Thursday, February 05, 2009

Andrew Coyne is at it again

Coyne has another great column over at Macleans. Last week he declared the end of Canadian conservatism and caused a ruckus.

Conservatism, though, isn't the issue to Coyne.

Conservatism may not be my thing, but it is for a lot of other people, and I grieve for their sake that the party they have invested so much of their hopes in has turned to such warm beer. And all Canadians, whatever their leanings, should wish for more balance and diversity in our political choices....

... I would prefer there were at least one party that understood market economics, that stood for balanced budgets, honest money, and freely set prices, undistorted by subsidies, quotas, tariffs, ceilings, floors, or tax preferences; that had a general
preference for competition over monopoly, voluntarism over coercion, open systems over closed, unless a compelling case could be made to the contrary; and that understood their virtues not only in terms of efficiency, but of fairness, freedom and environmental stewardship. And so in that sense I have no party.

But then, I have no party in a lot of ways. Nor do a lot of Canadians. It isn’t just free marketers who haven’t got a party. Federalists have no party, in the sense of a party willing to defend the national interest against the pull of provincialism and Quebec nationalism. Democratic reformers have no party. Classical liberals (or as Barbara Frum used to call herself, “1950s liberals”), believers in the equal rights of every individual under the Charter — as opposed to group rights advocates, on the one hand, and Charterphobes, on the other — are no less bereft. There’s no party that stands for consumers, against exploitation by producer interests; for the jobless, against restrictive labour laws that prevent them from pricing themselves into work; for taxpayers, against the depredations of rent-seeking special interests; for property owners, against the marauding state. There’s just a vast gap in the Canadian political spectrum, or several of them, while the parties compete to see who can spend the most, devolve powers the fastest, pander most cravenly. Canadians think they live in a liberal, democratic, free-market federation, but there isn’t a party nowadays that believes in any of these things.

Now go read the rest before I just copy and paste the whole thing over here.

h/t: Ker.
cross-posted to the Shotgun blog

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