Mika and I are supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada. While we support the government led by Prime Minister Harper, we do not have membership in the Conservative Party of Canada, nor do we donate money to the Party. Neither do we agree with every position taken by the Conservative government, and where instances of wrongdoing are exposed, we think those responsible should suffer the consequences. You may find it odd that a gay couple identifies as conservative, but we see ourselves moderate centre-right politically in our outlook and values. We value personal liberty, religious liberty (freedom of conscience), intellectual freedom, equality of opportunity and the pursuit of happiness. In our opinion, the Conservative Party of Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, currently best represents these values.
I was not always a supporter of the Conservative Party of Canada, and its predecessors, the Progressive Conservative Party, the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance and the Canadian Alliance Party. In my younger days, I was a staunch supporter and card-carrying member of the New Democratic Party (NDP), making monthly donations to the Party. I was attracted to the NDP back in the day when Ed Broadbent was the leader of the federal party and the party, in my opinion, stood up for the common welfare of the ordinary citizen. I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Broadbent in 1983 when I was working as an armed embassy guard at the Swiss Embassy in Ottawa. The Broadbents lived next door, and one day Ed was gracious enough to give me his autograph. When I told him I was working twelve hours a day, seven days a week for $4.25 per hour, he told me I was working too many hours for too little pay, bless him.
I was attracted to the NDP all those years ago because the origins of the Party were rooted in Christian social movements: the Protestant social gospel and the Catholic Antigonish movements. I had embraced Roman Catholicism at the time and took to heart the idea that we should love our neighbour and be our brother’s keeper. At the time, the NDP allowed for freedom of conscience among the membership. I recall at a meeting of the NDP Club at Wilfrid Laurier University (I was a graduate student there briefly in 1987) the local NDP MPP, a devout Roman Catholic, coming to speak and relating to us his decision to oppose the Party’s position on abortion rights, voting against it in the provincial legislature. He was free to do so at the time.
My break with the NDP started when Bob Rae became the leader of the provincial party in 1982. Shortly after becoming the leader, he came to Queen’s University to speak. I went out to hear him and was very unimpressed. To his credit, however, I recall he unequivocally distanced himself and the Party from the Trotskyist and Waffle factions seeking influence in the Party. However, he came across as a champagne socialist, someone so far removed from working-class Canadians’ realities and more concerned with his bourgeois comforts to be taken seriously as the leader of a socialist party.
My first impression of Bob Rae as leader of the provincial NDP was proven correct when he became Premier of Ontario in 1990 in a surprising election outcome. At first, I was cautiously optimistic over the prospect of an NDP government; I never expected the NDP would ever form a government in Ontario. What followed, however, was disgust and disillusion when the NDP government led by Bob Rae imposed draconian legislation, such as employment equity and speech codes for the provincial public service and colleges and universities, respectively. While I support equality of opportunity and condemn discrimination based on race, ethnicity, creed, sex, sexual orientation, etc., the way employment equity was imposed led to job ads for public service jobs that made it clear white men need not apply. The current culture of political correctness that plagues university campuses across Canada is the legacy of the NDP government led by Bob Rae.
I gave up my membership in the NDP and cancelled my monthly donation during Bob Rae’s reign as Premier. Following Ed Broadbent’s retirement as leader of the federal NDP in 1989, there was a series of ineffectual leaders, starting with Audrey McLaughlin. A resurgence and failure of the Waffle faction in the form of the New Politics Initiative (2001-2004); and Jack Layton’s election (whom I regarded as a self-aggrandizing boob) as leader laid to rest any possibility I would ever support the NDP again.
As for the Liberal Party of Canada, while I try to avoid deciding on political affiliation by single issues, it was Liberal intransigence and stupidity over the subject of the rights of Canadian gun owners drove me away permanently. As a hunter and gun owner, I resisted the imposition of the draconian gun laws under Jean Chretien’s leadership. I kept up the fight until the most hated symbol of these laws, the national long-gun registry, was finally repealed by the Conservative government in 2011.
While the national long-gun registry is gone, the problem of political correctness persists. At the very least, however, under Conservative rule, we have seen the recent repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act; the hate speech provision, a poorly written law that led to censorship of thoughts and opinions outside the bounds of the politically correct and stifled intellectual freedom. The repeal of Section 13 is a small but welcome step in the right direction for those who value intellectual freedom and freedom of expression.
The Conservative Party of Canada, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has successfully occupied the centre-right of the political spectrum while governing, and this is what draws our support. Interestingly, before Mika and I bought a home together, he had Stockwell Day as his neighbour in the condominium high rise he resided. I wonder how Stockwell would have felt had he known he had a gay couple for neighbours. Recently, John Baird, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has spoken up (on behalf of the federal government) in defence of gay rights here in Canada and abroad. In doing so, he stood up to social conservatives’ objections, notably REAL Women of Canada, who publicly condemned Baird for his stand. For these reasons, Mika and I approve of the Conservative Party of Canada and will continue to do so as long as this trend continues.
Posted by Geoffrey