FORSETH – Is there room for yet another party on the federal scene?
IS THERE ROOM … dare it be said … for ANOTHER political party on the federal scene; and essentially, one that would straddle the middle ground between Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative Party of Canada, and the Justin Trudeau Party (JTP) – AKA the Liberal Party of Canada?
All I can say is, “I hope so” because I, for one, am feeling politically homeless.
Since first becoming Prime Minister, when his government was sworn in on November 14, 2015, Trudeau (and numerous Cabinet Ministers) have stumbled from one ethics, and conflict of interest, crisis to another. Just to name a few we have SNV Lavalin … the WE Charity … luxurious holiday vacations … and government contracts to close friends.
Last December Lorrie Goldstein wrote in the Toronto Sun, “… according to the findings of current conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, Mario Dion … Trudeau was spared a third negative finding (in the WE Charity affair) only because the conflict law is so poorly written it doesn’t address a perceived or apparent conflict of interest. Given all this, it’s hardly surprising that other past and present Liberal cabinet ministers such as Bill Morneau, Dominic LeBlanc and most recently Mary Ng, have run afoul of the legislation. They simply followed their leader.”
Now today, in the current issue over interference in Canadian elections by the Chinese government, Trudeaus buddy and long-time family friend David Johnston said, “I have found that the narrative that the government failed to act is not a fair conclusion based on the facts. However, the machinery of government needs significant improvement to address the evolving threat of foreign interference“.
Through it all, and I guarantee it will happen again despite today’s report from Johnston, Trudeau has everything slide right off him, just like Teflon!
And I guarantee you there won’t be squawks from Jagmeet Singh and the NDP, despite the fact that he occasionally puffs up his chest to chastise the JTP, and then hypocritically votes in lockstep with Justin so as to maintain their confidence and supply agreement.
Truth be told … it would be a rainy day in hell before I would, or could, bring myself to cast a ballot for Justin’s Liberals … or the NDP. And as much as some Green Party’s policies interest me, their attacks on resource development and forestry, the mainstay of many rural communities, leave them off my ballot as well.
Over on the far-right side of the political spectrum we have Mad Max and his People Party of Canada (PPC). They’re the ones that are finding(?) government conspiracies under every stone … they believe members of the World Economic Forum are inserting themselves into every level of government … and that COVID was a colossal conspiracy foisted on us by pharmaceutical companies to make huge profits.
They’re the ones who also cheered on the anarchists, within the leadership of truckers convoy, that took over the streets of Ottawa demanding the end to vaccine mandates, and the overthrowing of elected governments to be replaced by their own self-appointed governments. They also blocked border crossings, which created havoc for manufacturers.
The ranks of the PPC are also filled with tin-hat conspiracy theorists and those who have ordained themselves with PhD’s from their research and education of quacks espousing every conceivable idiotic belief found on the University of Google and at YouTube Tech.
Okay … I guess you’ve realized that’s not the direction I’m headed either.
Which leaves … the Conservative Party of Canada under the leadership of Pierre Poilievre.
Sadly, it’s a Conservative Party I no longer recognize as it too has succumbed to embracing some of the same crap as the PPC, and whose leader always seems to be angry and meanspirited in his attacks.
Most Canadians, I believe, just want to go about living life without a lot of sensationalism.
They want to work at their jobs, raise a family, relax and enjoy their time off, and not be subject to over-reaching governments at all levels.
They want to see the monies that governments take in be spent wisely, and to have services provided for those in need.
They want timely medical attention and access to a family doctor.
They want to be treated fairly, and without prejudice, no matter what color their skin is … whether they are male, female, or from the LGBTQ2S community.
They want to be able to walk down a city street, or take public transit, without having to worry about being attacked by someone with mental health issues.
They have no desire to walk past people shooting up, or stoned out of their minds, on city streets.
Most of them, I believe, do not consider themselves to be Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, or Greens … not right of centre, or left of centre, on the political spectrum.
