candidates.

This much had less to do with ideology then with the practical work of politics. Indeed, it turns out that the key to winning elections is doing politics better than your opponents. And also possibly timing. (Can any discussion of the Conservative party’s success not include some discussion of the Liberal party’s miserable failures?)

(Later in the day, there would be a session on the state of conservatism in the United States. Despite some whining about Benghazi, the explanation for the Republican party’s defeat in the recent presidential election seemed to be this: the Democrats had a more popular leader, more popular policies and a more effective campaign.)

Mr. Kenney closed with a quote from John Diefenbaker about freedom and the role of government. And he held up the result for Mr. Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservatives in 1958—53.7% of the popular vote—as a goal to aspire to. Of course, four years later, the PCs were reduced to 37.2% of the vote and a year after that they were out of office. Between 1963 and 1980, the Liberals would win six of seven elections. Then the PCs would return to office with two sizeable majorities. And then the Liberals would win four consecutive elections. And now the Conservatives have won three straight.

All of which suggests that either Canada has undergone a series of profound and dramatic shifts back and forth in ideology over the last 60 years or that it is never quite as simple as ideologues might wish it to be.


 

Ezra Levant, Ron Paul, Jason Kenney and the eternal conflict of the ideological mind

  1. Charlie Pierce’s five-minute rule … apply with vigor.

  2. Mr. Wherry is to be thanked for flipping over the rock.

  3. Careful, my Laurentian Consensus friend, you’re heaping scorn on a party that is wildly popular with immigrants. Not that far of a leap to suggest you are a white supremacist.

    The conservative base is now downtown Toronto, where new Canadians reject the Liberal obsession with gay issues, Soviet style child “care”, & other “white” ideas/neuroticisms. Jobs, the economy – that’s why they moved here, not tranny rights.

    • You have clearly been nowhere downtown Toronto at any point in the 20th or 21st centuries.

    • The Conservative base is downtown TO?

      You are insane or really funny..

    • I drive my Laurentian Consensus around downtown T.O. every day (it’s a tough vehicle to park but very roomy) and thus am qualified to inform you that you are terribly misinformed.

  4. None of these people are even remotely ‘conservatives’. They are indeed carnival barkers for the absurd Libertarian ideology.

    ‘Libertarian’….that’s American English meaning the Taliban.

    ‘Talibornagains’. JUST what we need in Canada. Not.

  5. This is a good article and I am sorry that in the comments section of yesterday’s preliminary I pooh-poohed the idea of yet more on Mr. Manning. If only the hundreds of thousands that hang on my every word and deed would not now be dissuaded from perusing it – but I have learned my lesson and in the future will not be so quick to pass judgment.

  6. Anyone mention Quebec at this conference?

    • About the same number who mentioned, “Saskatchewan”. It holds the same importance.

  7. Ignorant or parochial ? Grow up and read a few books – socialism, libertarianism, conservatism and other philosophies have long histories with capable thinkers behind them. Your belittling approach betrays either your ignorance or grotesque parochialism

  8. The core of conservatism lies in the belief in limited government. Most Canadians who consider themselves conservatives likely feel that every level of government that they live under has grown far too big. Think about this hard fact: If you are a stereotypical middle class family in Canada, with a mortgage, a couple of kids, a car or two (one of which is likely 10-15 years old), government represents your single largest financial burden by far. If you work in the private sector, you will work longer and retire with less than those who work in government, in spite of bearing the risks inherent with working in the real world AND being a member of the oppressed minority that actually pays taxes.
    Worse is the incremental and pernicious growth of regulatory reach. Every single day, some level of government adds some useless and mindless regulation. Every single day. It literally never stops. Why can’t it stop? We’ve reached a point where we are told that because the nanny state exists, we must expand the reach and scope of the nanny state in order to protect the nanny state. We’ve literally reached a point where homosexuality has achieved a sanctity that supersedes that of the basic individual liberties that built our society over the last 1000 years.
    Look at the mess that progressivism has created. In spite of massive taxation, every government in Canada is going broke. Progressives like to claim that it’s because we don’t tax the rich enough, in site of the hard fact that 75% of all taxes are paid by 25% or so of the work force. Or, they like to claim that we need to give socialism more time and effort to prove its worth. Really? 50 or so years isn’t enough? Right now, every level of government in Canada has more money coming in than they’ve ever had, and more than they ever will even with increased taxation powers (Alberta has the lowest personal tax rate, yet the highest per capita income tax receipt), with strong business, personal, and property tax receipts due to an inherently strong economy. In spite of that, they’re all broke. Why? Because they can’t bring themselves to say “No!” Emphatically enough or often enough.

