Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Canadian right...united while you wait

For the skinny on the Tory leadership convention...visit my friend Colby, who is commenting on the fly as he sits in front of his TV today. Lots of gems like these:

....Man, if I hear one more Conservative talk about the CPR as though he, his own self, had been out there driving the spikes alongside the Chinese navvies, I'm going to lose control of my bowels.

PS.... The Hiebert scheme

I am looking at the convention for a few minutes as they are waiting for the results of the first ballot. I am annoyed by the comments of Senator LeBreton and others to the effect that they have all these voters who would vote for an orangutang as long as it was running for the *Progressive* Conservative party. (Well no, I'm oversimplifying. How they put it was "we have a great brand name, our most holy and sacred party constitution says we have to run in all the ridings, etc.")

I have come up with a scheme, which will probably turn out to be like one of Baldrick's "cunning plans" from Blackadder. It might spur some ideas of your own, though.

It's time, I believe, for the Canadian Alliance to tell the Tories to fish or cut bait.

It's generally thought that Paul Martin will win, and the Liberals will comfortably win, the next Canadian election. So, the Alliance should break the seats into two categories: those where the Tories finished first in the last election and those where the Alliance finished first.

Mr. Harper should then announce that the Alliance will not run in any riding where the Tories came first (amongst the right parties) in 2000. He should say something to the effect of "We're tired of being blamed for splitting the right, we're giving the Tories a free run in the seats the did better in last time."

The Tories won't be able to complain. They will get to run in all 301 ridings, while the Alliance (off the top of my head) will run in roughly half. If the Tories can only win about 10 or fewer seats when they have a clear run in about 120-180 seats with no Alliance candidates, it should demonstrate that they can't come back. The Alliance can then say "Hey, we basically unsplit the right for one election, but nothing happened. This proves that Canadians believe that it's the Tory brand and positions that's messed up, not ours. So, we are going to revert to our plan to run everywhere and allow all Canadians to vote for us if they want to next time."

I know that many people, have suggested that the Alliance run only in the West. However, while this idea shows promise, I wonder whether this will turn the Alliance into a Canadian version of Australia's National Party.

From my limited understanding, the Aussie equivalent of the Tories, John Howard's Liberals, controls the cities and suburbs, while the Nats control the rural areas. My concern with this sort of set up is that the Australian social conservatives living in cities always have to settle for the Liberal who is running in their riding and the rural "socially liberal" conservatives have to settle for the Nats. As a Canadian who has often lived in the "wrong riding" according to this scenario, I am sensitive to this sort of thing.

Perhaps Alliance experts should talk to the Nationals in Australia, and the Bavarian splinter party that supports the Christian Democrats in Germany and get a good perspective on whether being the second place conservative party, on purpose, is all that great. It may indeed be a good idea, but I would like to know how that works out in practice before endorsing it myself.