Which is why an email three weeks ago from the Centre Ice Canadians grabbed my attention. In it, Independent New Brunswick MLA Dominic Cardy started by reminding people why their group had come about:
Centre Ice Canadians was founded just over a year ago because we knew there was an appetite for centrist politics in Canada. As politics descends into rage-farming, we heard that Canadians wanted something different. Not extremism, not irresponsible spending, and not hiding from our commitments at home and abroad.
Centre Ice is about doing politics differently. That means making decisions based on evidence. Not emotion, not rhetoric, not what will get people the most excited …
At the end of the email, he concluded with:
Take five minutes to send us an email and tell us whether you think Centre Ice can keep the existing parties honest or is it time for something new? What do you want Centre Ice to do in the months to come?
The next day I responded to that email and said:
I am one Canadian who feels homeless, politically.
I can not abide the wild spending frenzy of the federal Liberals, and increasing taxes/fees, which has fueled inflation.
On the other hand, I no longer feel at home in the Conservative Party — which seems to have it’s hand out daily asking for a donation, all the while drifting farther and farther away from where I feel comfortable … I consider myself to be fiscally responsible with a social conscience.
Instead, the federal Conservative seem to want to pander to a minority of Canadians that were/are anti-vaxxers and pro trucker convoy wackos 😦
As a CPC member I could not in good conscience vote for Poilievre … Charest had his time (IMHO) and issues with being a Liberal Premier would have caused ballot box problems. Instead, I supported the measured and rationale approach of Scott Atchison — sadly, that’s not what the majority of members were looking for.
I don’t know if there’s time to build a new national political force before the next election; it will be a tough thing to do, but not impossible.
It will take money … lots of it … along with people who have a high profile in communities right across Canada.
I hope this helps …and good luck … Alan
One-week later Centre Ice Canadians co-founder Rick Peterson had a new message, saying:
… The response we received was loud and clear: the majority of you would like to see a new federal, centrist political party in Canada …
… over the next four months, a small working group led by Dominic Cardy and me will put into place a basic framework of what such a party could look like. We’ll draft a constitution and ask for input on a policy platform. We’ll come up with a name for this new Party – it would NOT be a Centre Ice Canadians party, nor are we able to register one with Elections Canada …
And then a week later came another email in which Peterson commented:
Thousands of Canadians have contacted us with pledges of support, money, and expertise. Media has swooped in to see what’s happening …
There is clearly a huge appetite among Canadians for a serious party with serious ideas. While Liberals and Conservatives devote their energies to one-upping each other in the bad melodrama that Question Period has become, big files are ignored …
… Canadians from coast to coast to coast are speaking out. They are telling us they want – that our country needs – something new. We are so grateful for this enthusiasm as we build momentum …
I consider myself to be a small ‘c’ conservative — one that wishes government to be fiscally responsible … AND … to have a social conscience.
If that is the direction the Centre Ice Canadians are headed, then I’m all in. I only hope there’s time to build the foundation in time to be a credible force come the next federal election.
In the meantime, given there is no federally registered party yet, perhaps the Centre Ice Canadians can endorse, and fully support, a candidate in the Winnipeg South Centre riding. It’s one that over the past several decades has been held fairly equally by both the (Progressive) Conservatives and the Liberals … and could perhaps give them an idea of the support that would be available to a new centrist party.
Federal politics has been a graveyard in the past for new parties … we’ll have to see if the Centre Ice Canadians can build a party that is strong enough to make it over that hurdle.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident. For 40 years he has been active, in a number of capacities, in local, provincial and federal politics, including running as a candidate for the BC Reform Party in the 1996 provincial election. He more recently was involved in the BC Liberal leadership campaign.
A party, like a government can’t be 100% fair equitable, honest and transparent to all people 100% of the time. Also, being aware of issues doesn’t mean one must agree hence it is difficult to craft platforms and policies to which we all agree with. No different from most of the hopefuls becoming councillors which are all too ready to criticize administration before hands but quickly falling into line once elected with no recourse for us to hold them accountable to their promises.
In essence, a new party to make Canada a better place? We already are pretty darn good, too good in many cases in my opinion.