That’s not change Monte Solberg can believe in


The former Conservative MP and minister in the Harper government considers change and hope and other such nonsense.

Most of the time the promise of big political change is never fulfilled because while people say they want change, they don’t want it to cost them any money, time or discomfort, so good luck with that.

But if we can’t believe in each other, what can we believe in? Monte goes on.

The political change that you can believe in involves mundane things such as paying down debt, keeping a lid on spending, reducing taxes as the tax base expands (especially taxes that hurt investment), properly regulating capital markets, expanding trade, leveraging private sector dollars to invest in infrastructure, building a strong military, building strong police forces and constantly tweaking effective programs while cutting ineffective programs.

Sadly, this is very gradual and not very exciting change, but it is change you can believe in because we know it works.

You could give speeches about this kind of change, but if you did many journalists would run screaming from the room.

Canadians, however, tend to like this kind of change. In fact this is exactly the change they talk about while spending their toonies at Tims. 

Quick quiz. With this column, is Mr. Solberg being:

A) Small-minded and defeatist.
B) Realistic and rational.
C) All of the above.


That’s not change Monte Solberg can believe in

  1. “C.”

  2. Apparently Monte didn’t want change either. He didn’t reoffer, but continues to be a fixture around Ottawa.

    As for believing in change, I guess Americans did, in a big way. As for Canadians believing in Mr. Solberg’s boss, not so much I guess. Another minority.

  3. D None of the above.

    Solberg clearly believes change can only occur if it involves a change to what conservatives believe in.

    • Which is clearly different from your own attitdue, if only from the different side of the aisle, RM. Your commentary always demonstrates your vast openmindedness, as well as the lengths you’ll go to be non-partisan. Spare us your psychoanalysis of the Conservative mind.

      • Which is clearly different from your own attitdue

        No, but I’m not trying to fool anyone into believing otherwise.

  4. B, of course.

    “Most of the time the promise of big political change is never fulfilled because while people say they want change, they don’t want it to cost them any money, time or discomfort, so good luck with that.”

    This is exemplified by the ‘green’ movement. Polls said green issues were top concern in Canada but no one, except for a few true believers, is doing much to save the planet. That’s why Drummond wants incentives on green cars, because they cost slightly more than normal cars and no one is buying them.

    “The political change that you can believe in involves mundane things such as paying down debt, keeping a lid on spending …”

    True. Look at US and UK bailout packages and how they haven’t worked as advertised. Unfortunately, instead of learning a lesson in how stimulus spending doesn’t do much, the pols have decided to double down and do even more public spending.

    • You’re confusing bailout and stimulus packages. Who says the bailouts of the financial sector haven’t worked as planned? There hasn’t been a credit meltdown, that’s something.

      • Not confused. I think the banks were bailed out to stimulate spending. I guess we will never know if they worked as planned or not. I was never convinced a credit meltdown was about to occur and thought Paulson was rather shifty and deceitful.

        • “I think the banks were bailed out to stimulate spending.”


  5. clearly A – weaving his law and order religious fanaticism into it all.

    The Surrey Now (I think) had a poll of what would create the best effects and Cannabis legalization was number one as well as in Obama’s change poll down South.

    Spending cash on cops and military is so old and expensive and unproductive, one must be crazy to support doing it in the 21st century.

    Jails for everyone!

    • Where`s Wells ?

    • Funny, I don’t disagree with his thesis – it basically boils down to “peace, order and good government”, with none of that flashy stuff.

      Too bad he lapses into the same old heartland, “Real Canadians” kind of bull to support his laundry list of rightwing hobby horses.

      • it is the opposite of peace, order and good government to create and maintain laws that 30 percent, let alone 50 to 60 percent of the population do not support. i.e. Prohibition.

        those words p,o and g o are slogans for dictators the world over.

