In October 2019, we Canadians are slated for a federal election. Those of us on the right have been anticipating this upcoming event with bated breath: half fervent hope and half spine-tingling trepidation. The consensus on the right would seem to be, “Anything other than a return of a Trudeau government.” Seem to be, I say. It’s not quite consensus. There’s nuance.
I don’t mean that anyone on the right wants to see a return of a Trudeau government. Nope! That’s not what I mean! At this point, even the polls are beginning to admit that few on the left want to see a return of a Trudeau government. The right honourable JT has burned almost every bridge he can burn and ticked off almost every identifiable people group he can tick off.
What I mean about the nuance is that some of us on the right believe that most of the change open to us in an October election will be barely any change at all. And we’ll vote for the one option we see as real change, even if it means risking a return of a Trudeau government, rather than put our check mark by any of the other options that are no real change at all, as far as we can tell.
For the years of its history, the nation of Canada has gone back and forth between two options: a Liberal government or a Conservative government. There are other political parties (quite a collection of them, really), and one of them once made it to official opposition status. (Maybe it’s happened more than once; once that I can remember, anyway.) But none has governed. Conservative, Liberals, Liberals, Conservatives (sometimes Progressive Conservatives or Unionists, but, still, the Conservative Party). Back and forth. That’s what our governing political landscape has looked like since its inception.
And I’ve always voted federally for the Conservatives (or whatever the Conservative Party was calling itself that year. For my most conservative option, anyway.) That’s still my plan for October. But this time, I’ll be voting conservative with a small “c.” There’s a party in its infancy that will have my vote this go-round. It’s called the People’s Party of Canada under leader Maxime Bernier. I plan to vote for Mad Max (as he’s affectionately known by supporters) because he looks to me like our one option for real change from a return of a Trudeau government.
I don’t mean that if the PPC, the People’s Party (not to be confused with the People’s Republic–perhaps an unfortunate name choice on Max’s part) doesn’t win, Trudeau’s liberals will. As of last reading, I believe the Conservatives were still polling to win. The problem is that some informed conservatives (I would say “all”) see the official Conservatives (not to be confused with conservatives with a small “c”) as the Liberal-lite party; just one wing of the Lib-Cons. It’s an opinion I’ve been brought around to accepting by all the informed conservatives I’ve been influenced by via the world-wide-web.
I’ve taken to (disrespectfully, I admit) calling Andrew Scheer, the leader of the Conservative Party, Scheer the Sheep or Scheer the Spineless. I’ve been convinced that we’ll see this improvement under a Conservative government: we won’t continue galloping down the same road we’ve been on the past four years, but we won’t see any movement at all. We’ll stay right where we are at present. No damage will be undone. No real progress made. In that case, I see a vote cast for the Conservative Party of Canada as a waste of my vote.
There are certainly informed conservatives who look at our options and recommend the fear-based position of voting CPC (not to be confused with the PPC. Confused yet?) in order to ensure we don’t have a return of a Trudeau government. I can understand this position. After all, isn’t Liberal-lite better than Liberal-fully-loaded-for-bear? Isn’t standing still at our present spot better than continuing galloping down (what we see as) the wrong road in the wrong direction? And I see the sense in the argument. Yes, standing still is better than galloping the wrong direction. Every wilderness-savvy person has heard that it’s better to stand still when lost in the woods and let the searchers reach you than to keep wandering deeper and deeper in the wrong direction. Standing still on the wrong road is better than galloping down it in the wrong direction because you’ll have less distance to recover once you get turned around in the right direction.
But it’s not as good as actually getting turned around and starting to move in the right direction. Informed conservatives from my internet experience are almost unanimous in their agreement that Mad Max at the helm of the country is our only real chance in doing that (for those of us who see the past four-years’ direction as the wrong one).
The only real disagreement is over the vote-splitting. Informed conservatives on the internet who are so desperate to avoid a return of the Trudeau government they will accept a Liberal-lite alternative can get rather testy with those of us who proclaim that we’re risking a vote-split by voting PPC. And I don’t blame them. I fully see the point. The disaster Alberta became under an NDP provincial government largely thanks to a split vote on the right is a cautionary tale for sure!
But then again, life is risk. Anything worth doing requires some risk.
And here’s my thinking on the subject. It’s really the uninformed conservatives who are the problem. Most I’ve talked to IRL haven’t really heard of this Maxime Bernier person, don’t know what the PPC is or what it stands for, don’t know the first thing about Andrew Scheer, know they don’t want a return of a Trudeau government but haven’t bothered getting political beyond that. And I also don’t blame the uninformed. This was my exact position a few short months (years? I can’t remember when my transformation took place) ago. I believe if the uninformed small “c” conservatives became informed small “c” conservatives, they would also recognize that Scheer is not really very conservative or much of anything to be honest other than wishy-washy. That quality he has in abundance (I know we’re supposed to “honour the king” and when Scheer is PM, if ever, I promise I’ll try harder to be more honouring. Right now, we still have some options, so I’ll harder on the “honest” part of “honouring.”).
In my ideal, fairy-tale political world, there needs be no vote split on the right. If we were all informed, we would all agree that Mad Max is our only real hope for conservative change, and we’d vote accordingly. I know, however, that all the uninformed will not magically get informed in the next three, short months. But one by one, those of us who consider ourselves informed small “c” conservatives can work on informing our friends and neighbours. Word of mouth is the only method that will reach those who aren’t hopelessly addicted to the internet like those of us who are informed. (“Hopelessly addicted to the internet” is really what I mean by “informed,” I suppose.)
This little effort isn’t exactly IRL, but this is my attempt at apologetics to explain why I’ll be voting the way I’ll be voting in October. At the end of the day, I have to go with my conscience, and let the chips fall where they may. Besides casting my own vote, the only other real change I can personally work on bringing about is using my voice and informing the uninformed. This is my small effort at it.