Sometime last week, one of my Facebook friends posted a humorous photo with a text saying that if you vote Conservative you are either a rich bastard or brainwashed.
That was insulting to me who had the misfortune of growing up in the “developed socialism” of the Soviet Union and bound to help build a communist society. We all know how that venture ended.
Having experienced the misery of socialism directly on my own skin, I lean to the center-right side of the political spectrum. Also, having a university education, I know of the great leaders who also thought this way.
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy,” Winston Churchill said.
Margaret Thatcher’s pithy observation was, “the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
So, why did I vote for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada in an advance poll last week? First of all, I voted for the idea of conservatism, for its way of governing my country, and I didn’t pay too much attention to names.
The conservative idea was always about having minimal taxes and letting people make more money through the growth of business. So, consequently, the government gets more tax revenue from these large businesses and keeps the budget balanced as opposed to the tax-and-spend or deficit financing on the other political side.
My view goes for the issue of the economy as a whole. The world economy is struggling. According to World Bank statistics, Unemployment rates are high amongst NATO countries at 11 per cent and interest rates are generally low. I’d say that Canada’s Conservative government getting a surplus this year is certainly an accomplishment!
Ottawa’s latest trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership, opens doors to about 800 million customers with low or no tariffs or fees. With this, Canadian businesses have a huge opportunity to grow, expand, make a difference, create jobs, wealth and export Canadian-made goods.
I also voted Conservative because I see this Conservative government as having a responsible foreign and defense policy for a more secure Canada, even though with pressure from the opposition, the Armed Forces budget numbers are lower than they should be considering a very dangerous situation in the world.
As for those of you still struggling with which side of the political spectrum you’ll support in Monday’s election, an observation from columnist Mike Rosen might help you decide: “Conservatives believe in equal opportunity. Liberals believe in equal outcome.”
The Conservative party wants you to believe that the country is in rough shape and they are the only ones who know how to fix it.
The Liberal party is advocating a strong middle-class and this represents one way of creating a strong economy.
The point to be made is that there are many different ways to develop a country and the Conservative party is making the argument that the only way to do this is with a Conservative ideology.
What exactly is the Conservative ideology?
Based on Harper’s discussions of Canada’s prospects for the future, it seems to be about the strengthening of the forces of the market and the increased security of Canadian culture.
But who is to say that the market will always guide us? There are many pieces of evidence that the market does not always behave as we want it to.
And who is to say that Canadian culture is one that should be defined by a particular ideology or specific type of behavior?
Canadian culture has been a strong suit in the world for a long time. Canada enjoys a reputation for representing diversity and multicultural beliefs.
And what of the market? Is Canada just one big market for the forces of the world to manipulate or do we have our own deterministic attitudes to be respected and moderated by our own government?
Harper’s opposition believes in government influence in the economy. This has proven in the past to be a legitimate option. Many countries flourish with high taxes and government regulations.
Surrounding our future as a country, there is a question in the air of what Canada should become. Canada has in the past decided that we needed to be leader on the world stage; we have achieved that before and perhaps seek it again.
But does strength only come in the form of a blue banner of Conservatism?
The answer is no.
Canadians can be strong regardless of how powerful the market is upon us.
This is the root of the question of Conservatism. For an ideology that professes faith in freedom of the market it leaves little room for freedom of government.
And in a democratic society the freedom of our government has a direct correlation to the freedom of the people.
The Conservative government has set Canada on a path to strength. However, this path has become difficult to follow without abandoning some core beliefs that we share as a people. I believe Canada should become a stronger country but we should be careful to not lose sight of the things we believe in.