Monday, March 21, 2005

Conservative Party Convention

I watched the thing on CPAC, mostly because the talking heads on CBC Newsworld made it impossible to listen to or understand. CPAC just let the thing unfold. I watched because like a lot of Canadians, I'm pretty desparate for an alternative to voting for the Liberal party. I want another choice. The Alliance party had too much baggage and too many extreme right wing views. Preston Manning was just fine; a substantial man with depth and character who articulated a good vision of the country, but when the party didn't catch on, they thought, "oh, it must be the leader" and they changed Preston out for Stockwell Day. That move cost dearly, because we all thought, 'gee if that's their pick for the Prime Minister of Canada, their judgement is seriously impaired...'. Apparently they thought so too, because the knives came out again, and Stock Day was history. So now they've formed an alliance with the Progressive Conservative party and become the Conservative Party of Canada. The convention was to determine party policies, confirm their leader and issue a party platform that they think Canadians can support this time.

Their list of resolutions was necessary to make sense of the discussions and debates and it wasn't easy to find, so for the average viewer, many of the P- items were just numbers unless they were debated. Not a good move there folks. Maybe a few less pictures of der Fuerhrer and a bit more textual information on the Conservative website - huh?

I've generally considered myself to be a small 'c' conservative, which is to say fiscally conservative and socially liberal. A good example would be the small-c take on abortion: generally neutral/favourable but not covered under medicare unless specifically for medical reasons. "Your body, your business - my money, my business". It was as a small-c conservative that I watched the Montreal convention. So, how well did they do?
  • nobody got killed
  • Harper is still the leader
  • all ridings are still equal
  • they've avoided abortion
  • no serious injuries
Generally, the convention had the atmosphere of a Jehovah's Witness convocation; morally upright, evangelical, earnest and extremely self-conscious. They really tried to hit the right notes, but it was more a childish piano recital than boogie-woogie. They were terribly nervous that one of their right wing shitheads was gonna stand up and destroy the whole apple cart. Aside from Elsie Wayne spouting off about baby killers and Morgenthaler, they sort of steered around the rocks; but the thing about shitheads is they will not shut up. Stay tuned

Stephen Harper still seems to have serious problems. He's still miffed at all the media types and still picking public fights with them. How dumb can you get? He holds meetings with his inner circle and issues the word for the day and they all spout it dutifully. This month the word is "Mr Dithers". When I first heard it I thought it was partially apt, but unkind. Now everytime somebody interviews a conservative, they try desparately to work it into the conversation. It's sort of like listening to a wind up doll - no intelligence, just rote recitation of the "Word of the Day". They do that sort of thing down south in the Excited States too. They wind up all the little dolls and send them out to do media interviews, and no matter the question, they answer with the "Word of the Day". It gets a little annoying after a while. It would be nice to hear conversation and debate without the by rote catechism.