    • I dunno man, I kinda like hospitals.

      Seriously, that’s 11 seconds of my life I won’t get back.

      • Sure you like hospitals, but… You can’t swing a cat without bumping into some government project that is a serious overreach of that level of government’s responsibility. Taxpayer money spent on “the arts” is money not spent on hip replacement surgeries. Taxpayer money spent on promoting trade (don’t worry, trade will always promote itself) is money not spent on fixing the leaky roof at your kids school, ad infinitum. What I have long maintained is that we need stricter controls on both taxation and spending powers.
        By simply having laws that force govts. to first raise the funding, by referendum, before committing to any new spending initiative, you could halt the pernicious growth. New spending could be achieved without going to the electorate by making cuts in other areas.
        To all of this I always ask: Are governments currently too big, too small, or just about the right size? Regardless of your answer, you are then compelled to a second, more pertinent question. When do we stop the growth of government? Today, tomorrow, or yesterday? Are you prepared to face the social costs of not stopping it? (see: Greece, Portugal, et al)

        • No, you’re not actually compelled to that second question, because that second question is stupid. You can’t draw a line in the sand and say “government can get only this big and no bigger” nor can you do the converse and say “government can only get this small and no smaller”, the entire concept of right-sized government is as fluid as the society is underneath it.

          The countries of northern Europe are doing just fine with larger governments. The economic powerhouse of Germany actually has a hell of a lot more government intervention than we do here. Including a law that requires any company in Germany with more than 2000 people ensure that it’s board of directors is about 50% employee representatives.

          The second question you *are* compelled to ask is, “If it’s not the right size, how do we fix it?”

          The problems in Greece and Portugal have more to do with corruption (of the government, of the taxpayer) than their particular system of governance.

          • But, how do we stop the onslaught of regulation? Can you make the case that we need new regulations on literally everything we encounter every day? Do we need new regulations on automotive safety? Emissions? On how hockey helmets are made? Bicycles? Appliance labelling?
            And, I get back to my basic argument. You say you like hospitals, but, every day we see tax money diverted from responsibilities and commitments to luxuries.
            Here’s a case in point- the Alberta govt. will, eventually acquiesce to the “progressives” and commit to building a 15-20 billion dollar high speed rail link between Calgary and Edmonton. Yet, the math doesn’t support the concept.
            At 5% money, it will have a fixed operating cost of over $2 million per day without moving a single passenger. That means that 20,000 people per day will have to use the service at $100 a ticket just to pay for the system. Plus, you still haven’t paid back a nickel of principal, nor the energy or staffing or security or maintenance costs. There are barely 20,000 vehicles per day using the same highway corridor, plus there is an existing high speed link in the form of numerous flights between Calgary and Edmonton via WestJet and AC. In spite of the math not adding up, this idea continually finds favor within all levels of government. Unfortunately, that multi-million dollar daily shortfall will come out of things like hospitals, courts, schools, roads etc.
            The biggest problem is that the potential tax pool is finite, yet it’s nigh unto impossible to find a government that wants to treat it as such and simply say “No” more often. Instead, they curry favor with every potential lobby, and kick the financial can further down the road.

            The bottom line is, if you want to save your beloved public health care, you need to lobby your nearest government to do less, not more.

          • Any regulation is best examined on an individual cost benefit analysis without pre-supposing th ere are too many or indeed too few.

          • And when a new regulation is sold on false pretences or gross overstatement of potential benefits, do we have a system for automatic repeal in place? Do we have a system whereby the champions of any new regulation are compelled to resign or even face possible jail time for depriving their fellow citizens of liberty under false pretence?
            Case in point- there is no evidence anywhere that points to any measurable safety benefits from red light cameras and photo radar, yet they remain in place solely on the basis of public safety. There is also no evidence to support the idea that second hand smoke is a health concern. Ditto for salt, yet look at the situation on both of those issues. We are facing a massive overburden of restrictions on tobacco and salt, both perfectly lawful products, largely based upon the tenuous idea of “the public good” and the notion that the nanny state must expand in order to protect the nanny state.
            Sorry, I ain’t pickin’ up what they’re puttin’ down.

          • Whatever it is that you’re ‘smoking’ is having a direct effect on what you’re trying to say. I’d say that we all take it with a grain of salt.

          • You face a massive overburden of restrictions on salt?

            Seriously?

