People with conservative political beliefs are consistently misrepresented. That has been an idea simmering on the back burner of my mind. Over the Christmas holidays it boiled over. The catalyst was a CBC tweet with a link to a story that read: As conservatives across the country resist efforts to reduce emissions, Island PCs chart a different course. Anyone familiar with the Conservative Party of Canada and all provincial conservative parties, including the PCs in P.E.I., know conservative policies support lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
As this example shows, the greatest political achievement of Liberals, NDP and Green (or those left of centre on the political spectrum) over the last two decades was to cause conservatives (or those right of centre on the political spectrum) to be consistently misrepresented; worst of all, Conservatives allowed it to happen. Whether misogyny, racism, homophobia, bigotry, Islamophobia or the environment, conservatives as a whole have been associated with negative terms such as alt or far-right, science denier, white nationalist and more when discussing these topics. Many political discussions for conservatives in recent decades have revolved around what they do not stand for.
Today, freedom of speech is being stifled in the name of political correctness. As George Carlin said, political correctness is fascism with manners and comes disguised as tolerance. Canadian society will never accept hate and intolerance. Therefore, disagreeing or being offended by a perspective or opinion should never be acceptable grounds to label or personally attack a person, even a conservative.
Any time you have a large number of people associated with an ideology or political party, there will always be a very small percentage that embarrass the entire group. In the last federal election, the Liberals ran a candidate who made anti-Jewish and anti-Israel statements. Does this mean the entire Liberal party, or someone who identifies as or votes Liberal, is anti-Semitic?
So, lets establish that a conservative is not a racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, science denying, homophobic, Bible-thumping bigot.
Now, if that is what a conservative is not; what is a conservative? Writing as a proud conservative I can tell you conservatives:
1) Believe in dignity and equality of all people, including the LGBTQ+ community.
2) Believe the environment is to be protected by each generation for the next.
3) Believe all Canadians should have access to quality health care.
4) Believe in a balance between compassionate social policy and fiscal responsibility that promotes self-reliance.
5) Believe individuals are responsible to provide for themselves, their families and their dependents, while recognizing that government must respond to those who cannot.
6) Believe the purpose of government is to create an environment where initiative is rewarded while security and privacy are protected.
7) Believe individual prosperity is best achieved by the freedom to pursue legitimate interests within a competitive economy; to enjoy the fruits of ones labour to the greatest extent possible; and the right to own property.
8) Believe in the freedom of the individual, including freedom of speech, worship and assembly.
9) Believe Canada should support a well-armed military, honour those who serve, and promote our history and traditions.
10) Believe in a sovereign and united country governed by the Constitution of Canada, its parliamentary institutions, and the rule of law.
If you share many of these beliefs, congratulations you likely lean or are conservative. In recent years, social media, news and popular culture have treated conservatism as a condition worthy of quarantine. But it has been under the above principles Canadian technology, innovation and natural resources have thrived, and, as a result, so too has our economy and standard of living.
I hope this letter leads to a discussion on why Canada needs conservative leadership now more than ever. Based on conversations Ive had with people in my everyday life and from my experiences during the last federal election as a Conservative candidate in Avalon, many lean Conservative in their political beliefs despite voting anything but. With new Conservative Party of Canada leadership and better messaging, 2020 looks to be the year people realize Canada, and in particular Newfoundland and Labrador, needs a conservative-led government.
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