Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Blogging for Typing Practice

I've had my eyes peeled for the past week for an item that could provide a decent segue into why I won't be putting up a Blogging For Tories button. Jay Jardine, sign in please. Jay notes a proposal for mandatory voting:
Cue the "principled" Conservative opposition:

Conservative MP Scott Reid panned Harb's idea.

"I used to live in Australia where voting is mandatory, and it doesn't achieve 100% compliance - they get a high rate of voter participation but it's not 100%," Reid said. "And the reason is, unless you're going to have very, very punitive fines, the cost of administering the fines is actually quite high. So, it's a lot easier to say than to execute in practise."

Got that? It's a bad idea because it lacks effectiveness.

There you have it. I accept that no party will ever represent my views as well as I would like, but this is happening way too much. The CPC is presented an opportunity to take a position on an issue which is (A) popular, (B) principled, and (C) right, and they unaccountably decline to seize it, instead taking the position that sounds like it was cooked up by a group of media liaisons.

Mr. Harper, imagine for a moment that you are a goat. Now, please divert your attention briefly from that dead patch of dirt you are currently competing over with the Liberal, NDP, and BQ goats, as well as Joe Clark. Let your gaze drift a few yards to the right. Oooh, what a lovely patch of lush, green grass that is! The stern goatherds will yell at you if you venture over there, but that's OK - the grass over there is much more nourishing, and it might even give you some extra energy to compete with the others over the dirt later!

Don at All Things Canadian posted a couple of weeks ago on a few "politically practical" policy moves the CPC could make to stake out some ground, and start to define exactly what the hell they are. I think they should start even smaller: there are a few positions they could adopt which are supported by the majority of Canadians, are generally "conservative", and are currently espoused by zero major political parties. Like, say:

1) (Stop me if you've heard this one before:) Canadians should be free to spend their own money on their own health care if they like. Don tackles the privately-provided, publicly funded issue, which we are told is less controversial "politically" than totally private parallel health care. The thing is, it's not. There is hardly a Canadian out there who would be glad that they are legally (or practically) prevented from spending there own money on their health if they got sick. Has this poll slipped completely down the memory hole? Note that it says 50% would support private health care options even if it would weaken universal health care. What if it wouldn't - what would the support be then? 80%? 90%?

2) Open up the skies. "Hi, I'm Stephen Harper - we have a big country, and we'd like as many people as possible to see as much of it as possible. We're going to stop pandering to the few thousand people employed by Air Canada in order to allow millions of Canadians the opportunity to travel around more affordably." Of course, this would cost them the votes of all those people who like higher airfares and fewer route choices.

3) Shrink the CRTC by a factor of 10. "Hi, I'm Stephen Harper. My government will continue to support the creation of Canadian programming, but will stop forcing Canadians to watch it if they don't want to. We don't do it with books, we don't do it with movies, and from now on, we're not going to do it with TV." My last two (lower-middle class) neighbourhoods were overrun with legal and illegal satellite dishes. People like choice. I can't be more clear - this policy would be a winner.

4) Just generally portray themselves as believers in slightly less intrusive government. You know, like "We don't like other people telling us what not to eat, so we figure most Canadians feel the same way." Or (and I'm sure there's a more elegant way of putting this), "We fail to see why forcing people to vote who would otherwise choose not to is a compelling objective."

Back to the original issue - I won't be putting up the Blogging for Tories button. I'm not trying to claim neutrality - I have a CPC membership, and there's probably a 90% chance I'll vote for them in the next election. But presently, I refuse to actively support them while they work so hard to appeal to some less-than-1 fraction of the people who voted for them last time. I've decided I fancy myself more of a wonk than a hack, and simply, I want the CPC to keep me and my ilk in the back of their minds, with this caution: this party was obliterated once before because we stood for nothing. It could happen again.


At 5:04 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy New Year's MF

With regards to your second point, the Liberals have been far more assertive than the CPC

- jass

At 10:46 a.m., Blogger Matt said...

So noted - thanks Jass.

You will note, though, that the entire piece you link addresses the issue from the perspective of the industry. Is there a problem I'm missing with the notion of saying further deregulation might be good for air travellers? Because I'm just stumped as to why it is (apparently) politically palatable to pander to Air Canada employees and shareholders, but not the millions of Canadians who might want to buy a plane ticket some day!

At 2:18 p.m., Blogger Rich Hebner said...

"The stern goatherds" !! Killer label! This should definately enter into the blogosphere vernacular.

At 9:58 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it very disturbing that the CPC keeps moving leftward ...desperately trying to be everything to everybody or at least a cheap copy of the Liberal party. Did this party learn nothing from it's Joe Clark days? Have they forgotten why the originally party broke up?
I enjoyed reading your suggestions for the CPC and agree wholeheartedly with them.
"Right in Canada" http://www.xanga.com/kariba

At 7:11 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said it all better than I could, when is Harper a man I have hitherto respected for his published comments, going to wake up?, I didn't vote CPC the last time to get another variation of Liberal.


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