            Every restaurant I’ve ever been in has a salt shaker on every table, or those little packets and I’ve yet to see a limit per person sign near it.
            Also there are these supermarket things that not only let you buy as much salt as you want, but have iodised, kosher and seas-salt varieties; not to mention salted crisps which are always labelled Regular flavoured.
            As for cigarettes you are free to smoke them on your own property, in open public spaces and as you drive your vehicle – I’m not allowed to indulge in my vice, drinking alcohol, in two of those areas.

            If we had the forcible resignation policy in place as you advocate then as you clearly overstated your case you need to resign from commenting here

          • 1:There has been a steady onslaught of pressure to enact laws governing our salt intake.
            2: If I were a smoker, I could not light up a cigarette whilst cooking a hot dog over an open fire in any of our city parks.
            3; We have federal laws pertaining to the size of the cans and other containers in which food is marketed.
            4: We have federal statutes regarding the labelling of food, pertaining to the nutrients within.
            5: We have federal statutes regarding the amount of Canadian content that is broadcast on the radio, calculated according to a nearly Byzantine formula.
            6: We have federal statutes regarding the languages that may be used by airlines to communicate with their customers.

            We have so many federal regulations heaped upon the automotive industry, that it will cost Canadian consumers roughly $4 billion annually by 2015 just to meet the new safety and emissions standards that have been imposed by our governments, just to have no measurable impact on highway traffic deaths or so-called greenhouse gases, when simple mandates upon civic governments to better co-ordinate traffic lights and yellow light intervals would have a far more profound and immediate impact for a tiny fraction of that $4 billion.
            Thwim- Are you saying that companies like Quinn Pumps, or Bourgault Equipment don’t get tax credits for building their own manufacturing facilties (that’s called a “factory”. I used to work in one)? That would be news to them.
            Over regulation will destroy us.

          • 1: So no laws on salt then?

            2: I’d have thought it tough to eat and smoke at the same time, but hey.

            3: Well most food is sold by volume or weight and shipped in boxes etc which are loaded into containers, a certain amount of standardisation seems pretty reasonable to me.

            4: Yeah that’s so the customer gets what they pay for and if it isn’t as advertised has protection. Weights and measures legislation has been with us since time immemorial because of crooked merchants.

            5: Strange that a country might want to keep itself from being subsumed by another – besides it gave us the MacKenzie brothers, so that’s a plus.

            6: I’ve flown a bit and only heard English and French and as Canada has two official languages that happen to be English and French it makes sense, Did I miss any other languages?

            Greenhouse gases are rising because more people are producing more of them. The lies being circulated by deniers are also preventing real efforts to slow this down and cut the emissions out. It’s tough to insist that nothing has happened to levels when nothing much has been done to reduce the production of gases in the first place.

            As for traffic lights; are you a roads specialist? There is more to traffic pattern and flow management than you might think and it depends hugely on location, time of day, season etc. A lot of “common sense” solutions when implemented actually prove to be worse than you’d think. It’s amazing how many people think other people’s jobs are so easy that anyone can do them

          • No, I can’t make the case that we need new regulations on literally everything we encounter every day. Fortunately, I don’t have to, because it isn’t happening. Loosen the tin-foil on your head man and actually look at what’s going on.

            Your story about the high-speed rail is missing something.. it’s missing the words “Once Upon a Time”, like any other fairy tale designed to scare children. Grow up, and you’ll see that fantasy creatures aren’t so scary after all.. because they don’t exist.

            The biggest problem has nothing to do with the potential tax pool. The biggest problem has to do with how much of that tax pool goes to support private enterprise rather than public works.

            The reason Alberta has the highest per capita tax income and a deficit at the same time is simple. We give a massive chunk of that tax income straight back to the oil industry in the form of tax credits for exploration, drilling, and capital development, which allows them to pay people a lot more than in other provinces, which drives up wages (and prices) across the province, which means we pay more as a dollar amount in taxes, even though the percentage is less. Of course, this also drives out other businesses, who have to compete with the tax-fueled wages the oil industry can offer without any similar sort of tax advantage. And it also drives up prices.. which means that if you *don’t* have one of those higher paying jobs.. you’re royally screwed. Which is part of why we spend as much as we do on social programs.

