I had the pleasure of moderating a debate - actually, more of a discussion - among six candidates for the Conservative Party leadership. Present were Kellie Leitch, Brad Trost, Erin O'Toole, Andrew Scheer, Michael Chong and Maxime Bernier. There is serious talent in the field.
A fresh start begins with a refreshed agenda and here's where conservatives ought to focus their attention in 2016. The role of civil society is too often ignored or undermined by public policy. The expansion of the state in the second half of the 20th century came largely at the expense of civil society. Leviathan grew and civil society contracted.
Exploiting society's most vulnerable citizens, the modus operandi of revenue-generating gambling, is regressive taxation. Gambling is a gateway drug; a city that enables and promotes it violates basic principles of conservatism -- notably, to draw on evidence from other jurisdictions, and to put social problems to heel before they reach metastasis.
The National Citizens Coalition shouldn't be in favour of "mandatory" anything. And certainly the group should oppose, on principle, the idea of forcing Canadians to pay for the Sun News Network whether they like it or not. The NCC chose instead to mimic the Sun News Network's arguments and in doing so it has undermined its credibility.
In the modern world of reporting news before it happens, conservative bloggers are already writing Mitt Romney's political obituary. Conservatism in the USA will face an unprecedented crisis. It is no longer a proud animal; it is a fearful one.
We've lost a professional political class that put respect for the institutions above tactical political advantage. We've lost an understanding that our public servants are individually elected trustees rather than cynical voting-machine-delegates of a party or a constituency. And we've lost a public that expects better of its elected representatives, or for that matter, can articulate their disappointment, beyond cynical canards about the corruption of politicians.