I normally don't write or share my personal political beliefs online - the rise of "political tribalism" over the past few years has lead me to avoid posting anything of political nature to social media platforms, instead keeping my posts to be about more universal topics, such as technology, telecom, and baseball. My concerns about expressing my beliefs are somewhat warranted - when I posted on Facebook in 2018 after Doug Ford won the Ontario provincial election someone actually threatened to put dog crap on my doorstep. Someone else said "you disgust me Gamble you should be ashamed of your voting" And my wife, who's political views are her own, was given major grief by her left leaning friends for being married to someone who would dare to vote for a right wing party.
Today, however, I am breaking my silence and making a post of a political nature. If you're just following me for telecom and technology posts, feel free to skip this one.
For some context, the easiest way to describe my political views would be to call me a "Blue Tory" - I favour market-oriented economic policies, a reduced role for government, lower taxes, and advocate for self reliance, individual responsibility, personal freedom, and liberty. But that does not mean I am a social conservative - I fully support LGBTTIQ2SA+ rights, I'm pro-choice, support same-sex marriage, and generally believe that the government has no right to interfere with you, your body, or your life choices.
Back to the reason for this post. Earlier this week I received an invitation from the Conservative Party to attend a meet and greet with Pierre Poilievre - the new leader of the party. While personally not a supporter of Pierre in the leadership race, I thought this would be a chance to hear him speak in person and get to know the leader of the party a bit better.
So this afternoon I made the drive down to Stoney Creek for the event, and when I arrived the scene I saw disgusted me. Two people were standing on the corner with anti-abortion signs, including graphic images of unborn children. Another person was waving a black flag with a crossed out needle with the saying "keep your vax out of me". There were pick up trucks adorned with various "freedom convoy" slogans. As I made the turn into the parking lot all I could think was these are not the type of people I want to be associated with. Feeling unsafe, and not wanting to be associated with the fringe edges of the party, I left.
To quote an opinion piece from the Edmonton Journal in 2022 - "climate change denialism, social conservatism, and creeping privatization of health care do not attract young, urban, and more socially liberal voters, and scare off many others. Even less appealing is pandering to those for whom freedom means ignoring one’s responsibilities or the rights of others."
This is the problem "moderates" face as Conservatives in Canada - our party has been hijacked by a fringe minority who are pro-life, distrust science, and believe that somehow their "freedom" is being taken away from them. It is this element that we, the silent majority of Conservative party members need to dispel from the party ranks. Instead, we need to focus on building a party that the average Canadian can support - one that is pro-choice, embraces socially progressive views, acknowledges that climate change is real, and doesn't tolerate racism and other fringe views. We need to dispel the idea that tolerating these people is worth the votes they cast - it isn't. I would hazard to guess that for every vote gained from pandering to the fringe costs at least the same in return lost to a moderate turned off by this minority.
But as a moderate Conservative what am I supposed to do? If I continue to support the party as it is presenting itself today, I am choosing to align myself with an organization that tolerates things I don't support. But I don't support the party, we run the risk of another Liberal government after the next election and all the failed policies and misguided bills that come with that.
What is really needed is someone to "wake up" the silent majority of Conservative supporters and have them vocalize that this isn't the party want to support. We need to engage ourselves at the local level with our riding associations and with our candidates to make it clear that we want a party that is focused on the real issues facing Canadians, and not the misguided beliefs of the fringe few, even if pandering to them buys a few votes. And that's exactly what I'm going to do - get involved and try to change this for the better from within and I encourage all my like-minded Conservative friends to do the same.