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Conservatives turn into nanny-state advocates on issues of morality.

With regards to the “brouhahah” some on the conservative right are having over Dr. Henry Morgentaler being awarded the Order of Canada, I find it extremely interesting that a lot of these conservatives are the same types decrying that the government or the state impose too many regulations on Canadians; that we are home to the nanny-state, and that there is too much government intrusion in our lives.

As an example, remember the child-care program that former PM Paul Martin and the federal Liberals brought in? According to the Conservatives and their allies, that was the oppressive federal government dictating to Canadian families what they should do for child-care; that they were being deprived of the freedom of personal choice.

When it comes to issues of morality however, these supposed conservative libertarians turn absolutely hostile and show they are no libertarians at all – or at least hypocritical ones. Remember when then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau brought in reforms to the Criminal Code that among other things decriminalized homosexual acts in private and declared that the state had no business being in the bedrooms of the nation, and what was done in private between consenting adults should have nothing to do it the Criminal Code? That’s about as libertarian an act and a statement as one can be, yet that would be the start of the right-wing’s hatred of Trudeau – that somehow in this case, the state needed to regulate this. We have seen that continue on with them right through to the present with gay marriage being legalized.

The abortion issue in Canada is another moral issue where “right and wrong” has been left up to the people involved who face this tough choice to decide what is ethical and what isn’t. The Supreme Court has ruled it is their choice to decide what they will do – not the state’s. Yet here again, the conservatives and supposed libertarians would impose their beliefs on the majority of Canadians (91% of Canadians in a recent poll believe abortion should be legal in some form, only 5% of Canadians want an outright ban). Those arguments that Conservatives use about the nanny-state and government interference in our lives are all but forgotten.

To be clear, my position on abortion isn’t why I’ve made this statement: I’m a practising Christian who has struggled with this issue trying to balance my religious beliefs with my political beliefs of liberalism. I’m probably classified as one of the 19% of Canadians recently polled who think abortion should be legal with some sort of restrictions. The reason for this blogpost is what I perceive to be the utter hypocrisy of the conservative right-wing on this vis-a-vis not letting government control people’s lives and taking away their choice. On issues of “morality”, they’ve thrown those beliefs right out the window and they would have no qualms of bringing the whole force of the state down on “evil” doctors and “misguided and confused” women.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I have no objection to Dr. Henry Morgentaler receiving the Order of Canada. He is not the only “divisive figure” to have received this award, and he’s not even a convicted criminal (Conrad Black, anyone?). He has as much right to receiving this award as anyone else on the list, or past recipients.

UPDATE: I should be clear that I’m not saying all libertarians are hypocrites. John Murney is an example of someone who is very consistent in his libertarian views across the board. He supports the right of a woman to make her own choice and that the state keep out of matters. My issue is with conservatives and Conservatives who profess to be libertarians on such matters and then talk out of the other side of their mouth on issues like abortion.


The Green Shift: evil marxist plot or subtly (c)onservative policy?

With regards to the Green Shift, it’s interesting to me that there are some folks out there who describe this Green Shift plan the Liberals are advocating as the work of Marxists, all designed to enslave Western Canada and enrich the East, while paradoxically, Andrew Coyne, that famous socialist columnist at Macleans, describes the current state of affairs – at least with regards to environmental policy – as the Liberals becoming like the Conservatives and the Conservatives turning into the 1970’s version of the NDP:

This is simply extraordinary. Where the Liberals talk of using price signals and harnessing market forces, the Tories now boast of their commitment to top-down, command-and-control regulations. It’s all prohibit this and require that, as opposed to the Liberals, who would — gasp! — allow companies to pay more to pollute! The importance of this shift cannot be overstated. For fifty years or more, conservatives have preached that taxes affect people’s behaviour, that incentives matter, that “if you tax something, you get less of it.” But now, suddenly, they don’t matter — not when compared to the miracle of regulation. For fifty years or more, conservatives have also said that prices are the vital signalling device of a market economy, informing consumers, workers, investors and businesses as to the costs of different choices. But now, suddenly, they’re irrelevant. Subsidies — sorry, investments — are the new Tory orthodoxy.

Some other prominent people (and apparently socialist/Marxist folks, if they support this, if I were to believe the label some conservative and libertarian bloggers are painting on anyone who advocates this) that have commented on this include the President of the economic think-tank CD Howe Institute, who rejects the notion that the Green Shift is “NEP II” as some westerners claim; or how about that Trotskyite Tom D’Acquino, president of the radical left-wing group, The Canadian Council of Chief Executives, who has been on record before as supporting a carbon tax, and if you read between the lines, prefers the Liberal Green Shift plan to the Conservatives current facade of a plan on the environment.

So I guess that means either there are a lot more socialists out there in Canada then people think, or more likely, some people just don’t know what they’re talking about when they accuse Dion and the Federal Liberals of being socialists, and the Green Shift as being Marxist orthodoxy, when it’s using the very “market forces” that conservatives and libertarians so often cry is the best way to solve problems. In this case, that rule flies out the window, and the tactics of fear and smear are being used to try to convince the unsuspecting populace that this is just a trojan horse of a plan designed to instill environmental Marxism on us all. Fortunately, I don’t think a good majority of Canadians are going to believe that fear and smear stuff.

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