Giving O'Toole The Benefit Of The Doubt
September 12th, 2021 | JH
A lot of conservatives are angry with Erin O’Toole. At a glance, it looks like he’s a Liberal disguised as a Conservative with a plan to cuck the party into victory. Many of us seethe at this situation and are loudly switching our votes to Maxime Bernier’s PPC or the Maverick Party.
But consider a few things before being too rash…
Roughly 25% of Canadians are what we would consider conservative in a traditional sense. We want lower taxes, smaller and less intrusive government, a better military, sensible environmental policies, gun rights, balanced budgets and a general social conservatism that puts law and order and respect and tradition at the forefront of social policy. You might not be all these things, but conservatives generally fit into this model.
Most Canadians do not fit into this model.
Most Canadians want the opposite of these things and it’s difficult for many conservative Canadians to understand this. Many conservative Canadians are surrounded by communities that are likewise conservative and feel like the broader government doesn’t reflect their lived reality. This creates a situation in which conservative Canadians feel like their Canada is a different Canada than the official one that is reflected to them by national politics. They think that these establishment political parties are somehow tricking ordinary Canadians into voting against common sense.
Many Conservative supporters also cannot stand Justin Trudeau. They are disgusted by him and his party. I’ll step back and remind these conservatives that the only reason he’s in power is because Canadians voted for him, twice. They wince at this and recognize the issue. I drive it home by explicitly stating that the problem isn’t Justin Trudeau…it’s Canada. Canadian voters are the problem. Justin Trudeau haters have extreme difficulty digesting this fact. They just can’t bring themselves to accept it.
So, when the hardcore conservatives are raging about Erin O’Toole cucking the Conservative party in hopes of winning power, I need to remind them that well,this is Canada and conservatism doesn’t sell. If the CPC is going to win, it’s going to have to present itself as a more moderate party. This means moving to the left….or at least appearing to.
If you want to try to sell the CPC to voters in an unabashed principled conservative manner, then you’ll end up with Stockwell Day in 2000-styled results. You’ll end up with Stephen Harper in 2004-styled results. Harper only won in 2006 and 2008 because he jettisoned his hardline and governed softly and incrementally for five years with minorities. He then won a majority in 2011 after abandoning fiscal conservatism and enjoying Jack Layton splitting the leftist vote for him. After that Harper slowly returned to a more conservative default by balancing the budget and consequently lost in 2015. Andrew Scheer tried to thread the social conservatism needle by offering a neutral perspective, but he too was fiscally conservative and not thoroughly socially liberal and consequently lost yet another election for the CPC.
"Roughly 25% of Canadians are what we would consider conservative in a traditional sense."
Erin O’Toole is just accepting reality. There is no path to victory in Canada with conservatism. By jettisoning fiscal and social conservatism he presents voters with a more pragmatic liberal option. Erin O’Toole is basically Paul Martin 2.0 and that’s about as much as we can hope for in the system we’ve got.
Conservatism always follows behind Liberalism like a shadow. Progressive hegemony is just the way of things right now and with a liberal democratic system, we’re likely to just keep going down this path. It’s the nature of democracy.
The good news for conservatives is that we are living in what will someday likely be viewed as “late-stage democracy” with something better having replaced it, but the bad news is that in the meantime we’re going to have to settle for a lot less than we desire. “A lot less than we desire” could be Erin O’Toole’s campaign slogan, but nevertheless there are silver linings.
Getting rid of Trudeau is one good reason to celebrate an Erin O’Toole victory. Justin Trudeau is definitely a part of the vanguard of woke progressivism and eliminating him from power will be a nice reprieve from the constant advances of this sick ideology. It will also create space for the Liberal party to move back a step or two and perhaps offer more professional and managerial leadership under someone like Mark Carney in the future. Progressivism will still advance in this case, but it will be less insane than what we’ve experienced lately and less insanity on the federal stage would be a welcome change right now. We need a break.
Another good reason for silver linings is that Erin O’Toole is a smart guy and isn’t beholden to principles in order to advance an agenda. Perhaps we’re in for a “hidden agenda” situation in which he baits and switches the general electorate in much the same way that NDP true believers often criticize the Liberals as doing…in other words…campaigning to the left, but governing to the right.
Erin is going to want results and bathing in wokeness isn’t going to provide real results, as Justin Trudeau is now discovering.
It’s interesting that Erin waffled on the gun issue for example. It looks to me like he waffled for the express and sole purpose of playing to the cheap seats in progressive world. By advocating their interests, he stops the criticism from the left. He also promised some kind of review or something which is code for “do nothing” to those of us in the base who are paying attention. He’s playing the game in other words.
The same might be said for his climate change thing. I could see him scrapping everything Trudeau has set up and then initiating some kind of implementation process for his own convoluted climate pitch. There might be some heel dragging, followed by some review processes and then finally a decision to start from scratch with something new. Years might tick by. This is the sort of “gum up the works” tactics that leftists use against conservatives all the time. Maybe O’Toole will be turning the tables and weaponizing process in favour of conservative interests.
Same thing for his fiscal conservatism. He jettisoned the entire thing and consequently nobody has been able to claim that he’s going to cut, cut, cut your services. This was always a trap for Conservatives in elections. We’ve advocated this cynical approach right here at Poletical for a long time. Promise to cut nothingand then…when in power you can quietly freeze budgets and let inflation cut for you. This is especially relevant with something like the CBC.
Conservative supporters want the CBC nuked and salted, but promising to do that is electoral poison. Instead…DON’T promise to do that… and then starve them quietly once you have the power to do so.
In short, maybe O’Toole is simply presenting a Liberal face only to re-install Harper-style incrementalism upon seizing power.
Is this disingenuous to voters? Yes.
Can we trust that he’ll follow through? No.
Should we give him the benefit of the doubt in hopes that it is at least better than what we have now? Yes.
Is it a long-term fix for the country? No.
Could it at least offer a few years reprieve and improvement if it works? Yes.
If hardcore conservatives still want to vote for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party or Jay Hill’s Maverick Party, then go for it. I salute you. But let’s keep our mudslinging away from Erin O’Toole and the Conservative Party for now. They are still the best and biggest hope for eliminating Justin Trudeau from power. I get that replacing Justin Trudeau with a party of cucks isn’t ideal, but let’s at least give them the benefit of the doubt and save our harshest criticism for after the election.
There is so much potential for positive change by destroying Trudeau’s career and turfing the Liberals that it simply can’t be overstated. Turning the firing squad inwards in the last week of the campaign is a recipe for failure.
If you support the Maverick Party, then champion Western interests. If you support the People’s Party, then champion freedom and responsibility. If you support the Conservative Party, then champion “Securing the Future” and replacing Trudeau.
Let’s save the infighting for after the election.
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