In principle, there is room for a new party in Canadian politics; arguably, there is a need for one.
That the established parties have tended to pander to narrow and particular interests, rather than the broader public interest, is well documented, as is the result: an ever-expanding state devoted almost wholly to redistributing income, not from rich to poor, but from taxpayers to well-organized and well-cultivated client groups (notably the state’s own employees). In the same way the state redistributes from consumers to producers, from west to east, young to old, and so on, in the service of neither efficiency nor justice nor even raw numbers but just whoever frightens politicians the most.
Which over time — people learn — has come to include everybody. We subsidize everything that moves in this country, and charge ourselves higher taxes to pay for it, then demand more subsidies to offset the burden of taxes. And the fruit of all this frantic attempt to redistribute from everybody to everybody? A nation brimming with grievance and resentment, every part of the country convinced the rest are making out at its expense.
A party that proposed to end the money-go-round — to wean the country’s business class, in particular, off the public teat, to shut down the “regional development” spigots and bust up the cartels that, behind our protectionist walls, are permitted to genteelly pick our pockets — would therefore be a signal addition to our politics. If it chose to frame this critique not as a fairly straightforward application of Economics 101 but as a radical determination to govern “for all Canadians,” so be it.
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And if it made life difficult for the established parties, so much the better. The market for ideas thrives on competition and choice as much as any other. The cartelization of our economy is in part a reflection of the cartelization of our politics. A more robustly conservative party, in particular, less burdened by the Conservatives’ crippling self-doubt, would be a welcome addition, even if I don’t like all of its ideas: millions of Canadians do, and it is wrong that they should go unrepresented.
But when I say a party, I mean, well, a party. The “People’s Party” that Maxime Bernier unveiled Friday was notably ill-supplied with either. A party, even one that does not preface its name with “people,” is traditionally expected to furnish a few; the term is usually considered to imply the participation of several persons, or at least more than one.
Instead, standing in for the people was just Max, alone on a stage. Besides the vaguely Euro-sounding name — and not in a good way — and a logo that appeared not so much designed as typed, there was little to indicate this was anything more than …read more