Friday, December 23, 2005

Revenge of the socons

As regular readers know, I've been tracking the influence of the religious right within the Conservative Party since last summer. (See here, here, and here, for example).

Nor is my concern isolated--there has been concern expressed within the Conservative party over their role. In Sudbury, for example, the nomination of a Pentacostal pastor prompted a former Conservative candidate to quit the party (here); there were similar repercussions in Richmond following Darrel Reid's nomination (here).

There are new developments on this front. There are a handful of Conservative politicians whose voting record or publicly stated positions disappoint social conservatives (cf. here). Two of the more prominent in this group are Jame Moore in Port Moody, B.C., and John Baird in Ottawa-West Nepean. Both are prominent, promising, moderate conservatives; both are potential cabinet ministers in any future Conservative government. Both now have prominent local conservatives running against them because they do not toe the anti-ssm line.

The story can be read at Lifesite, which is closely associated with the Campaign Life Coalition, an anti-abortion group.

The aim is nothing less than to defeat these two Conservatives. Consider Pacheco's statement:
“If our campaign were to attract enough votes away from the Conservative Party in Ottawa West Nepean for Baird to lose, the Conservatives will get the message that social conservatives are serious about their politics,” Pacheco emphasized. “Moreover, since the next Parliament is likely to be a minority one again, the Conservative Party, should they lose the seat this election, will think twice about running another anti-family candidate again in two years time. On the other hand, if John Baird wins, the voters of Ottawa West Nepean will likely be represented by him for years and years to come, and there will be no chance of having their socially conservative views of marriage and family represented. In fact, quite the opposite will happen.”
Similar thoughts are expressed by Greg Watrich at his website (here):
Many of us in Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam voted for our current MP in previous elections. He has served us well in many ways over the years. However, it has become clear that our local Conservative MP has rejected one of the main commitments of his party from the previous election - to defend the traditional definition of marriage. Even after massive public protests, he has chosen to support the Liberals Same-Sex Marriage Legislation.

The Conservative Party has mandated that incumbent MPs can not be challenged for the nomination to be the party candidate in the upcoming federal election. Consequently, many Conservative Party members are supporting me to challenge our MP as an Independent candidate in the upcoming election to give each of us in Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam the opportunity to vote to restore our traditional values.
The attitude reflected here is highly dangerous for the Conservative Party, and (in my opinion) for the country. Not only are social conservatives organizing to win nominations within the party (which they are entitled to do), but they're willing to wreck the party's chances in ridings where they lose. If we take Pacheco at his word, a Baird win would make the riding association more difficult to take over next time; a Baird loss gives them another kick at the can.

While there may be those who take pleasure in this Conservative civil war--"it couldn't happen to a nicer party"--I respectfully disagree. One way or the other, we will eventually have a Conservative government in this country. It would do us all good if they somehow made themselves fit for that task.



Dr. Dawg said...

Gosh, I wonder if either of the two lucky fundies noted above uttered words like, "This is a victory for Christianity! Our values are everywhere!" or some such. Then I could read Shaidle and Budgie and Daimnation and Dust My Broom for pleasure. Just seeing the horror on their faces would be worth the price of admission.

Er...there would be horror on their faces, wouldn't there?

Joel K. said...

What is wrong with social conservatives running for office or participating in democracy in any other way?

Our country was founded on strong Judeo-Christian values, and to say now that those who support said values should have no voice in our country's future is intolerant, in my opinion.

So let's debate the issues, that's fine, but please don't denigrate Evangelical Christians and other supporters of traditional values with phrases such as "revenge of the socons", and the general tone of some of your blog postings.