          • What’s the difference between a tax credit for drilling and capital development and the tax credit for building a factory and developing a new product line? Just as Ford or GM can deduct the costs of designing and purchasing the tooling for even just a mid-cycle model refresh, or the complete rebuilding of a casting facility, an oil company gets to deduct the capital cost of a new drilling rig- $7-25 million- or the construction of lease roads, or the design and construction of a mid-stream processing plant. Plus, the very product that the oil and gas industry pulls out of the ground pays a direct royalty to the province even before they produce any oil or gas. There are no subsidies to the oil and gas industry. Period. Anyone who tells you there is, is a mathematically challenged moron.
            As far as driving out other businesses, that’s a red herring. You want a diverse economy that’s not reliant on the oil and gas industry? Reduce taxes. It’s that simple. Large businesses will be more prone to setting up an operation where there is a low tax environment. Small business creation is enhanced by minimal regulation and low taxes. You will not find a more powerful weapon against poverty and financial inequality than simply getting government the hell out of people’s way.
            Speaking of which, don’t tell me we’re not over-regulated when my city has put in place a city bylaw restricting people from smoking a cigarette while they cook a hot dog over an open fire in our city parks, We could not get a business occupancy permit until we had put a stupid back-up beeper on our forklift, and could prove that at least one of our staff had a first aid certificate. There are statutes regarding the automatic door locks on my pick-up truck, along with statutes regarding how I am warned that one of the multitude of head and tail lamps is not working. I may be forced to soon use a fuel that is known to damage fuel pumps and related fuel (and emissions) hardware, potentially leaving me with a non-functioning automobile that does not yet have 200,000 km on it. It goes on and on.
            And yes, that high speed rail link will likely get built with your and my money. It’s the white elephant that won’t die.

          • You’ve already shown you have no clue what you’re talking about when you talk about new regulations on everything every day. That you continue to demonstrate it shouldn’t be surprising.

            But fine, to attempt to educate:
            1. Alberta generally doesn’t give tax credits on building new factories, so that blows that whole line of argument out of the water right there. Never mind tax incentives of those kind for smaller businesses. Compare apples to apples.

            2. That royalty is for the products belonging to the people of Alberta. You can argue whether they should be paying for it or not as it’s just in the ground before they come along, but the fact is that *every* society has chosen to put royalties on resource revenue.. and Alberta has among the lowest royalty rates globally, especially when you consider our stability.

            3. A lower tax rate means a more diversified economy? Really? Alberta already has the lowest corporate tax rate across the nation, and is among the lowest in regulation as well. Yet here we are. So come on, explain how this fits your theory, I’m quite interested.. mostly in the logical pretzels and fantasy world you’ll try to cite to explain it, but it should be good for a laugh anyway.

            4. A more powerful weapon against financial inequity is getting out of the people’s way? Really? Try taking an actual look at history. Any time when government hasn’t been directly stepping in and moderating capitalism are times of brutal oppression and violence because of the massive inequality it promotes and how it forces those who are disadvantaged to turn to crime to survive. Trickle down is a reality only in the very long term. In the short term, it makes life Hobbesian and tends to lead to greater direct oppression by government as a reaction.

            5. Your anecdote is lovely. And if the plural of anecdote was data, you might have a point. Since it’s not, you’re pointless.

            However, I do like the “I may” story-telling you indulge in again. Just seeing you so damned paranoid actually strikes me as funny. It makes me wonder just how tight you’ve got that tinfoil hat screwed on.

        • Too big. Too small. Or just right? Are we going back to the Goldilocks hypothesis again?

      • Who said, I prefer to drive on roads that are paved? Gosh I think it was Amanda (Alice Kramden) Lang!! Sorry I brought it up.

    • absolutely, I am a fiscal conservative – we need to spend less and cut fat that is not needed – I believe in a woman’s right to choose (NO male should have a say in that) but being a Conservative I am always painted with the same brush as the nuts that follow the Tea Party or other far right wing leaning parties. Any Gov’t can overspend, because they have an ever filling wallet called the taxpayer. wait til cap/trade, its gonna hurt us bad, but the politicians will love the cash flow – and my monies on no environmental issues are supported by cap/trade, just general revenues.

      • You’re a fiscal conservative yet you support a party that insists on Law and Order policies that go contrary to the empirical evidence and at great costs to the treasury.
        You support a party that believes in screwing up the acquisition process for military hardware so royally just so their friends get the contract.
        You support a party who chose to cut taxes at the time that they new spending would go up due to a recession – I don’t know about you but as a fiscal conservative myself, I don’t spend what I don’t have and if I want something I expect to have to pay for it.
        The modern Conservative is someone who only believes in welfare for themselves and short term financial gain. The modern Conservative will sell out his country for a shiny nickel or a place on the board.

