OTTAWA, ON (April 25, 2022): Our constitutional and political system depends on the existence of a credible Opposition to the government of the day. The leadership campaign underway within the Conservative Party is another chapter in that party’s struggle to become that Opposition, by learning how to be a successful political party while remaining true to its foundational ideas. Since this is inevitably a battle of ideas, such leadership campaigns are a perfect moment for an independent and non-partisan public policy think tank like MLI to inject some of its own ideas into the debate.
In that spirit, MLI today is publishing a collection of essays titled “A Modern Conservatism for a Modern Canada.” In its pages, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley sets out how Canada’s Tories can reinvigorate their ideas and become more competitive on the Canadian political landscape. Only then can they become an effective Opposition offering a real alternative to the government.
This collection starts with a discussion of the meaning of conservatism and the ideas that animate it, particularly conservatives’ deep appreciation and gratitude for what we have inherited: a largely well-functioning society that most of the rest of the world looks on in envy. This is in direct contrast to the left, which sees Canada as a repository of all that is shameful and retrograde, such as racism, genocide and hate, an outdated construct to be “built back better” under the leadership of Ottawa.
There then follows a series of essays dealing with key ideas that might appeal to Tory leadership candidates, Conservative Party members and, most crucially, Canadian voters. Among the topics covered are:
- the constitutional and political responsibilities of the Opposition in our parliamentary system;
- the importance of economic growth and opportunity;
- how to control public spending without frightening voters who believe in the power of government;
- how the world has become a darker and more dangerous place but Ottawa is failing in its duty to keep Canadians safe;
- why the Tories must make real action on climate change a priority;
- why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples should be a Tory battle cry;
- how to reconcile populism and electoral success by emulating the Saskatchewan Party approach;
- why government overreach on COVID offers a teachable moment for Conservatives; and
- the fragility of the rule of law.
“The Conservative leadership campaign now underway is a perfect moment to reflect on the public policy ideas that we have at MLI that might help shape the thinking of both the candidates for the Tory leadership as well as of actual and potential members of the Conservative Party,” writes Crowley.
“This document brings many of those ideas together in one place in the hope that they will inform the debate within the Conservative Party and, ultimately, strengthen our politics by providing better choices to voters at election time.”
To read the full paper, click the button below.
Brian Lee Crowley is the Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. His most recent book is Gardeners vs. Designers: Understanding the Great Fault Line in Canadian Politics.
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