IN CANADA: Conservative -- or conservative?

Posted 1.3.20

SHAWVILLE, QC | So the Conservatives of Canada are about to pick a new leader -- giving us even more exciting and stimulating campaigning! -- The need is obvious, but shouldn't we finish digesting all that we were fed prior to October 21? -- Is what we call democracy just being in a big rush?

But, first, why call themselves "conservatives" with a capital C? A party can call itself anything, and there's a rich history behind this name -- behind the us/them duopoly of"Liberals / Conservatives". -- Later we could wonder why the Liberals call themselves liberal, especially in Québec.

Readers of this column will appreciate that I am not a Conservative, but can you appreciate my puzzlement at their name? I very much favour conserving wetlands, reefs, old-growth, endangered species (all species, actually); I support conserving historical buildings, neighbourhoods, many festivities and traditions. I want to conserve fresh air, clean water, and the unbuilt-upon natural landscape. Shouldn't we conserve threatened languages, cultures, and traditions? -- even our own rich military traditions? -- Old books, paintings, and cultural artifacts? So much to conserve! But not Conserve?

Most Conservatives appear to follow the Chamber of Commerce -- not the Nature Conservancy of Canada. What do the world's biggest corporations need to conserve (besides their profits, trademarks, patents, reputations, etc)? And why should we ordinary citizens be tied to this sort of business conservation? Do many of us have a stake in Google, Facebook, and Apple? The oil companies? Auto manufacturers? Where is our horse in this race, folks?

Surely great Conservative Canadians will exhibit our personal principles? Andrew Sheer, Stephen Harper -- what exactly were their ambitions? How about Doug Ford and his late brother? Jason Kenney, Max Bernier, Stockwell Day -- are their ideals, their example, attracting us to support any brands of conservatism?

Really, my confusion is silly, confusing"conservative" with"conservationist". But why does that confusion even arise? Conservationists are often conservative -- in that they want to protect the best from our past. However, Conservatives are rarely conservationists -- only if the wetlands or bison herds or clean rivers to be conserved are not on a pipeline route. Do all Conservatives own shares in pipelines and the tar sands? Do you?

Somehow, there's a script out there that says nothing will go well in Canada -- from old-forest conservation to military success -- unless the biggest corporations are making money from it. Corporations shouldn't pay taxes -- because they make profits. Correct?

If this reasoning is the hymnbook of Conservatives, is conserving profits really what being a"Conservative" means? We have to conserve our historical shipment of gross profits to the USA in order to assure our own prosperity (and our own ability to"conserve" the other things we value)?

Conserving profits -- but wait a minute! Instead of a new Conservative leader, shouldn't we pick an appropriate, humanity-based set of principles first. Don't Canadians need something that is actually worth"conserving?"


Copyright © 2020 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles 1.3.20