Back to the Future: Advice for the Conservative Party of Canada

January 2020 – Several months ago when Andrew Scheer was still clinging to the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, I was going to write a piece saying why he should go; namely, that he is a homophobe and that it is no more acceptable to have a homophobe as leader of your party than it is to have a racist.

Scheer’s supporters downplayed his homophobia by saying we should respect his religious beliefs, as if that somehow made his homophobia acceptable. That excuse may have satisfied people in the past, but justifying the exclusion of a large number of Canadians from society by invoking the “good book” doesn’t fly quite as easily as it did a hundred years ago. Countries whose politics are dominated by religion aren’t generally bastions of human rights.

A less than enthusiastic response like Scheer gave when pressed on his current view of gay marriage – that he would uphold the laws of the country – did not inspire confidence among LGBTQ folks and the majority of Canadians who have embraced gays and lesbians in their communities.

So yeah, Scheer had to go. Now the Conservative Party of Canada is set to pick a new leader in June and though I hardly expect members of a Party that finally got around to recognizing gay marriage in 2016 – eleven years after it was the law of the country! – to be open to advice from a trans woman, I’m going to give it to them anyway.

It’s time to go back to the future.

A generation ago we used to have a Conservative Party in this country quite unlike the current one. It stood for human rights, respected scientific research, and did not sacrifice health, safety, and environmental protections to corporate interests. It was a Party that, even if you weren’t a Conservative supporter, you at least didn’t have to fear if it were elected.

Now we have what I call the Republican Lite Party of Canada and a large number of Canadians, having seen the bat shit craziness of their southern Republican counterparts, want them nowhere near power. Even if we are not entirely convinced Canadian conservatives would go that far, it should come as no surprise to the Party that a recent study by Abacus Data revealed many Canadians regard the CPC as “old”, “traditional”, and “closed”.

If the Conservative Party believes its best chance of electoral victory is to court what are euphemistically called “social conservatives” and fanatics so far to the right that most normal people would find them very unpleasant dinner guests – see Ezra Levant and the gang at Rebel Media – I don’t see much of a future for this party. Or at least I hope there’s no future for such a party because it looks kind of ugly to me.

I suspect it looks kind of ugly to the majority of young people also. It appears they weren’t fooled by that Potemkin Village of a climate change plan the Conservatives tried to bamboozle people with in the last election and I don’t think they’re much interested in vilifying LGBTQ folks either.

So Conservatives have a problem and they need to decide. Do they continue being the Republican Lite Party of Canada or is it finally time to return to their roots and become the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada once more.

Do us a favour. Go back to find your future.