On comparing the Conservative Party to Democrats

Some in the Canadian Conservative movement have half-correctly compared our party to the Democrats in the United States. While the philosophy shared between the two parties is as different as it is similar, our predicament can draw a few parallels.

For instance, like the Dems we are perennially without power in our country; our members find their party in the wilderness. We both watch desperately as our good people and good thinkers are shut out the executive (Paul Martin’s appointment of the crypto-loyalist Michaelle Jean), the legislative (we cannot form government without Ontario), and the judiciary (rehearing of Chaoulli supreme court decision, the appointment of Supreme Court judges). Indeed, like the Democrats we are left helpless as our respective visions for our respective countries rest unimplemented.

Fortunately, unlike the Democrats, the new Conservative Party of Canada has a strong philosophical base; for the most part, we have not reverted to chaos in order to determine what we stand for. The party has matured, found its footing and is almost ready for power. While our party may disagree on a couple of social issues, these are not significant hurdles to the actual issues of governance. The Democrats however, find themselves turning hard-left under Chairman Howard Dean while rushing towards the centre with presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. In contrast, Stephen Harper through his leadership has induced moderation and a common direction for the party. However, many on the outside, and those that channel PMO spokesman Scott Reid, still have the belief that Harper harbours undesirable motives. Therefore, the only similarity that can be drawn with the Democrats with this respect is that Conservative Party messaging is impotent; we cannot effectively control the message. Some say that this is a problem with “the mainstream media”.

Now, let’s be realistic. Whether or not our perceived uphill battle against “the media” is true or not, it is how it should be. The media should be hard on us, however, let me qualify by saying that it should be hard on anyone that desires to run this country (Liberal party included). As a Canadian first, and a Conservative second, I would ask nothing less of the fourth estate than adequate scrutiny of anyone who wishes to lead this country. However, the media should be fair. Enter the blogosphere.

Unlike the Democrats, we are winning the blogwars. I often attribute the greater order and dominance of the Canadian Conservative blogosphere to the very fact that our voices are marginalized and that our official party messaging implodes every time Don Martin points out a fault. The Democrats are losing the American struggle for blog dominance for one simple reason. While their messaging is equally troubled and their voices marginalized (yet not to the same degree despite the ‘dominance’ of Fox News), they do not speak with any semblance of unity. For the most part, Canadian Conservative bloggers are focused, organized and thrive in their cohesion.

At the core of their repective problems, the Conservative party and the Democrats are quite different yet similar in the end. While being anti-war could be the most identifiable casus belli of the Democratic party, they lack unity on this issue with John Kerry’s voting for/against the war and Hillary Clinton’s equally polyvalent stance. Comparatively in Canada, no Conservative is ‘pro-Adscam’, however, we fail for the same reason as the Democrats. In the end, the Conservative Party and the Democrats must offer real solutions and positive vision for our respective countries.

If we should lead, our party should look forward. If not, we fill find ourselves mired in regress.

What it’s all about

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a little blog fatigue lately. It happens every once and a while and especially of late as the theme of this blog (politics) is currently in the off-season. I’ll poke around from place to place from Blogging Tories to Nealenews and I’ll glance at topics which currently fail to motivate me to contribute. Topics such as Liberal corruption, the Governor General and the sponsorship scandal just don’t strike me at the moment and they certainly lack motivational power to get me to write in these dog days of summer.

There is a truth to be learned here. If I’m turned off by blogging now, this likely represents the yearly low point in public political interest.

Consider this piece written by Monte Solberg today,

“Sure politics will always be somewhat about strategy, tactics and spinning your message. The public even expects that. But when spin is at the center of everything you do citizens head for the exits, find the nearest Tim’s, and go nose to nose over hockey, and did you hear what Cherry said.”

Monte notes the nation’s general disaffection with politics. The unfortunate mood is a result of the Liberals over-spinning for the sake of power over issues. The Canadian electorate is spun-out.

However, Monte continues,

Look I love hockey and Don Cherry, but being a hockey fan has to come second to being a citizen. Actually being a citizen is what we are paid to do. Citizens get their pay in the form of freedom and democracy, and our obligation is to keep caring about those things even when the government makes us want to quit caring.

You can of course burn off some of that disaffection by saying sarcastic things on a blog. I hear that helps. An even better thing to do though is to catch a vision.

One of the arches on the Peace Tower quotes a great truism from Proverbs, (quote) Where there is no vision, the people will perish (unquote).

The quote sounded familiar.

I blog about politics because I certainly care about the state of this country. I started Blogging Tories because there are others who certainly do as well. But, I blog, first and foremost, because I want to add to the debate that is so thoroughly discouraged, the discussion that is so often met with disdain, and the dialogue that often is met with attempts to discredit. I blog because those that wish to stifle these elements of our democracy are those that rule for themselves, do so at great expense to the people, and do so without vision.

This year, in June, I traveled to Ottawa to interview Monte to kickoff podcasting on Blogging Tories. After the interview was over, as I wandered around Parliament as any other tourist, I noticed an interesting quote etched into stone above a beautiful window of the peace tower at the centre of this nation’s two houses of Parliament. So, I took a picture.

“Where there is no vision, the people will perish” – Click to enlarge

There is a debate brewing in this country and it is not whether or not Stephen Harper can pass as a cowboy in a small leather vest. This debate occurs between people who recognize a neglected healthcare system and wish to improve it, people that see gun violence in Toronto and are asking for a real solution to address it, and people that wish that politicians would make decisions to benefit Canadians instead of their polling numbers.

We debate because we need change. We debate because those that would discourage it have lost their vision. We debate because we’re Conservatives.

Thank you Monte, I think that you’ve cured my blog fatigue. Now, it’s time to cure Canadians from their Liberal-induced political coma.

Put the Tory Transit Calculator on your site!

Attention Blogging Tories! The Conservative Party of Canada has released their transit plan which includes tax relief for users of public transit. The party has created a transit calculator, which I’ve modified below for integration into Blogging Tories member blogs (or for anyone else that’s interested). If you’d like to put the transit calculator in the sidebar (or anywhere else) on your website, please copy and paste the full code below. Please leave the entire code intact as we’d like to encourage others to put this calculator on their sites.

Blogging Tory on CTV News tonight

Andrew at Bound by Gravity is making his network television debut tonight in a story about blogging and the shifting trend from advertising in the MSM to advertising online.

I tried catching him on CTV Newsnet at 10pm but either CTV or my cable company decided to go nuts and start playing commercials halfway through the report. I’ll try again at 11 on the main network.

The report is by Ottawa-based reporter David Akin who is a blogger in his own right. I forwarded Akin some election research that I had done earlier this year. He follows the blogs closely and if CTV ever does its own “Inside the Blogs” feature, I’d expect that he’d host it.

There should also be video available on the CTV website tomorrow so I’ll post it here when it becomes available.

UPDATE: Here is the video (Blogging Tories is shown for a split second, thanks for the thought Andrew)

Congratulations Andrew, you made the Blogging Tories, and the rest of the Canadian blogosphere, proud!