Monday, June 27, 2011

Every Living Thing Pushed Into The Ring

The Ontario Liberals are quite the jumpy lot these days. Everything that could possibly be interpreted as a threat gets both barrels. Including, so it seems, the Ontario NDP, who got the full on war room treatment at their convention this past weekend, same as we did, for the first time I can remember in a long while.

And why not? After the bottom fell out of the Liberals federally, the Ontario Liberals are right to prepare a war on two fronts. They are wrong, though, if they imagine they won't get squeezed again.

I'm definitely one of those Conservatives who respects the NDP for having principles. Awful principles, but principles nonetheless. And I want the NDP to hew closely to those awful principles- to be as wild and crazy as they want to be so that we can look awesome by comparison. Of course, I realize that they probably see us the same way.

The NDP can be trusted to understand, as we do, that what we have here is a fight between fundamentally opposed interests. Boss vs. worker, business vs. union, urban vs. rural, privatization vs. nationalization, free speech vs. limited speech.

The Liberals can pretend that these conflicts do not exist and that they are working to bring these irreconcilables together, or that you can "take ideas from both sides" and it will somehow work. It makes for a great fairy tale until something like the Canada Post strike comes along.

This past week, we saw the federal NDP rattle their cage in a way the Liberals never did. Frightening and offensive things were said by NDP MP's all throughout the long and terrible filibuster. Moderation was, and will be, an afterthought. Come the next sitting of the House, it'll be open war. And in open war, distinctions disappear. There is no need to pretend you like the people on the other side. There is no need for diplomacy.

Faced with an NDP opposition that wants to party like it's 1917, there will be no need for the PC Party of Ontario to argue over whether we should compromise on our principles so we don't lose ground to the Liberals. We can tack right, the NDP can tack left, and both parties will occupy the vaccuum left in the centre. Everyone wins- except for the Liberals, of course. 

With that stage set, we and the NDP can fight it out to wow the crowd. No one's getting out.

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