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Thursday, November 21 2019 @ 03:01 MST

Tories head to centre.

Canadian PoliticsSo the federal Tories moved ever so slightly towards the centre. Apparently someone has clued them in to that\'s where the votes are outside of Alberta. What will be interesting is if Harper can hold it all together till the next election. Why I say this is that, the more towards the centre the party moves, the more likely the party will lose support on the far right. The social conservatives in the party are not renowned for their ability to compromise. This tends to exert a force that threatens to rip the party in two. It\'s this force that caused the formation of the old Reform/Alliance party.

The convention only really gave the social conservatives one thing, an opposition to same-sex marriage. This will hurt the party somewhat in urban centres in Central and Eastern Canada, but will play well in the West. Many of the populist planks in the party platform were ripped up. Further, the convention voted down a representation by membership numbers for ridings at convention. If this resolution had passed, those ridings with more members would have received more votes at future conventions. Since ridings in Alberta have tend to have larger memberships than those in Ontario, the social conservatives from Alberta would have been able to call the shots.

The only hope that social conservatives have at the moment is Stephen Harper. Since as leader he\'s free to ignore the resolutions of the convention (a bizarre quirk of the Conservative and Liberal parties, ignoring the wishes of their members) he could still force the party further to the right. This would play well at home here in Alberta, but not at all well in the rest of Canada. If Harper wants to be prime minister, and he does, he\'d be wise to ditch the baggage from the old Reform/Alliance party as it doesn\'t play outside of the West.

Of course, if Harper does go with the shift to the centre, and the Tories don\'t win the next election, the social conservatives will tear the party apart. Either by creating yet another party along the lines of the Reform/Alliance or by using the fact they vote as a block to secure dominance within the Conservative party itself, which will drive the moderate Conservatives from the fold and into the waiting arms of the Liberal party.
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