        • “The modern Conservative is someone who only believes in welfare for themselves and short term financial gain. The modern Conservative will sell out his country for a shiny nickel or a place on the board.”
          Thanks for keeping your comment so measured and factual, and avoiding gross, sweeping generalizations and over-simplification.

          • See? Now this is the sort of sarcasm I can go with. You’re pointing out absurdities in what he actually said, not just making crap up and pretending he said it. If you stuck to this more often, you might actually be able to spark some reasonable debate, and who knows, maybe even change a mind or two.

          • What absurdities?? I resemble that remark.
            Notice he didn’t like the summation but it followed quite nicely from the three paragraphs above it. Orson just disagrees reality has nothing to do with it.

          • Generalization fallacy. Your final paragraph has no evidence supporting it. It’s absurd.

          • only for the willfully befuddled

    • Get rid of taxes; back to toll roads, with no regs on standards, AND tear down the stop lights. Why should I have to stop? And I pay taxes for this? Fire Depts too.

    • “We’ve literally reached a point where homosexuality has achieved a sanctity that supersedes that of the basic individual liberties that built our society over the last 1000 years.”

      Do elaborate, because I have no clue what the hell that is supposed to mean.

  9. CONservatism in canada represents the mass manipulation of immigrants, victims of crimes, FN peoples, lower economical status persons, veterans, the aged, the ignorant, the secular, the unions, the education sytem, the environment, the history of Canada, the farmers, the military, the status of women and the list goes on. Jason Kenney is one step step closer to tighening the control on Canadians by his egregious targetting of innocent new arrivals. He isn’t finding their values are “Conservative values” after many ‘discussions with them. He is telling them that to be ‘good Canadians’ they had better line up their ideas with his. It’s disgusting and dishonest to warp the belief system of new Canadians by instilling negative thoughts about other legitimate political options in this country.It’s an abuse of his power as he communicates to them the ‘expectations’ of residency here. The age of innocence in Canada is gone. Whenever I hear these Conservatives speak I look around them to see what they are actually doing instead. It’s a sad state of affairs. With friends like Harper and Kenney we don’t need enemies.

    • like the Libs or NDPQ don’t take advantage of and manipulate immigrants – its what they do. don’t just blame the Conservatives.

  10. I think a strong Liberal leader could get 50 plus percent of the popular vote easily. You would think that after hitting the Harper ceiling of 39 percent… using every deceptive trick in the book…against a weak opposition… they would see that they need a more progressive ideology or leader. I think they’re dreaming if they believe they can pull a majority of Canadians under the same tent as the Reformers.

    • Well, it looks to be all over except for the cartwheels. Your new Liberal leader is…Justin Trudeau. Feel the strength…and inclusiveness. No more comically weak opposition for you guys.

    • you mean like 40% for PM Jean when the right was split. out of the gate 10% goes to the Green and the Bloc – so 90% is split between the CPC, Libs and NDP. so 39% is a majority

      • No; 39% wins a majority of seats – not is a majority – in a FPTP electoral system with multiple parties.

  11. Martin Luther King said it right: “The most dangerous thing in this world is sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. Strict adherence to any ideology falls well within this warning and I find it scary to know that individuals like Mr. Kenney and their close-minded ideology time and time again are the most influential people in political parties.

    • love how the left use the word ideology when speaking of the Conservative’s, but proper way thinking when speaking of the left, like the left has no ideology.

      • I have voted conservative more times than I have voted liberal and I have been voting for 55 years. You have completely missed the point.

  12. Jason Kenney is right and CPC will have a bigger majority next election.

    • That is a possibility, but the only thing that makes it a likely possibility is the larger number of seats in Alberta in the next election. To the extent the map looks the same as it does now, it’s hard not figure they’d be in a bit of trouble keeping the smallest majority in Canadian history.

  13. Mr. Kenney’s deference to John Diefenbaker bely’s his ignorance of the fact that this man was a traitor to the Canadian people. Instead of directing some much needed finances towards the development of the Avro Arrow, a world class aircraft, he ordered the scuttling of the project in favor of the American F-16. Approximately 19,000 highly trained Canadian aerospace engineers and technicians left Canada as a result.

    • “bely’s”? Really?

      • LOL. Just checking to see if anyone would take issue with this blatently obvious faux pas. Are you the resident grammar critic? Or just holding the rest of us to a higher standard? Either way it was my bad. Apologies all around.

