11 May Canada’s Progressive Tories?
The Americanization of British politics continues. First the TV debates, now fixed parliamentary terms. If that’s true, it means that the new government will not be a caretaker before another snap election, but a potential fusion of the Liberal and Tory brands over several years – perhaps the embryo of a whole new center-right party. It feels a little like Canada’s Progressive Tories. [Emphasis added.]
Canada’s Progressive Tories? How is it possible for US* journalists to misperceive Canadian politics so utterly? The Conservative Party of Canada was formed when an ultra-right party persuaded the right wing of a centre-right party to amalgamate,** leaving its time-honored moderate elements to choose between banishment (Joe Clark) and copious servings of humble pie (Peter MacKay). Successive minority governments have forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper, chief architect of this union, to water his wine ever so slightly, though not into anything that could be termed remotely progressive. The one time he thought he could rule as if he had a majority, Harper proposed a sweeping series of far right measures, touching off a Constitutional crisis that led to his full retreat. The measures never became law.
Harper did push through a law fixing the date of Canadian elections in 2006, but broke it (along with oft-repeated promises) less than two years later, when he judged, mistakenly as it turns out, that he could win a majority.
* Sullivan is an British citizen, but his journalistic career has been centered entirely in the US.