Taking issue with Harper Haters
Card playing metaphors aside for a moment, the only card I see when I read Robin Brentnall’s letter to the editor in the Feb. 19 edition of the Compass (Uniting the left) is the joker.
Particularly amusing are Brentnall’s descriptions of the Conservatives. Brentnall discloses up front that he supports the New Democrats. I disclose that I tend to support the party which most successfully promotes and achieves the greatest degree of liberty — the Conservative Party.
Brentnall claims that the “Progressive Conservative” party suffered a “takeover.” The reality is that more than 90 per cent of the PC Party of Canada voted in a nationwide convention for the reunification of Conservatives under a single banner with progressive principles at its very foundation.
Unlike the past practice of Brentnall’s NDP, this convention had equal delegates and didn’t give special status to big union delegates.
Truth is, the Conservative big tent has grown. Support for the party has risen over the four federal elections between 2004 and 2011. From 29.63 per cent to 39 per cent of the votes cast. From four million up to 5.8 million Canadians. These are Canadians from sea to sea to sea who support the Conservatives’ responsible and moderate vision.
I don’t blame them … and unlike Robin Brentnall, I don’t vilify them. They aren’t aliens because they vote Conservative. They aren’t an obstacle for some “united left” to obliterate. They’re a part of a silent but growing consensus. People realize Liberal/NDP doomsday predictions about Stephen Harper made years ago never did materialize.
In 2012-2013 under Stephen Harper, our province got 34 per cent more health care funding than it got the last time the Liberals and NDP put through a budget. Education and social transfers increased by 19 per cent. The average Canadian family pays $3,000 less in taxes each year thanks to Conservative tax relief.
Conservatives protected a land area equivalent to the entire country of Bangladesh in new parks and conservation areas. They introduced Canada’s first effective laws reducing emissions.
We gained far more than we lost, and much of what we lost we didn’t need.
We lost the wasteful, useless and intrusive long gun registry, thanks to Conservatives. When two NDP MPs dared vote as they had promised (to end the registry), they were punished.
We lost duplicated job-killing red tape and delay on projects in our mining and extractive industries. We lost laws that allowed serious convicted criminals walking free while victims saw no justice. We lost costly tariffs on our exports in many countries. The NDP opposed all these changes. The Conservative Party, for all its faults, is no bogeyman. Most people see that now.
Instead of incessantly trying to paralyze parliament and vilify Conservatives, the NDP and Liberals should probably figure out what they stand for. Apparently not much consistently — except they hate Harper. Deep stuff.
In the battle between Conservative vision and Harper Haters, who on earth can trust either opposition party if they only ever really define themselves in the negative?
Michael O’Brien is a native of Buchans. He is currently working in