  14. define liberal – I consider myself a liberal person, a woman’s right to choose (like any male in any age group should have say in that), equality in hiring practices etc, but vote for the conservative party. were they asked would they vote liberal or are they liberal?

  15. God, every time I head a conservative start talking about what they “believe” it sounds like a teenager droning on about their identity.

    “Well, I’m like mostly goth but I sometimes hang out with the metal heads? And I like volleyball so there’s a little bit of jock in there but I totally avoid cheerleaders. And I don’t smoke pot? So I’m not, you know, a stoner but I don’t judge them that’s their thing.”

    And in anticipation of “Oh yeah, well you LIEberals believe in taxes and communism and killing puppies…” Bertrand Russell said it well:

    “The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.”

    • What a crock.

      • Maybe you could ask someone to explain it to you.

  16. “…And so the question is if your true ideology is conservatism or libertarianism, and you also think you can be an environmentalism person, you may have a conflict there.”

    The paradox of the right-wing cranium: it’s a vacuum, yet it is unable to contain more than one concept at a time.

    • Yes, all people who lean right politically are very stupid. All people who lean left politically are smarter.

      • Why do you continue to waste bandwidth with such self-evident comments?

  17. “But then take this government’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Not just that its current position entirely contradicts its previous position, but that its current position advocates government regulation over a market-based approach. Never mind whether the Conservatives can reconcile their general ideology with environmental concerns, in this case they’ve chosen to reject a policy that fits with their political ideology in favour of responding to environmental concerns with a policy that contradicts their conservatism. Why? Because it allows them to malign Thomas Mulcair.”

    I wholeheartedly disagree. Once you “marketize” the air we breathe out, you’ve institutionalized the legal theft of our right to breathe permanently. While I completely disagree with the current government’s policy of funding anything at all related to “climate change”, it is at least something that the government can stop at anytime, should it regain it’s senses or the population understands the scam that “climate change” is.

    Once you’ve instituted cap-and-trade, you’re still not at all adhering to true capitalism, because you’ve created a government-mandated market. Sure, the rules within that market are captalist, but fundamentally the entire market should not exist in the first place within capitalism, unless such a market were created by private enterprise and funded solely by private sources. As we saw with collapse of the CCX (Chicago Climate Exchange) market, “climate change” is not at all viably fundable through only private sources. They are absolutely free to try again, of course, as is anyone else… but not with MY money.

    To ever dare call cap-and-trade as some kind of capitalism is an absolute insult, or at the very least displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what capitalism truly is. It is an attempt (knowingly or otherwise) to legitimize carbon taxation by skipping the first argument altogether that it is NOT capitalism if government MUST support it.

  18. “But then take this government’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions”

    A 5% cut in emissions since 2005, which is spectacular, doubly so when you recall how GHG emissions skyrocketed under the Liberals.

    • Shhh! You’re not allowed to mention that.

  19. Conservatism basically means I do not want government telling me what my life is all about. Which is classic liberalism from age of enlightenment Unfortunately, stupid liberals of today thinks social engineering and economic justice is the role of the government.

  20. “After a few pleasantries, Mr. Kenney proceeded with 80 seconds of attacks on Justin Trudeau.”
    I suppose he must have had a nice little stream of spittle running out of the corner of his mouth!

  21. Although I agree with writer Aaron Wherry on the fact that Ron Paul’s views on Conservatism cannot be applied in Canada; however, it would mean a great deal to apply the same in United States. Right now, Canadian government is more of a socialist system that uses people’s tax money to help the people of Canada, build infrastructure, provide retirement benefits, health insurance benefits etc. Our government cannot be controlled by private equity organizations and this adds to our political stability.

    However, the same cannot be said for the United States, where the system is more of a free market with even the government being controlled by the influences of major private equity organizations. Although the US government has grown exponentially, it is still being controlled by major organizations; This is where people begin to question the intentions of the US government. There are two alternative routes which the US government can follow: (i) The Obama method to make the US government more socialist by implementing policy changes that protects the people and (ii) The Ron Paul method to cut spending and reduce debt immediately.

    Drawback for Obama method is that it will take him enormous amounts of time and effort to actually get anything done. It would be 50-70 years before US actually starts becoming more of a social economy. Ron Paul’s views also have a major drawback; he would reduce the size of the US government drastically and the government will be overwhelmed by MNE’s and make the US economy a fully capitalistic economy. I think an ideal way to deal with unemployment crisis in the US is to elect Ron Paul for 4 years and Obama for the next term (4 years).

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