By John Leung
Being a Red Tory is like being a contradiction: socially liberal but fiscally conservative. As Canadians, we pride ourselves on being a country that is liberal. We have touted it time and time again as something that sets us apart from our neighbours to the south. But does this mean that a Liberal government should perpetually remain in power? Absolutely not. With the Conservative Party currently completely convinced that American-style neo-Republicanism is the sure-fire way to cure what is ailing Canada today, the former statement may remain true for a long time to come. So what’s a Red Tory to do in a situation like this? For one, it is time for us to retake the reins of the Conservative leadership of this country. Many of the greatest Tory prime ministers of Canada have been Red Tories. Besides, neo-Republicanism may be good, but it is a foreign ideology from the United States.
Canadians pride themselves as being more socially liberal than Americans. Public health care, peacekeeping and multiculturalism are only a few things in a list of many that we’ve prided ourselves upon as being Canadian. These days, same-sex marriage and the decrimin- alization of marijuana can also be added to this list. Even though such policies are a direct reflection of Canadian ambivalence towards the United States, it is still a reflection of the liberal attitudes that Canada prides itself upon, and it is a liberal attitude that is not likely to change any time soon. Forcing a socially conservative agenda on a socially liberal nation is like forcing water to go back upstream. While some parts of the country–like in the Western provinces–are more receptive to a socially conservative agenda, to win power in Canada requires convincing all parts of the country, not just one.
Most Tories who successfully made the case across the country have went on to become prime minister, and almost all of them have been Red Tories, elected on socially liberal platforms. Our founding prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald was a Red Tory. Other party leaders, prime ministers and premiers like Robert Stanfield, John Diefenbaker (the father of the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, a whopping 22 years before Pierre Trudeau came up with the Charter), Bernard Lord of New Brunswick, Jean Charest of Quebec, Bill Davis of Ontario and even Peter Lougheed from here in Alberta were all Red Tories who made good for the country, or their respective provinces.
On the other hand, most Blue Tories have led disasterously: Brian Mulroney, in his nine years as Prime Minister, dragged Canada into not one, but two free trade deals with the U.S., imposed GST, tore the country apart, and, as a final insult, eviscerated the Conservative Party and left it for dead in the 1993 federal election. The Mulroney period only shows that Blue Toryism is simply not the answer for Canada: the electorate gave them two chances, and the Blue Tories blew them both, and almost ended up destroying the federal Conservative Party and ripping the country apart in the process. It is a situation that cannot and should not be allowed to happen again.
So it is time for the Red Tories to drive the Conservative Party again. The writing is on the wall, and there is precious little time before another federal election comes along. If the Conservative Party really wants to take the reins of power from the Liberals, then get the Blue Tories to move over and toss the keys to the Red Tories.