Provincial elections in Ontario, not to mention the federal Conservative leadership convention, are just around the corner. For those who are giddy at the prospect of replacing Doug Ford or Erin O’Toole with a genuine conservative, as opposed to another carnival mountebank, I offer the following as a way of talking you down.
From grade school onward, Canadians have been admonished about their civic duty to vote. I’ve always wondered about that, since (as the late P.J. O’Rourke observed) voting for politicians only encourages them. Sociopaths who steal your hard-earned wealth and dictate what you must do, say, and think need no more encouragement. In a healthy society, those who run for office should have a modicum of fear of being run out of it.
After being betrayed (in roughly chronological order) by Monte McNaughton, Patrick Brown, Andrew Scheer, Doug Ford, Jason Kenney, and Erin O’Toole, “small c” conservatives in Canada can be forgiven for thinking that continuing to support their “big c” parties is a little like dropping another loonie into the cup of the self-same drug-addicted mendicant who mugged them last week.
In Canada, there is an already venerable tradition according to which, once in power, both federal and provincial Conservative Party politicians ritually repudiate the social conservatives on whose backs they have ridden to victory. Their argument, self-evidently oxymoronic, is that no one can get elected as a social conservative. The unspoken subtext is that no politician wants to be unloved by the progressive beau monde, which Conservatives court shamelessly, even as their love remains unrequited and politically emasculating. The situation puts one in mind of a famous scene in Chretien de Troye’s twelfth-century romance, The Knight of the Cart, in which Lancelot fights his homicidal enemy with his back turned towards him, so he can keep his gaze fixed on his beloved Guenevere, who has nonetheless been using him cruelly for years.
Had politics in Canada been regulated by something like the Boxing Commission, both the federal and provincial Conservative Parties would have been banned for consistently throwing fights. For the past two years, the Trudeau regime has enjoyed the unwavering support of the federal Conservatives in its jihad against basic civil liberties throughout its eternally renewable COVID “emergency”. Most recently, the federal Conservatives voted unanimously in favour of a Liberal bill to criminalize “conversion therapy”: i.e., any counsel offered by doctors, clergy, or their own parents to gender dysphoric children that seeks to dissuade them from surgical transmutation — conversion, one might say — into the opposite sex, or doesn’t merely reaffirm their own aberrant fantasies. Under the Trudeau Liberals, the Conservatives seem generally embarrassed by their official title of “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”, as if it were little more than a quaint anachronism, and opposition itself were unnecessarily divisive.
In Ontario, the provincial Conservatives were elected primarily on their promise to repeal a radical sex-education curriculum enacted by the previous Liberal government that evangelized the normative joys of the “gay” lifestyle and same-sex “marriage” to primary school children. Within a year of their ascent to power, they reinstated the Liberal curriculum in every edifying particular (including instruction in masturbation and anal intercourse), while adding sex-reassignment, non-binary gender, and self-identified non-binary gender to the smorgasbord of liberating life-choices prepubescent students might consider before they graduate. Last month, the same provincial Conservative government unanimously enacted “anti-racism” legislation that silted up from the fever swamps out of which the 1619 Project and critical race theory first percolated. Notably, the two most despotic provincial COVID regimens, in Alberta and Ontario, have been imposed by Conservative governments. In short, it is an index of their ontological insignificance that whether the Party is in power or out makes not a whit of difference.
Conservatives have always venerated faith, hope, and charity as the highest of the virtues, but should any of them in Canada continue to insist on voting for “big c” Party candidates on the basis of their campaign promises, let the latter first submit to a lie detector test, and thereafter sign a contract in the blood of an unblemished goat. Canadians will continue to support the Party notwithstanding; but the only plausible explanation I’ve heard for doing so is something akin to battered wife syndrome.
Walking away from a dysfunctional relationship is always painful. Don’t despair. At least the candidates running for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party, Derek Sloan’s Ontario Party, and Jim Karahalios’ New Blue Party have yet to “grow” in office. And there is always that burgeoning crop of former Conservatives sitting as independents to consider. Anyone who hasn’t already been ejected from the Conservative caucus probably isn’t one anyways.