The Curran Comment

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Lost Path?

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Find Andrew Coyne`s lament on the death of conservatism in Canada here. It is an interesting piece of writing in political fantasy, as most of the policies of the old Reform / Alliance have either been resoundly rejected by voters or the ideas were best suited for opposition and not government.

“ Think back to the late 1990s, and what the Reform party then stood for. Not just balanced budgets, but balanced budget laws. Referendums—on tax increases, on constitutional amendments, on citizens’ initiatives. Tight controls on spending. A flat tax. Abolition of corporate subsidies, and of their “regional development” dispensaries. Reform of employment insurance, of the Canada Pension Plan, of the CBC. A federation of equal provinces and citizens. An elected Senate. Free votes in Parliament. More power for ordinary MPs. Open nomination races at the riding level, free of interference by the leader’s office. Fixed election dates.“ 

The Conservatives have grown up since their days of the Old Reform. They have found the middle and have shifted the entire political spectrum left.  They have found that opposition is much different than governing. It is easy to promise balanced budgets from opposition, but find the facts do not allow for a hard and fast law against deficits. Many of the Reform ideas that Coyne refers to are policies that effectively shrink the government or reduce the power of the government. Instituting checks and balances into the system should be applauded, but any force that tends to reduce government power/efficacy leads to a weakened federation. In summary, most of these points about the death of conservatism are opposition ideas, not government ideas.

Keynes sums up changing policies as the situation dictates by saying “When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do, sir?”  I think Coyne should do the same.

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Written by currancomment

February 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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One Response

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  1. Good post, and great Keynes quote – you see a lot of the same lamenting down here, about the death of Reagan conservatism (or, even more absurd, is its continued relevance).

    matthewmundy

    February 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm


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