10 Nov They’re not “Tories,” dammit – updated x 2
Tories knock off Bloc in eastern Quebec – Gazette
Tories retake former Nova Scotia stronghold – Globe and Mail
This is likely a losing battle, but could the national press corp please stop calling the Harper Conservatives “Tories?” The Conservative Party of Canada is not simply a renamed Progressive Conservative Party. It was borne of a hostile takeover by the Reform Party, thinly disguised as a merry merger.
Headline writers need short substitutes for party names — Grits, NDP, Bloc, etc. — but that’s no excuse for enshrining Reform spin into every story about national politics.
The Harper Conservatives are trying mightily to convince Canadians that they’ve moved to the center. They’ve done a pretty good job of this, except when the curtain slips (as it did in the Fall 2008 Economic Update) and exposes their plans for the country, should we ever give them a majority.
Aiding and abetting a national party’s branding strategy is not in the press gallery’s job description.
I’m curious to know how Tories — real ones, adherents of the Progressive Conservative Party that still exists provincially though not federally — feel about this.
Suggestions for a proper Conservative Party nickname welcome.
[UPDATE] Real Tory, loyal foot soldier, and premier-to-be-maybe Rob Batherson is ready with a smackdown:
Parker, Parker, Parker…
Throughout Canada’s history, Canada’s Conservative Party has taken on many different labels – Liberal Conservative, Conservative, Unionist, National Government, Progressive Conservative and Conservative. Part of that Conservative tradition has also manifested itself in parties such as Social Credit, Reform and Canadian Alliance (particularly in Western Canada). I recommend Bob Plamondon’s book Blue Thunder for anyone interested in a more detailed history of Canada’s Conservatives.
In 2003, both the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative parties voluntarily and democratically voted in favour of merging the two parties into the Conservative Party of Canada. The leadership selection process for the Conservative Party of Canada was inherited from the Progressive Conservative Party, as were the vast majority of the party’s aims and principles as contained in the Constitution. [*cough* *cough* – Ed.]
As a Progressive Conservative, I feel it is perfectly reasonably and legitimate for the media to describe the federal Conservatives as Tories.
You’re a Tory, Rob, no question. Those guys up there? Not so much.
[UPDATE 2] A Contrarian reader with the nom de post Educhatter disagrees with Rob:
Your post on Party names is contrarianism at its best. Yes, George Grant is rolling in his grave, not to mention old Dief. Might I suggest a 21st century variation for headline writers?
- ADP (Aging Democratic Party)