Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tory, Tory, Tory

The implications are faint for us in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States. However, the Conservatives sort of won in Canada's election yesterday. They have the right to form a minority government, which is a real victory in a parliamentary system.

Right here, we can be like the Boston newspapers, hanging out the local angle like its critical. Well, there have been bozos and bozoettes here saying in effect, "Boy, oh, boy, just wait until that Harper fellow takes over in Canada. He'll overturn gay marriage. Then they'll do the same in Massachusetts and those other countries! Just wait."

Well, you can wait a long old time for those to happen. But if you are a reactionary, sit in your corner with your Christmas pie.

It is true that Stephen Harper played the anti-SSM card early in the election campaign. Then he backed off and let a few of his more vocal Tory candidates do that for him. He stayed away from SSM and abortion issues, which would have cost him votes in the socially liberal nation. He used those issues, as the conservative Conservatives knew that he personally was against SSM and abortion. So he got a lot of their votes.

Back to this planet, we find that:
  • Liberals in Canada aren't that liberal. They are left, but in the style of Oregon or Washington Democrats.
  • Out of 308 House of Common seats, the Tories have 124.
  • The Liberals have 103, Block Québécois (BQ) 51 and New Democrats (NDP) 29.
  • Of the popular vote, Tories got 36%, Liberals 30%, NDP 17% and BQ 10%.
So, the short of it is that the Tories are back on top after 12 years, but they'll have to cobble together a government with members of the three left-tilting parties. They'll have a good chance of passing only legislation that everyone agrees serves the voters. Also, in the parliamentary system, Harper will have to compromise enough to keep his support or it's off to another election.

He'd be an ass to try to touch abortion or SSM. Meanwhile, he has a tankard full of promises to fulfill. He can work on:
  • A new, huge, government financed child-care for all under six.
  • Middle-class and senior tax rollbacks.
  • A handgun ban (the holiday murder of a teen girl in Toronto was a big boost for Tories).
  • Lower sales taxes.
  • Mandatory prison for drug dealers.
  • The economy, the economy, the economy.
Harper is an economist and he promised first of all to better the national economy.

As for social issues, as the Washington Post put it, Tories "have in the past championed such positions as outlawing abortion and banning gay marriage, views that polls show are inconsistent with the more tolerant tilt of Canadians." So, Harper gets to play the moralist but not panic the freedom-loving majority.

Harper would have to attack and gut the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to go after same-sex marriage. He's not going to try. In fact even before the election, he set up his excuse, saying that there are too many liberal judges and civil servants to let his do what he wants.

He gets it both ways. Would you buy a used Canada from this man?


Anonymous said...

Canadians are supportive of gay rights but are against same-sex marriage.

More pro-marriage candidates were elected in 2006 than in 2004; and if the House had a free vote last summer, the bill to enact SSM would have been defeated by the MPs elected in 2004.

In the new House, a free vote on whether or not to correct the abolish of the traditional definition of marriage would probably have enough support from a cross-section of the MPs in the different parties.

massmarrier said...

That's an interesting and possible set of surmises. Of course with the courts in one province after another agreeing that SSM is lawful and in fact required by the Charter, that would be irrelevant, much as here in Massachusetts.

Anonymous said...

the courts in one province after another agreeing that SSM is lawful and in fact required by the Charter

Please cite from the provincial court opinion(s) that required SSM. If you have made an error, that's no biggie. Maybe just correct it with a clarification.

massmarrier said...

We're not going to get drawn into a hair-splitting contest and debating minutiae. Nor shall we spend hours re-anlayzing the various court decisions and legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the provinces. You are welcome to do so and publish your interpretations on your blog.

Consider the abstract that at latest count, eight provinces and one territory legalized SSM before the Commons vote. Foolish consistencies aside, Harper and the Tories would have to do much more than a single vote. The other key aspect is that the Charter stands between him and reversing this right.

Cynics say he was just jerking the right-wingers around, knowing he could and would never deliver. That position is increasingly credible.