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Conservatism in Canada

Conservatism in Canada

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Conservatism in Canada
    Book Description:

    Conservatism in Canadaexplores the ideological character of contemporary Canadian conservatism, its support in the electorate, its impact on public policies such as immigration and foreign policy, and its articulation at both federal and provincial levels.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6631-3
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
    James Farney and David Rayside
  6. 1 Introduction: The Meanings of Conservatism
    (pp. 3-18)

    A volume of essays about conservatism is risky anywhere, and no less so in Canada. In the contemporary period, the term is applied to very different ideological and policy positions, some of them philosophically contradictory. In this volume we have embraced this variety by seeking out authors with a range of perspectives and substantive interests. Some are interested in conservatism as a set of ideas, others in political parties on the right. Some conceive of conservatism as concerned primarily with limiting the scope of state authority, emphasizing free choice and individualism. Other analyses focus on moral traditionalism or on immigration...

  7. Part One: Philosophical, Attitudinal, and Religious Foundations

    • 2 The Structure and Dynamics of Public Opinion
      (pp. 21-42)

      There are a number of sweeping cross-national and cross-time studies of public opinion. These studies interpret the contours of opinion change somewhat differently, but their findings converge on a central point: public opinion in advanced industrial countries is moving leftward. Unprecedented economic and physical security, rising levels of formal education, and declining religiosity have transformed opinion landscapes right across the advanced industrial world.¹ People are less preoccupied with economics and law and order, turning instead to such post-material considerations as leisure time, free speech, political influence, and urban aesthetics.² People are less tolerant of authority, more tolerant of diversity, and...

    • 3 Canadian Populism in the Era of the United Right
      (pp. 43-58)

      A democratic deficit – which has as its symptoms declining voter turnout, levels of public trust, and general satisfaction with democratic government – has been widespread throughout the developed world since the 1970s. Three conditions are usually seen to underlie this malaise. The first is the reduction in the autonomy of elected governments. Economic globalization limits the autonomy of the state in the economy, especially during times of economic uncertainty. In some settings, the increased role of judicial review can limit the power of governments to act. The sheer complexity of the issues governments face also limits their ability to solve many...

    • 4 The Triumph of Neoliberalism within Partisan Conservatism in Canada
      (pp. 59-76)

      Political parties are spaces of ideological debate and struggle. They tend to represent a range of partially conflicting ideological perspectives. Over the past forty years at least four political and ideological forces have competed to define Canadian conservatism. A market-oriented liberalism has been championed by advocates of free enterprise, small government, and low taxes. A more progressive red toryism has been advanced by those who support socially active government and are willing to tame the free market by allowing social concerns and politics to trump economic logic. There has also been a variety of socially conservative ideological agendas in support...

  8. Part Two: The Conservative Party of Canada

    • 5 Something Blue: The Harper Conservatives as Garrison Party
      (pp. 79-94)

      The organization of the Conservative Party of Canada has inherited traits from both of its predecessor parties, the Progressive Conservatives and Reform/Canadian Alliance. It also has some novel features stemming from the personality of Stephen Harper, the founder and only leader so far of the Conservative Party; his experience with Reform Party and Canadian Alliance populism; and the all-pervasive state of “permanent campaign” that has existed in Canadian federal politics since 2004. The result is a unique configuration of organizational features amounting to a virtual fusion of political party and campaign team. This powerful and effective organizational model helped the...

    • 6 Immigration, Citizenship, and Canada’s New Conservative Party
      (pp. 95-119)

      Since its inception in 2003, and particularly since forming government in 2006, the Conservative Party has made a concerted effort to draw support from new Canadians. Its aggressive courting of the “ethnic vote” stands in marked contrast to positions taken by its predecessors, the Reform Party and Canadian Alliance. Unlike conservative parties in Europe, the United States, and Australia, Canada’s new Conservatives have supported the maintenance of a relatively expansive program of mass immigration. They have also abandoned their predecessors’ rejection of multiculturalism and, under the current minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, implemented an aggressive ethnic “outreach”...

    • 7 Fiscal Frugality and Party Politics
      (pp. 120-138)

      Here we compare fiscal policy in Canada and the United States, posing three questions. First, is there a conservative belief system that values balanced budgets as the hallmark of good government in these two countries? Second, are political parties on the right more sympathetic to balanced budgets, and does their policy record while in government reflect that?¹ Third, if there are differences in the fiscal records over time, can they be explained primarily by differences in which party has been in control of government, by the principles guiding parties of the right, or by the circumstances in which each government...

    • 8 A Conservative Foreign Policy? Canada and Australia Compared
      (pp. 139-164)

      Soon after the 2 May 2011 general election in which the Conservatives secured a majority, Stephen Harper articulated his government’s approach to foreign policy. Speaking to the Conservative Party’s 2011 convention on 13 June, Harper asserted that, unlike his predecessors, his government was intent on pursuing Canada’s national interests. Its purpose “is no longer just to go along and get along with everyone else’s agenda. It is no longer to please every dictator with a vote at the United Nations.” Rather, “we know where our interests lie, and who our friends are. And we take strong, principled positions in our...

    • 9 Women, Feminism, and the Harper Conservatives
      (pp. 165-183)

      The Harper Conservative Party has a complex relationship with women. Feminists are wary of the party and its leader and concerned about hard-won equality rights during a Conservative majority government. This transformed party has been able to secure its governing status whilst maintaining what is, on the whole, a markedly anti-feminist position on women’s issues. And yet the party has to pay some heed to a persistent gap between the proportion of women and men supporting it. It has increased, modestly, the proportion of female candidates it presents to the electorate. It has also proposed and enacted policy that party...

