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Conservative Chimera

chi·me·ra also chi·mae·ra  (k-mîr, k-) n.

  1. An organism, organ, or part consisting of two or more tissues of different genetic composition, produced as a result of organ transplant, grafting, or genetic engineering.
  2. A substance, such as an antibody, created from the proteins or genes or two different species.
  3. An individual who has received a transplant of genetically and immunologically different tissue.
  4. A fanciful mental illusion or fabrication.

I’ve been ruminating on Belinda Stronach’s defection all day.  Some of the outcomes are pretty clear:

  1. The Martin government lives another day.
  2. Gomery moves forward.
  3. The Conservative "breakthrough" in Ontario loses momentum.

The Conservatives have spun this as simple ambition.  Ms. Stronach will do anything to further her career, and the Conservative Party didn’t have the room for her to fulfill her ambitions.  To be sure,  there’s an element of that to her decision.  Paul Martin is no spring chicken.  A tasty cabinet posting makes a nice launch pad for a run at the leadership of the Liberal Party, and ultimately Prime Minister.

The Liberal’s spin her decision as a repudiation of the Conservative agenda.  There’s something in that as well.  Stronach has clearly come out on the side of the Liberals on many issues, has made no secret of her support for the budget, and has made it clear that the signal to noise ratio in Parliament is way too low.

For now, the real impact is that the Conservatives are back to being painted as a party of angry white guys from the west – Republican Party North.  And that is the biggest tragedy of all. 

The problem is this — parachuting candidates supporting western issues into Ontario ridings doesn’t magically make those same issues into National issues. Scrappy young Pierre Poilievre, who represents my riding, is a great example of one of these drop-in candidates.  I get regular missives in the mail from him in support of dismantling the gun registry, and opposing same sex marriage.  He claims that this is what his constituents want.  What complete and utter bullshit! I live in Manotick, a wealthy, urban, Ontario riding filled with high tech workers.  By and large, people here don’t care about the gun registry, and don’t think it’s an issue that gay people want to get married.  We would like better government, smarter use of our tax dollars, and policies that encourage entrepreneurship.  We would like health care and the military fixed.  We voted Pierre in just to get the Liberals out.  He won’t last long if he can’t figure that out.

It’s a failure of leadership on Stephen Harper’s part.  Moderate Conservatives have left the party, the redneck wing has taken over, and nobody has their feet on the ground, listening to constituents. 

Whichever of the definitions you choose, the renewal of the Conservative Party truly is a chimera.

As for you Belinda, I admire someone with the guts to figure out what they want, and then go get it.  Run for Prime Minister.  I’ll vote for you, no matter what the party.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Mum May 18, 2005, 10:13 am

    AMEN to that Alec!!!

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