  6. With this post, Aaron is being:

    A) Thoughtful and provocative
    B) Petty, and partisan
    C) All of the above

  7. It’s good to know that some conservatives never change. I find that comforting, kinda like knowing the sun’s gonna come up everyday. Change and hope says Mr S is empty without solid ideas. True, very true. But why is it that because he may not have any new ideas he assumes like so many conservatives that nobody else does either ; or if they do, then they should jolly well know better. Obama is Bush lite he infers, as if that alone is nothing. Even if Obamas main shstick is simply to change the tone much will be accomplished ; but he promises much more, we’ll see.
    I’m struck by the change that you can believe in, is in Mr S’s world, rarely anything other than monetary. Not uninportant, of course. But he says people don’t like to change, it’s so hard. If that rationale had held true in our past any number of things wouldn’t have happened because heck that’s hard, and people don’t want it anyway. Like giving Women and Aboriginals the vote, very unpopular changes in their day. Changes i’m sure Mr S applauds of course.
    I loved Obamas’ response to Hilary’s saying he shouldn’t hold out false hope. Did Kennedy say going to the moon was to hard or unrealistic, was that false hope?
    And what about Gitmo? Where are we going to put all those unconvicted, untried obviously guilty people? We just better keep the locked up, the alternative is so hard.
    A conservative is someone who doesn’t want something to happen for the first time, is a tired old cliche these days. But if that’s all you have to offer in the way of hope and change Mr S, i’ll think i’ll just keep on hoping for change, if it’s all the same to you.

  8. I don’t understand why ‘big political change’ has to equate with immediacy. As a not-thought-out-too-well example, look at recycling. It took a long time, but it’s (hopefully) working. It had nothing to do with debt, trade, infrastructure etc. Just a lot of thought, time and effort. The expectations on BO are so high, it seems a tough row to hoe….even for eight years. But if the groundwork is laid, you never know what the world will look like in a generation.

  9. Solberg wasn’t much of a minister, but he’s a worse columnist. Just because he knows how to use a keyboard, doesn’t make an ex-politician a writer.

    • I particularly liked: ” it ‘s important our hopes on solid ideas. Otherwise our hopes will be quite hopeless.” Who knew!

      • How about “but it is change you can believe in because we know it works.”

        YOU can believe because WE know it works…

        • Yes, and YOU better believe it!

    • He’s better than Wherry.

  10. But look at the state of the two countries. America has fallen a great deal behind in respect for fundamental rights and its world standing that change is far more necessary south of the border than here. As much as Solberg is an idiot, it’s still plausible to want broad change in America and tiny policy adjustments here at home.

  11. From a Monte speech March 30, 2006:

    Governments can be pretty slow and hide-bound. Sometimes, by themselves, they just aren’t very good at getting results. That’s why it makes so much sense for governments to harness the energy and passion of local people in local organizations who put their heart into getting results.

    Maybe he just doesn’t like governments in general. Except for “harnessing” locals…and then taking the credit.

    • “harnessing locals” sounds a bit feudal to me.

      • Tithes . . . we need more tithes. And more yeomen. With pikes.

        • why stop there? How about morris dancers, and troubadours and clowns ,we must have clowns.Send in the clowns, i demand they send in the clowns.

          • I’m sure the Tories can manage clowns. They’ve already perfected the art of teaching the bears to bait the bear-baiters back.

          • I’m glad you brought up bears. I forgot the dancing bears. We must have some of those too. Do you think Monte’s taking notes?

  12. So if the Green Shift had been even more gradual Monte would have liked it?

  13. B … most assuredly and if you are ever in doubt just ask Dion!

  14. Solberg is one of the cons that journalists always seemed to like. It was a fascination that always escaped me. Who’s the current equivalent ? James Moore ?

  15. Monte Solberg was the the original political Blogger which he rightly stopped doing before the 2006 election.
    He has a unique style of writing full of double meaning and play on words etc.
    So if some of you (kc) are having trouble understanding what he is saying just reread and keep this in mind.

    • I reread it. I liked it better the first time.

    • Rightly stopped, or stopped by the Rightly PMSH? There’s a quiz…

  16. B to Aaron’s quiz, and B to John G’s quiz.

    The government of a country is not supposed to be like a circus, where they try crazy new tricks just for the hell of it. They’re supposed to try things that work, not things that make our problems worse.

  17. Why all the focus on Tim’s, an American company?

    A good writer talking about Canadians as a supposed group might have found a Canadian icon to relate ideas to.

  18. B

    The only way change happens is when people decide to change instead of looking to the government to change you!

    Go Harper Go