    • 10 The Relationship between the Conservative Party of Canada and Evangelicals and Social Conservatives
      (pp. 184-206)

      The relationship between the post-2003 Conservative Party of Canada and socially conservative evangelical Christians has attracted significant interest in scholarly and other circles. Scholars have long noted the intertwining of religion, social conservatism, and other elements in the earlier Reform Party and its successor, the Canadian Alliance.² Studies of recent elections, while not always in full agreement, find a strong preference among evangelicals for the Conservative party.³ In general, and unlike the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties, Reform/Alliance and the post-2003 Conservatives have demonstrated both a clear affinity with these groups and an understanding of how to cultivate and apparently...

  9. Part Three: Provincial Conservatism

    • 11 Provincial Conservatism
      (pp. 209-230)

      Tory conservatism with its emphasis on tradition and contemporary neoconservatism with its emphasis on the free market contrast in their essentials. These two quite different credos have informed the character of provincial Conservative parties, whose ethos has always been more liberal than tory. Tory conservatism, however, has been a distinctive touch in these parties’ outlooks and it has been more influential in some parts of the country than in others.¹ Tories see individuals as members of communities, while neoconservatives, like classical liberals, see communities as associations of individuals. Tories recognize groups, their status, rights, and obligations. Conservative leader Joe Clark...

    • 12 American Protestantism and the Roots of “Populist Conservatism” in Alberta
      (pp. 231-248)

      Seymour Martin Lipset argued that the distinct religious histories of Canada and the United States have helped to shape the unique political values of each country.¹ America, following its revolutionary break from Britain, embraced a congregational and voluntary style of Protestantism that encouraged a participatory and egalitarian populist spirit prone to protest when encountering traditional hierarchy. Canada resisted revolution and thus maintained strong links with Old World churches and their hierarchical structures that encouraged deference to traditional sources of authority among adherents. Surely this is an oversimplification but, within this chapter, I want to build slightly on the general dichotomy...

    • 13 Albertans’ Conservative Beliefs
      (pp. 249-267)

      When a Calgary voter told the CBC during a 2009 by-election, “I’ve been a Conservative all my life like any normal Albertan,” she was reflecting one fact about the province’s political history and one widespread understanding of its strong political culture.¹ Alberta is unique among Canadian provinces in the comparative absence of a competitive party system and the continuity of a right-wing hold on government.² Many observers attribute this to the popular hold of beliefs associated with conservatism. Jared Wesley, for example, points to the central role of successful parties in emphasizing such values as individualism and populism, building on...

    • 14 Moral Conservatism and Ontario Party Politics
      (pp. 268-292)

      On the morning of 20 April 2010, veteran anti-gay evangelical crusader Charles McVety issued a press release denouncing a new Ontario “healthy sexuality” curriculum and calling for protest against it. One day later, the Conservative Party’s leadership used the issue to attack the Liberal government. A year and a half later, during the 2011 provincial election, Conservatives distributed literature attacking the Liberal government for supporting what were characterized as alarmingly confusing sex education messages to young children. This was not supposed to happen. Moral conservatism had seemed to be a declining force in provincial Ontario politics, and even during periods...

    • 15 The Blue Electorate in Quebec and Support for the ADQ and the CPC
      (pp. 293-316)

      The province of Quebec has seen a number of successful right-leaning political parties in its past.¹ The Conservative Party dominated Quebec’s provincial electoral scene for most of the first thirty years of the Canadian Confederation. The provincial Conservatives returned to power in 1936 under the banner of the Union Nationale and the leadership of Maurice Duplessis, who remained premier until his death in 1959, with only a short Liberal interruption between 1939 and 1944. At the federal level, Quebec’s provincial wing of the Social Credit Party won a sizeable number of seats during the 1960s and 1970s under the leadership...

    • 16 Epitaph for a Conservative Insurgency in Quebec: The Rise and Fall – and Rise and Fall – of the Action démocratique du Québec, 1994–2008
      (pp. 317-338)

      Since 1970, provincial elections in Quebec have largely been contests between two major party coalitions: the nationalist and left-leaning Parti Québécois (PQ), on the one hand, and the federalist, business oriented Parti libéral du Québec (PLQ) on the other. During this time, conservative voters in the province were generally compelled to cast their ballots at election time for one or the other of these major parties, depending on their own predispositions towards sovereignty and the constitutional status quo. Voters who rejected the Manichean constitutional debate between sovereignty and the status quo, or who called for the restoration of traditional morality...

    • 17 Conclusion: The Distinctive Evolution of Canadian Conservatism
      (pp. 339-352)

      Is there a distinctively Canadian hue to conservatism, either in the multiple ideas associated with the term or their take-up by political parties? And, in this diverse and decentralized federal system, are we able to see any similarities across regions in the character of conservative politics?

      With lessons drawn from chapters in this book, we reiterate our early argument about the multiple currents associated with Canadian conservatism and the ascendancy of neoliberalism among those currents in the contemporary period. There is a striking similarity to this pattern across the country, evident in both federal and provincial politics. That free market...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 353-360)
  11. Contributors
    (pp. 361-366)
  12. Index
    (pp. 367-379)