Saturday, September 23, 2023

The Enduring Appeal of Red Toryism

Future of Conservatism Special Series: The Enduring Appeal of Red Toryism

C2C Journal’s name is a deliberate double-play on our central aspirations – to be read from coast to coast and to nurture important conversations between Canada’s conservatives. While we may not always get along perfectly, having just lost an entirely winnable federal election in which the Conservative Party topped the popular vote, now is a critical time to have a wide-ranging and civil debate about the future of conservatism in our beloved country. Ben Woodfinden kicks off C2C’s new special series on this important topic with a thoughtful essay about a Canadian political tradition that enjoyed plenty of success in our past, and deserves to be revived today.

As conservatism is being revived elsewhere by heterodox thinking drawing on older and neglected conservative traditions, Canadian conservatives have an opportunity to do the same. Conservatism is about more than just “freedom” – especially if freedom is defined mainly in terms of social licence and individual re-invention. Conservatism is about a recognition that we are more than mere consumers and taxpayers, we are social and relational beings. With a recent federal election lost, a leadership race soon to begin and the nation’s future uncertain, the time is right for a Red Tory revival. Carpe diem.

Ben Woodfinden is a doctoral student in Political Science at McGill University in Montreal. He has also been published in The American InterestThe National Interest, The American Conservative, Maclean’sReal Clear Policy and The Washington Examiner (@BenWoodfinden).

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