Specifically, it asks:
What can conservative minded people do to strengthen their contributions to national political discourse, the attainment of national goals, and the revitalization of Canadian democracy – contributions essential to greater electoral success and becoming a governing party?Institutions and infrastructures have got to show that, for conservatism to gain prominence in Canada, we cannot model ourselves after - I'll say it - unsuccessful models of conservatism in other countries, and I think Mr. Manning remarks that as well:
We should be exporters rather than importers of democratic technology and cutting edge solutions to public problems. Thus the Manning Centre for Building Democracy intends to mobilize Canadian resources to strengthen Canadian political infrastructure so that Canadians are less dependent on other countries for political ideas, training, and organizational techniques.We must remember, that conservatives want the following:
- Respect and protection of an individual's freedoms. The minute we begin to question the rights of others, simply because of our own perception of their faults or "misguided" ways, or we begin to criticize them for not doing things the "right" way, we fail to see that we begin a dangerous path to eroding other liberties that we enjoy. Our personal perceptions, no matter how strong a belief we have in them, cannot infringe on others. It's no good fighting to be kind of free.
- To encourage diversity, in all forms - gender, religion, social, sexual orientation, ethnicity. Diversity must be valued and made equal under all public institutions, regardless of competing interests or perceptions. Diversity reinforces and strengthens a community, a cornerstone of true conservative principles - if you seek to marginalize a sector of our community or to mold the community into some kind of artificial ideal, you destroy the community as a whole. By strengthening this community and the understanding within, we can ensure that we have low crime, stronger families, and productive active youth.
- Encourage fiscal prudence, which doesn't mean tax cuts or program cuts every month. Fiscal prudence means simply spending when spending is required and not spending when it's not required. If a program is wasteful, or not generating results, you cease the bleed and review. We must recognize that we need sound public infrastructure, that we need sound public investment, we need to make sure that there's a basic fulfillment of public needs. And we can do that and return some of that money to tax payers - we can eliminate wasteful spending, revitalize public spending, pay down the debt and return the millions that are leftover. Those things are all possible all at once.
- Limited government, but not "no government". We need to ensure, that the governments closest to us and interacting directly with us have the means and the authority to address our needs expediently. It's no good to us to have a federal government promising money for programs that a province or a municipality cannot deliver or refuses to be a part of. At the same time, we do not require a federal government to govern and legislate every facet of our lives.
- The free market can determine and regulate many things, but the free market cannot govern social justice and social equality, and profit cannot be the driving factor behind education and health care. It's recognition of that that's important.
- A strong committment to the defense of the nation. It doesn't necessarily mean battleships, aircraft carriers, and ballistic missile defense. It means developing and maintaining an armed forces that can defend us and contribute to peacekeeping around the world. While that focuses on external defense, crime and justice are important as well to internal defense. We need to ensure that we have strong laws and strong transparent systems of justice.
- Most importantly, conservatives must recognize that pragmatism trumps ideology every time. Every single time without exception. It means changing something even if it doesn't seem very conservative.
This is where conservatives in Canada can excel over the other political choices. These are the things that will ensure conservatism in Canada can thrive if we once again embrace them.
Tags: canada, conservative party, manning centre