Conservatives in Canada’s political badlands
When New York Times Editor Sam Tanenhaus wrote his 2008 book, The Death of Conservatism, he described American conservatives as resembling,” the exhumed figures of Pompeii, trapped in postures of frozen flight, clenched in the rigor mortis of a defunct ideology.”
This definition might also apply to Canadian conservatives, but I see ours as dinosaurs aimlessly roaming the badlands of Alberta.
When politicians aspire to their party’s leadership we would like to think they have some lofty ideal, some profound issue, they would like to pursue on behalf of the public good they allegedly are working for, and which, of course, is paying their salary.
I am though continually disappointed. When Justin Trudeau announced his intention to pursue the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, his first priority was to announce he would pursue the legalization of pot. Everybody likes a good joint once in a while, but I can think of about a half dozen issues of much greater importance. So much for the fearsome visionary stepping up to lead the country onto greater glory.
Now, we have the race of dinosaurs bidding for the leadership of the CPC. It is alleged to be a political party but I see them as a bunch of stray dinosaurs wandering political badlands, and, if they go too far north, they might actually stumble into a tar pit or two. In which case they would have a lot in common Tanenhaus’ “exhumed figures.”
Maxime Bernier has just announced his candidacy. So too has Michael Chong. Bernier wants to privatize Canada’s airports. DeChong wants to privatize the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC).
By announcing that these privatizations are at the top of their agenda, they are not so much sending a message to the public as the neoliberal corporatocracy that is running things these days. They are making a declaration they want their turn to be custodians of the servant state, paid to serve the public good, but their first allegiance will be to the corporatocracy.
Privatization is, of course, one of the mantras of the globalized neoliberal free market economy that has been stealing public assets for decades in country after country.
Another mantra of neoliberalism is: Privatize wealth and socialize debt. This explains why the 1% hogs most of the world’s wealth and manufactures endless poverty for the 99%.
One of the most monumental myths of our time is that the private sector does things more efficiently and effectively than the public sector. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we have seen with the Wall Street bailout of 2008 and the present plight of the Canadian media as it sinks below the waves as a result of greed and mismanagement. In both cases, they come cap-in-hand to their respective governments to bail them out.
Besides underwriting private sector disasters government is expected to practice permanent austerity, as well as cough up public assets to generate greater private profits.
Unfortunately, for these two candidates, the jig is up for them, as well as a whole lot of other politicians. The world is awakening to the fact that the neoliberal free market economy is ultimately a disaster for all. Change must come and come soon. Governments must get back to actually governing, regulating and doing what they are mandated to do: Lead!
Bernier and Chong might want to escape the political badlands, join the real world, be a little more progressive and come to cherish what it really is to be a conservative.