Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Impending end to corrupt Liberal rule

The London Free Press,
January 17, 2006,
By Rory Leishman

It’s been a long time in coming, but the good sense of the Canadian people seems about to prevail in federal politics, by kicking the corrupt Liberals out of office.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien got this lamentable era of Liberal corruption underway, by falsely promising during the 1993 federal election that he would get rid of the GST and renegotiate NAFTA. He did neither.

Today, the tables are somewhat reversed. Prime Minister Paul Martin is promising to retain the full weight of the GST, while the Conservative leader Stephen Harper has pledged to cut the hated seven-per-cent levy to six per cent immediately and to five per cent within five years.

Despite a succession of scandals including the misappropriation of $1 billion in grants by Human Resources Development Canada, Chretien twice contrived to lead the federal Liberals to re-election. For a while, it seemed that the Martin Liberals might also survive the Sponsorship scandal involving more than $1 million in illegal kickbacks of government money to the Quebec Liberal Party.

It seems, though, that most Canadians are now thoroughly fed up with Liberal corruption and have been favourably impressed by Harper’s achievement in uniting the right. As a result, the once mighty Liberal Party has plunged so low in the polls that even in Quebec, it now trails the Conservative party as well as the dominant Bloc Quebecois.

In desperation, the Liberals have resorted to an increasingly absurd smear campaign against their Conservative opponents. Martin, the “smearer in chief”, admits that he personally approved the notorious Liberal attack ad that denounced the Conservatives for planning to increase the number of Canadian soldiers stationed in Canadian cities. Keith Martin, the former Conservative MP who is seeking re-election as a pro-abortion and pro-same-sex marriage Liberal in British Columbia, has aptly derided this same Liberal ad as the work of an “idiot.”

Regardless, Martin keeps insisting that Harper has a “scary secret agenda” to curtail abortion on demand and reaffirm in Canadian law the traditional definition of marriage as the voluntary union of one man and one woman. Would that these Liberal charges were true. Harper has repeatedly pledged that his government would introduce no law on abortion and would not use the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to prevent the Supreme Court of Canada from ultimately imposing same-sex marriage on Canadians.

Nonetheless, there are some fundamental differences between the Conservatives and their Liberal and New Democrat opponents, especially on key issues affecting the family. While the Liberals and New Democrats promise billions of dollars in extra funding for state-run day care centres, the Conservatives pledge to introduce a no-strings-attached, child care allowance of $1,200 per year for all children under the age of six. In addition, the Conservatives are promising to eliminate the tax disadvantage for two-parent families in which one parent provides full-time care for their children in the home.

In the last Parliament, every Conservative MP voted for a bill to raise the age of consent for sexual intercourse to 16 from 14, the lowest in the world. The great majority of Liberals and New Democrats opposed the legislation.

Likewise, the parties are divided on the euthanasia issue. Only the Conservative party can be counted upon to uphold the ban on physician-assisted suicide in the criminal code.

Of course, it’s not Parliament, but the appellate courts that have seized the initiative in amending the law on moral issues. Thus, it was not elected legislators, but unelected judges who eliminated protection for pre-born babies in Canadian law, reduced the age of consent for sodomy from 18 to 14 and imposed same-sex marriage. Just four days before Christmas, the Supreme Court of Canada quashed the longstanding ban in the criminal code on the performance of group sex in a public place.

That’s fine with Martin. He has promised to eliminate federal use of the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution that gives Parliament the power to override illegitimate rulings by unelected judges that presume to change, rather than uphold, the law.

Will Harper and his Conservative colleagues finally put an end to 12 years of Liberal corruption and connivance in the judicial abuse of power on Jan. 23? Let us hope so.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Flawed blueprint for Canada's Right

The Interim
January, 2006
By Rory Leishman

There is much shrewd policy advice in Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution, by Tasha Kheiriddin and Adam Daifallah. However, the overall plan of the work is fundamentally flawed: If Stephen Harper and his conservative advisers were to adopt the libertarian policy platform advocated in this book, they would consign the Conservative Party of Canada to political oblivion.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah have been led into error by a misunderstanding of small-c conservatism. They describe it as “a political philosophy loosely based on the ideas of classical liberalism as outlined in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith and more modern thinkers such as Friedrich Hayek. It emphasizes free markets, individual rights over collective rights, limited government, private property rights, and personal responsibility.”

Notably missing from this list is the core attribute of British, Canadian and American conservatism; namely, a due regard for the accumulated wisdom of our ancestors, especially as enshrined in the common law and the traditional principles of Judeo-Christian morality. In this sense, Locke, Smith and Hayek were all conservatives.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah are libertarians masquerading as conservatives. While they allow that: “Conservatives by definition respect tradition,” they have scant respect for the sanctity of human life and the traditional principles of sexual morality that uphold the natural family.

To the contrary, Kheiriddin and Daifallah favour gay marriage and legalized abortion on demand. They write: “Let’s be clear: An overtly socially conservative platform calling for implementing so-con ideas through legislative means – i.e. through laws restricting abortion, outlawing gay marriage, etc. – will not resonate with the majority of Canadian voters. Unlike the United States, we are not a socially conservative, God-fearing nation.”

More’s the pity. We Canadians are also less apt than the people of the United States to esteem the rights of private property, to lobby for lower taxes and to demand frugality in government spending. Should we, therefore, throw our hands up in despair and forever resign ourselves to big-spending, high-taxing, property-despoiling Liberal governments?

Of course not. Kheiriddin and Daifallah admonish conservative Canadians to dig deeper into their pockets to support the Canadian equivalent of think tanks like The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute that have been so successful over the past 25 years in educating the people of the United States about the follies of tradition-bashing liberalism.

Consider The Heritage Foundation, in particular. It describes itself on its website as “a research and educational institute -- a think tank -- whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.” In conformity with these principles, The Heritage Foundation opposes gay marriage, favours laws restricting abortion and promotes abstinence-based, sex education in the public schools.

There is in Canada no exact equivalent to the multipurpose Heritage Foundation. Instead, we have a variety of smaller, specialized think tanks; some like the Fraser Institute and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies that specialize in economic issues and others like the Campaign Life Coalition and REAL Women of Canada that play a vital role in promoting policies based on the fundamental principles of traditional Judeo-Christian morality.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah suppose that the Conservative Party can win power with a libertarian platform that combines economic conservatism with innovative liberal values. That’s a delusion. To rescue the right in Canada, libertarians and social conservatives must cooperate in supporting key policies that can win popular support.

To this end, Harper has promised that a Conservative government would allow a free vote in Parliament on contentious moral issues such as banning at least late-term, partial-birth abortions and reaffirming the traditional definition of marriage as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman. If Harper were to abandon this commitment by endorsing abortion on demand and gay marriage as urged by Kheiriddin and Daifallah, he would destroy the Conservative Party.

President Ronald Reagan put together an enduring coalition of libertarians and conservatives in the United States. Harper and his conservative advisors must do the same in Canada. Otherwise, they can have no hope of breaking the seemingly perpetual rule of the morally corrupt Liberals.