As they watched the results of the Nova Scotia elections, there were probably more than a few potty trained at the Liberal Party of Canada headquarters in Ottawa. The parallels between his situation and that of his Nova Scotia wing are, after all, hard to avoid. Both were minority governments seeking a majority, and both began their elections with significant advantage in polls over the conservative opposition. As columnist David Johnson wrote last month, “this election appears to be the one for (Iain) Rankin, and his liberals, to lose.”
Well, it did, and convincingly. But while it will be tempting for conservative pundits and politicians to transpose this result into the current federal race and suggest that Justin Trudeau’s decision to call an early election will backfire, I’m not sure that’s really the lesson that residents of Nova Scotia are trying to teach us. After all, the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party is a very different political animal than the one Erin O’Toole is trying to lead to victory.
Nova Scotia PC Leader (and new Prime Minister) Tim Houston said so much in March when members of the Conservative Party of Canada refused to acknowledge the reality of climate change. “It’s a separate party, different leaders, different members, and in some cases obviously different values.”
If anything, the Nova Scotia CPs have more in common with the Trudeau Liberals of 2015 than the O’Toole Conservatives of 2021, given that they won their elections by outflanking their provincial competitors to the left on everything from the change. climate to health care spending.
Its policy platform, which careers A whopping 130 pages, it is a testament to how progressive Nova Scotia’s Conservatives are. The Conservative Party of Canada platformOn the other hand, it’s a reminder of how little you are willing to give up on the specter of the Harper era and the policies that defined it.
O’Toole’s child care plan, for example, revolves around the same combination of tax credits and demand-side incentives that informed the Harper administration’s approach. His absurdly micro-targeted 50 percent refund “for food and non-alcoholic beverages bought for dinner Monday through Wednesday for a month once it’s safe to do so” clearly takes a page from Harper’s approach to winning the election.
The CCP’s platform even includes a promise to appoint a “minister responsible for reducing bureaucracy,” which was a familiar theme to both the former Harper administration and the Kenney government in Alberta, which continues to carry its ideological torch. Ironically, there is more than enough bureaucracy on the Conservative Party of Canada’s own platform to keep said minister busy for years. That’s a created job, at least.
Ironically, this package of promises and policies hardly speaks to the lips of the party’s recent commitment to attack the federal deficit and realign our spending. While there is a vague promise to balance the budget within a decade, the plan’s actual policies, from the month-long GST holiday to a $ 60 billion increase in health care spending and job creation incentives. post-COVID, are even more important. generous than those currently on offer, it would seem much more likely to exploit it further. That’s before a promised overhaul of the income tax code, which would almost certainly result in less revenue for the federal government.
In 2008, this could have been a winning platform. But in 2021, it’s yesterday’s news, especially as Canadians have rebuffed Stephen Harper and Andrew Scheer’s attempt to emulate him. Even climate policy, which some conservatives have tried to imply as a bold step forward, is really just a concession to political reality in Canada that was long overdue.
The federal liberals, regardless of what you think of them, are making big changes on the big issues right now. The NDP is willing to entertain even bigger ones, even if it will never be in a position to accept them. But conservatives, it seems, are content to keep playing small, sprinkling a boutique tax credit here and a specific measure there in hopes of recreating Harper’s winning coalition.
The problem with that strategy is that they are not reading the room they are in. The smallness of his vision does not match the enormity of the challenges we face right now. It does not reflect what we have learned over the past 18 months, which is that governments can and should play a role in helping us solve our biggest problems. And it does not articulate any kind of coherent conservative vision for the future of our country. Instead, he seeks to recreate a family past.
Nova Scotia’s provincial election proves that looking back is not the best way forward for conservatives in Canada, writes @maxfawcett for @NatObserver. # Politics # Election 2021
Nova Scotia’s provincial elections show that looking back is not the best way forward for conservatives in Canada.
Instead, they need to embrace the future with conviction and credibility, and offer Canadians a new set of solutions to their problems rather than trying to recycle old ones. Following the PC’s victory Tuesday night, O’Toole’s spokesman, Mathew Clancy said: “It is clear that Canadians want a change.” But unless federal conservatives start offering the kind of exchange Canadians want, they won’t follow in Tim Houston’s footsteps.