The Canadian Press reports that “at the 2008 Conservative Convention
the party brass made every attempt to keep the grassroots from rocking
the policy boat, including a very public admonition from Harper that
pragmatism - not ideology - must guide the government in these
difficult economic times.'
“(D)elegates were urged to take a
more practical view of policy-making” and that they “...seemed to
understand the need to put some conservative reforms on the back
You have to feel some sympathy for our Prime Minister
struggling to rid himself of the albatross of Conservative policies and
so-called reforms. The poor fellow, forced to admonish his own party
faithful to be pragmatic and shuck their right-wing ideology (at least
temporarily). How embarrassing!
The PM, unlike, many members of
the Conservative Party, understands that his government does not have
the political mandate (37% of the vote) to foist right-of-centre
legislation and programs on the Canadian public. He is also shrewd
enough to realize that policies based on conservative ideology are in
his words “...unrealistic...in dealing with the complex economic
challenges that face us.” This is a truly startling admission to come
from the mouth of the #1 conservative in the country.
Harper promised to examine all resolutions at the convention it was
made clear that his government is under no obligation to adopt them.
This prompted former Reform leader and party stalwart, Preston Manning
to quip, “Don't ask people for their input if you aren't going to use
it, because that just reinforces their cynicism about the system.”
embittered, cynical Manning and his fellow Reformers thought that by
foisting themselves on the PC party and adopting the label
“Conservatives” that their far-right notions and fantasies would gain a
cloak of respectability. Not so, the Canadian public is not fooled.
and the more moderate members of his party realize that they must nudge
their party left, at minimum to the political centre, to credibly
govern the country and have any hope of eventually forming a majority