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Friday, August 17 2018 @ 02:30 MDT

On Conservative Culture.

Canadian PoliticsAbout a year ago back here I wrote about what appears to be the culture of lying and deceit that the Harper Conservatives seem to be embracing. Fast forward to now and the revelations that voter suppression tactics were actively used by the Conservative party during the last election show that this culture of lying and deceit has caused an even greater rot to permeate the Harper Conservatives.

At this point no one but the most faithful Tory hack believes that Sona acted alone. Even if he had the culture around him encouraged and demanded his actions. For example, before the robocalls, Sona was implicated in an attempt to steal a ballot box. What was the reaction of the Conservative party leadership to this? Close ranks, blame the Liberals and deny, deny, deny. Sona ended up with a plum job with the party. So with unethical and downright illegal behaviour not only condoned by the party, but actively rewarded, is it any surprise that Sona would be involved in a further attempt at voter suppression? Of course not, since it is the culture of the party around him that encourages that behaviour!

This rot goes all the way to the top. Despite Haper's Nixonian denials about the actual event, it is the culture in the party Harper set up that is the culprit here. The black and white, for us or against us view that the leadership of the Conservative party has fostered in its followers and as demonstrated by Vic Toews' statement about being for bill C-30 or for child pornography is to blame for the "anything is ok as long as the Conservatives win" actions of the members and supporters of the Conservative party. The one person responsible for this culture within the Conservative party is Stephen Harper. By setting up the conditions and culture for what is looking like election fraud on the part of the Tories, Harper is just as responsible as those who who committed the act.

What is only marginally surprising is that Harper's supporters are just fine with this. This also speaks to the culture within the Conservative party and its supporters. The Harper Conservatives have spent a great deal of time and treasure reinforcing in their followers that all politicians are liars and cheats. This has two effects, one it makes the average Tory voter less likely to have a second choice and second, lets them believe that even though the Conservatives are acting in a manner that would normally upset a Conservative supporter, the belief is that the other parties do the same thing or are even worse, which is demonstrably not the case. In my experience is that support for the Conservative party borders on the religious in that Conservative supporters will ignore any fact that conflicts with their world view. For example I've had Tory supporters outright deny what I've seen with my own eyes that things can be cheaper in BC than in Alberta despite the higher taxes. In their world everything is cheaper if there is lower taxes (despite obvious other factors such as cheaper rents, etc). and their faith makes it impossible to see the opposite, even when there is evidence to the contrary. This faith goes to the heart of why Conservatives seem to despise evidence. Relying on evidence means that you may have to question your fundamental beliefs and like the religious zealot, a Conservative is incapable of questioning their fundamental beliefs so any evidence to the contrary must be discarded. This explains the entire Conservative war on science for one thing, and the complete denial of facts in terms of issues such as crime.

The problem for the majority of us, that is the 60% of us who didn't vote Conservative and the additional 15% of us who did vote Conservative but are willing to vote for someone else is that there is no reasoning with the remaining 25% of the population who are the "True Believers (TM. Pat.Pend.)". Just like debating a creationist, no rational or reasonable argument can get through the wilful ignorance of the 25% of the population for who it's the Conservatives or no one else, or as they like to call them, the "terrorists" or "traitors" or "communits" or "lazy people" or "damn liberals". Debating this crowd is like talking to a brick wall, it accomplishes nothing. It is also important to remember that these are also the people that are running the Conservative party. Just look at how any cabinet minister, the PM or most of the back bench MP's act and talk.

So what is the majority to do? Well the only thing left is to attempt to engage the 15% of Canadians who vote Conservative but are open to consider other alternatives. These would be the moderate or middle of the road Conservatives. These are people who see a role for government, but don't necessarily like high taxes (and who does). These people also see that taxes pay for the things we expect from government and in general will base their decisions on rationality and not blind ideology. These people can be convinced that the values of the 25% of the population that control the Conservative party are not their values and that other parties also share many of their vaules. It is this ~15% that the progressive 60% has to woo. The other 25% are basically a write off and a waste of limited resources.

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