Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Gospel According To John

The MSM usually regarded John Crosbie as something of a buffoon, the goofy Newfie when he was in office.

But when they needed a big name from the Mulroney years to attack Stephen Harper, suddenly he became a respected elder statesman:

A "pessimistic" Crosbie is predicting hard times in the next election for his party, warning that Harper is scaring voters by linking his leadership to the campaign against same-sex marriages while heeding lousy advice from his inner circle.

OK, you're probably saying, so what? Crosbie's a 74-year-old political curiosity, best known as the former Conservative finance minister whose 1979 budget torpedoed Joe Clark's minority government a few lifetimes ago to the average voter.

But Crosbie still commands attention and respect in the reunited Conservative party, where only 15 months ago he was a huge Harper booster who flirted briefly with the bizarre notion of running against Liberal cabinet minister John Efford before his long-suffering spouse vetoed such silliness.

And he's got a well-earned national reputation as the sort of fearless observer who blurts out the hard truths everybody else is thinking but is too timid to say out loud.

John Crosbie's criticism can be boiled down to the same, tired old advice we've been getting from the Toronto media elites: Stephen Harper's too cold, the party has to move to the middle, muzzle the so-cons, etc., etc.

The Conservative Party will never win the affection of the Toronto media elites, even if it became a carbon copy of the Liberal Party.

But we don't need the love and affection of the chattering classes if we go over their heads directly to the people with a vision.

People know that Canada is not living up to its potential, and that we're paying too much tax for too little return.

What's needed is a vision as captivating as Pierre Trudeau's ultimately destructive Just Society was at the time. And that vision has to be a positive one with a coherent conservative message, both fiscally and socially.

The American conservative movement did it. So can we.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"tired old advice...from the Toronto media elites"?

What are you talking about? Those words you quote -- the column with John Crosbie firing bullets at Harper --- was written by Don Martin, a columnist employed by the Calgary Herald who hates the Liberals. He's been dying to find a Conservative leader he can really trumpet ...

And what vision are you talking about? The party holds a policy convention in the spring, passes some great policies and now the Leader and the caucus refuse to put together an election platform based on those policies. Why are they doing that? They says it's because they're worried the Liberals will steal their good ideas.

So, first of all, when Canadians accuse Conservatives of having a hidden agenda they would be, um, absolutely correct. Conservatives are hiding their agenda from the Liberals.

But even more odd, when the Liberals roll out plans for corporate tax cuts this fall, what will Conservatives do? Jump up and down and say "we thought of it first but we didn't want to tell anybody."?

Sheesh. This is not just the gang that couldn't shoot straight. It's the gang that can't shoot. Period.