Anyone who signs up with the Liberals (with no membership fee involved) will have the right to take part in policy development, nomination meetings, conventions and future elections of the leader. The Conservatives have gone in the opposite direction to the Liberals with their new $25 membership fee that has to be paid by cheque or credit card. In effect the Conservatives have managed to make themselves more exclusive rather than inclusive. The Liberals have broadened their tent while the Conservatives shrank theirs. Time will tell who made the right move.
Rather than engaging in a robust post-election rebuilding process and seeking to broaden its base, the Conservative party has decided to retreat into their comfort zone of regional grievance politics. Under the leadership of Rona Ambrose, the Conservatives appear to be abandoning any attempt to repair the national coalition that swept them to power in 2006. Indeed, today they look more like the Canadian Alliance of the early 2000s than the governing Conservatives of the last 10 years. The latest and most obvious example of this is the party's recent opposition day motion on the Energy East pipeline.
The Conservative government's approach to countering the Islamic State (ISIS) threat was a three-pillared plan that combined allied military action, alongside direct foreign aid, and support for refugees and the dislocated in the region. In many ways, the plan brought to the last Parliament by the Conservatives was consistent with the Pearsonian worldview that Canada has a duty to take collective action with our friends to advance liberty for others and provide security at home.
The role of the Canadian government in both the short and long term should be to embrace and foster the growth of all parts of our diverse economy. The government should certainly not champion some sectors and demoralize others. Sadly, we have already started to see that approach by the Trudeau government.
That a man like Kevin O'Leary, famous for his nasty turn on the CBC's Dragon's Den TV show, would consider himself a good candidate to lead the Conservatives exposes what the right wing in this country is truly all about. He as leader would at least be an honest admission by the right about their true values.
Sunny ways leadership is about setting priorities and convincing citizens about the need for these priorities to ensure we have a bright future. It is about being honest with people and at times making difficult choices and explaining why you have to make them. Being all things to all people is not sunny ways leadership, nor is simply doubling or adding a zero to the investments of your predecessor. That appears to be the central hallmark of the new government. Spending is already wildly out of control.
I don't fault the New York Times liberal editorial pages celebrating a Liberal victory in Canada. It's their paper and they can print what they want. What got me were the Canadian journalists who rushed to their liberal friends down south with op-eds to complain how awful things were up here under Harper.
There needs to be a concerted effort to confront the rise of prejudice that was encouraged by the Conservatives in their bid for re-election. Although Steven Harper has been defeated, the lingering "permission" given to bigotry needs to be challenged in every workplace and community across Canada. Canadians have never been immune to the corrosive influences of racism and anti-Semitism. At this point in history we are called upon to specifically challenge Islamophobia. The fact is that our Muslim brothers and sisters have been made to feel defensive about their faith and unsure of how their neighbours accept them.
Although the Conservatives find themselves preparing for a shift back into the opposition benches after nearly 10 years, the party didn't incur a loss great enough to warrant a rethinking of its approach to politics. The loss of seats was, in part, a response to Harper -- it was an anti-Harper vote. So, the loss of seats may not be as devastating a signal for the party's ideology or organization as it might first appear. There comes a time for the electorate when [leadership] turnover is necessary.
Restrictive voter identification requirements preventing non-Conservatives from voting were a myth. Rather, voter turnout hit 68.3 per cent, the highest turnout in over two decades. It turns out, when you allow 38 different pieces of identification, people will overwhelmingly use those pieces of ID and just get on with voting.