Friday, October 10, 2003

Canadian Politics

Stephen Harper and the Canadian Alliance (CA) have it all wrong. They are desperately working on a merger with the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party. The CA is coming full circle.

Sixteen years ago, many in the West left the PC party because it was no longer conservative, and formed the western based Reform Party led by Preston Manning. The Reform party wanted to expand into all of Canada. The party came to the conclusion that it could not win many seats east of Winnipeg if it did not siphon off more conservatives from the PC party. An attempt was made to merge the two parties. The failed attempt ended in the Canadian Alliance. In the last election, the CA failed to make any more significant inroads east of Winnipeg than did the old Reform Party. Now the CA is desperately courting the PC party. The CA wants to morph itself and the PC party into a brand new "Conservative Party." That's the full circle I mentioned earlier.

This is a big mistake. The CA will need to give up all of its remaining socially conservative platforms before the PC party gets into bed with it. A better way would be for the CA to realize it made a huge error when it sought to expand into eastern Canada. It should retrench in Western Canada. (It could even take back its old name Reform.) It should pour all its money and energy into winning as many seats as possible in the West leaving the Liberal and PCs to fight over Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Possibly the next government, likely still Liberal, would be a minority government. Whoever formed the minority government would need the CA desperately. Under those conditions, the CA could finally significantly influence Canadian politics.