Andrew Coyne, Editor of Maclean’s magazine and self-described socialist:
In the United States, in Britain, in Australia and in other countries around the world, there’s a debate going on about what is the appropriate response to the current recession. And there is on one side those who say, in the good old-fashioned Keynesian religion that suddenly popped up again, that we need to run large fiscal deficits. And there are those on the other side who say: This is probably not terribly advisable, it won’t work, it’s going to cause a lot of problems. Only in Canada is there not any debate on this. What you get instead is all sorts of condescending lectures about the necessity of compromise in politics, you know, half a loaf is better than no loaf.
On policy after policy, the Conservatives have abandoned their convictions, they have discarded their principles, they have at times broken their promises, and even in one infamous case, violated their own law. So it’s an odd definition of compromise that suggests not just half a loaf is better than no loaf, but that no loaf is acceptable.
My complaint is not just that the Conservatives have abandoned conservatism themselves — which is annoying to me mostly because I believe there should be a conservative alternative, even if I don’t necessarily subscribe to it. But they’ve closed off the possibility of anyone else applying it either. They haven’t moved the middle to them, they haven’t even moved to the middle. All they’ve done is shift the spectrum further and further to the left.
The right wing of Canadian politics is now defined by $35-billion deficits, unilateral withdrawals from Afghanistan, the nationhood resolution for Quebec — go down the list. And so whole sections of public policy — privatization, tax cuts, you name it — have been ruled off-limits, because they’re now seen as just unimaginably extreme: Even the Tories wouldn’t do it.