Merging for the better

By John Leung

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a Tory supporter and I’m glad that Peter MacKay wasn’t going to be cowed by David Orchard. Yes, you heard me right, I’m glad this has happened.

Being a social liberal while being fiscally conservative, I was once the stereotypical Tory on a merger, vowing to fight to the bitter end without ever submitting to that horrid western-party-in-federal-drag Canadian Alliance. Today, I admit I might have been a tad hasty.

Sure, the PCs have history, but so what? The Canadian right has been a zero-sum game ever since the Reform Party arrived on the scene in 1987, and it only got worse with the PC decimation in 1993.

Of course, there are people who don’t seem to be sweating too much, namely Paul Martin and Jack Layton, as all of them claim the new "Conservative Party" will mean they’ll gain even more votes. The logic of those claims baffle me.

Paul Martin will move the Liberals farther right when he takes power. While he’s stepping into conservative territory, sooner or later some of the Liberals’ liberal supporters will become disenchanted or gravitate to the NDP. This will then cause a split between the parties on the "left," allowing the new conservatives to sweep to power in the same way Jean Chretien did in 1997 and 2000.

Maybe there is a different reason Martin and Layton are displaying such swagger and arrogance to the media over this development. The Tories and the Alliance caucuses and memberships must still approve this. While Harper should theoretically have an easier time to secure the 50 per cent of Canadian Alliance membership compared to MacKay’s requiring two-thirds of his Tories to support this. Tories, still holding onto their "founding party" status, are more than likely to be hesitant when entering into this agreement.

But what are the choices? Unite, or continue to play the zero-sum game that is the Canadian right. The latter will surely result in devastation for both conservative parties. It’s like the old Chinese fable, "The Clam and the Pelican." In the fable, a pelican was trying to break open a clam, but the clam stubbornly clamped onto the pelican’s beak. The two creatures fought and fought, until both of them died. A fisherman came along, picked up both creatures, and ate them for dinner.

Is this what we want? As Albertans, as Canadians, do we really want to see this next election? Members of both parties, look at yourselves in the mirror, and say "my party can beat the Liberals, sweep Ontario and right into 24 Sussex Drive in the next election."Can you do that confidently?

If you can state that seriously, then my hat’s off to you for being so delusional.

The clock is ticking on Paul Martin’s coronation, and the clock is ticking down to the next election. The weather forecasters have predicted an electoral tsunami. Time is almost up.

The wedding bells are chiming, the wedding cake is in the oven, the dresses and tuxedos are out. But will the bride and groom ultimately walk down the aisle, giving Canada a choice at the ballot box after 10 long years of rightist lethargy? I sure hope so, since I didn’t suck up my pride as a Tory supporter for nothing. So do me a favour, Tory and Alliance members, and approve the merger. Please.