Monday, October 2, 2023

The Conservative Party’s moderate-centres have disappeared

Frank Graves and Michael Valpy: As in the U.K. and the U.S., ordered populism has polarized Canada into two incommensurable camps

This is not unique to Canada. It’s a new feature of western democracy. You can hear it in post-Brexit England (“Take back control”), in Trump America (“Make America Great Again”), and now echoing in Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole’s proclamation that, with him at the party helm, the Conservatives will “take back our great country.”

You can hear it in candidate Peter MacKay contrasting his masculinity to the prime minister’s —MacKay likes staying active by playing hockey while Justin Trudeau prefers yoga.

What no one seems to be saying to the members of this new Conservative Party is that Canada may look like a relatively prosperous country from the top and from the outside, but the people who form the party base are the victims of an economy that’s done little for them over the past 30 years—one that’s eroded the security and identity they had in the past and that’s increasingly moved urban housing and a secure retirement out of reach while seeing them fall out of the middle class.

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