“One glass of milk is good for you, but two is better, so double-down on Canadian milk”.
Ok, I just made that slogan up. But it fits.
The Conservative Party of Canada will double down on dairy supply management this weekend during its national convention. Just look at the promotional material being handed out by the lobbyists today, courtesy of a friend out East:
Looks like fun – and why not celebrate inflated dairy prices… in an Irish pub? Who needs cheap milk – or beer for that matter… apart from Ontarians of course.
Doug Ford understood the value of lower prices in the food industry with his Buck-a-Beer policy. Bernier gets it, too.
But seriously, a paid booth and a party with the dairy lobby, now? Really? While Rona Ambrose talks about killing supply management on BNN Bloomberg?
Policy that hurts Canadians
I’ve never made a big issue of supply management, but Donald Trump does.
Canada has been booted out of the NAFTA negotiations because the Liberal government is pig-headed about maintaining the market control mechanism.
Inexplicably, the Conservative Party stood by the Liberals and watched punitive tariffs get slapped on a variety of industries. Today, Canada is suffering the consequences.
Local businesses feel the pinch, like an exporter friend of mine from Québec city paying an extra 28% tax. He’s hurting.
Conservatives acting like Liberals – it’s alienating the base
Bernier articulated his own reasons for leaving but here’s a sample of the Festivus-type grievances I’ve been hearing over the past year:
- “The progressive elements are slowly taking control of the Party.”
- “There is no passion.”
- “Scheer compromises on everything – except maintaining abortion and not allowing debate – despite being Catholic.”
- “The Party has submitted to mainstream media dictatorship and banned alternative media out of fear.”
- “The Conservatives talk to ethnic and religious minority groups but not to Canadians as a whole.”
Some of that’s not even true. Everyone I know in the Conservative Party rejects Trudeau’s vision of multiculturalism as national policy.
That said, Andrew Scheer recently celebrated an Islamic holiday in a social media video that could have been made by Justin Trudeau. We’ve seen him wear turbans. Bad optics.
Maxime Bernier proved it ten days ago with his tweets against what he called “Trudeau’s extreme multiculturalism”. The outpouring of support on Twitter – and even in Québec’s Francophone press – was tremendous.
Result: Bernier was promptly reprimanded for saying aloud what everyone was thinking.
They’ve all been shifting Left
Socialists within the NDP are radicalizing the party from within, forcing it evermore to the left, and Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party has been trying to catch up* in an attempt to retain its leftmost militants getting seduced by the NDP.
I firmly reject the characterization of Scheer as a Liberal-lite, but while the Conservative Party of Canada has never really espoused Liberal and NDP policy, it has definitely softened its image. It has lost its fighting spirit, out of the fear it might offend someone.
The CPC has tried to grab some market share from soft Liberals – you know, those Liberals tired of Trudeau’s antics, but wary of joining the Conservatives out of a fear of being labeled as horrible racists.
In the meantime, the Party hasn’t been taking care of its base by providing clear direction on classic issues of the Right. I suppose the Party thought core Conservatives had nowhere to go. It got complacent.
Use this opportunity to make the required changes
To the Party, I say: adapt and do it fast, because your inertia is unbearable.
For example, it took two public demonstrations at Roxham Road* by ordinary citizens for the leader of the Party to show up at the illegal border crossing in Québec.
Party leaders should have been there – physically – before the mob.
Now the guy who had 49% of the vote pissed in your Corn Flakes on your big day, because you wouldn't adapt.
So accept reality and deal with it.
Bernier has left. It’s done. Now is the time to veer right before the card-carrying members – assets more valuable than money – start jumping ship.
Because the next election is not about beating Trudeau, it’s about your base.
There is an appetite in Canada for real conservative values – economic and social values that are explicit and communicated with pride, because they are good values.
Voters will not waste any time. Like in programming, it’s either “zero” or “one”, and nothing in between. The right-leaning voter will make only one choice on the ballot.
Will Maxime Bernier occupy that political space alone? Don't make it so.
* Dear reader: I shamelessly link to my own articles, even if they’re in French. Don’t complain, just use a translating tool.