Baratta and Daoud: A Joint Statement of Endorsement

Written By Guest User, Posted on June 25, 2020

This statement of endorsement reflects the opinions of Giordano Baratta and Anthony Daoud, TNT’s Quebec correspondents.

An increasing number of Canadians, whether directly or indirectly, are supporting the exclusion of social conservative elements within the Conservative Party (CPC). By now, we are all too familiar with who’s leading the pushback. CPC frontrunner Peter MacKay, for all his subsequent backtracking, famously asserted that Andrew Scheer’s social views hung around him like a ‘stinking albatross’ and allegedly cost him the 2019 federal election. Shortly thereafter, MacKay extolled the importance of including ‘transgender rights’ in his campaign, a drastic shift which, if MacKay should win, will likely precipitate a permanent socially liberal shift towards a support of LGBT issues within the CPC. O’Toole, for all his purported “true blue conservative” values, is a close facsimile of his opponent. The Durham MP spent a significant portion of the French language debate pandering to both ends of the party, fiercely challenging MacKay’s moderate stance on social issues in one breath while supporting abortion and LGBT rights in another. Furthermore, in 2012, O’Toole voted in favour of C-279, a private members’ bill proposed by NDP MP Randall Garrison. The bill aimed to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination—and would allow biological men to enter women’s bathrooms (and vice versa).

Given the fact that 70% of Conservative Party voters plan to support either of these two candidates according to a recently published Mainstreet Research poll, the feasibility of a socially conservative candidate appears to be in decline. As Canadian “conservatism” inches further to the left, the party is evidently incorporating a reformed ideology that supports fiscal responsibility (not in itself a conservative policy but rather an idea bound up in liberal economics) while disregarding those inherent principles that should lay at the heart of conservative philosophy. 

We must not forget that the conservative movement was born in response to the French Revolution, one of the watershed moments in Western history. While many conservative tenets could be traced back to the principles of Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas, they were re-developed by figures like Edmund Burke, Joseph De Maistre, and Louis De Bonald—all reactionary thinkers of the counter-revolutionary intellectual movement. All shared in one common belief: the necessity of a rigid social order. The three aforementioned philosophers equally upraised the importance of the traditional family unit, religion in everyday life, and the preservation of culture from radical ideas like rampant individualism that emerged out of Enlightenment liberalism. As author Nicholas Timothy wrote in the American Compass:

Liberal theory starts by imagining a state of nature: a world that never existed, could never have existed, and leads liberals to a wholly unreal view of human nature. And yet as we reach its logical conclusion, ideological liberalism is causing the fragmentation of society, the emasculation of government, and a life, for many, that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and increasingly short. Liberals are bringing about the state of nature their theorists invented and sought to escape.

The integral ideas propagated by both the MacKay and O’Toole campaigns no longer espouse the foundational ideas from which modern conservatism was born. We argue that they can only be called ‘liberal-conservatives,’ as the two draw heavily from liberal thought on economic and social issues while nominally operating under a conservative banner.


By this definition, it is even debatable what these two career politicians aspire to ‘conserve.’ The ability to freely participate in the market and to generate wealth without government interference? This is insufficient. Benjamin Disraeli made similar critiques of Sir Robert Peel’s support for an economy characterized by classical liberalism as leader of the British Conservative Party in the 19th century, remarking in Sybil: Or the Two Nations: “…but we forget, Sir Robert Peel is not the leader of the Tory party.” A leader purporting to embody conservatism in Canada cannot exclusively champion the idea of ‘economic responsibility’ while straying from upholding all other basic conservative tenets lest the idea of ‘conservatism’ itself is watered down—and that is what O’Toole and MacKay are doing in an attempt to win. By assuaging the madness of the masses through a “moderation” of the conservative platform—that is, by attempting to come out on top of rabble politics’ “popularity contest” by appealing to as many people as possible across both sides of the political spectrum—the commitment to protecting our principal Western institutions falls by the wayside in order to achieve mass appeal.

What do we mean? Let us analyze a few examples. Neither candidate is willing to commit to withdrawing Canada from the UN Global Compact for Migration, a document which places control of our immigration policy in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable body of UN officials. Given Canada’s stagnant birth rate, such passive acceptance in the face of uncontrolled migration—from politicians purporting to be ‘conservative,’ no less—threatens the very integrity of our nation’s historical and cultural fabric. With friends like these in the Conservative Party, who needs enemies? Does the CPC truly seek to transform Canada into a “post-national” state with no sense of core identity, as Trudeau intends? 

The fact that falling birth rates must be corrected by migration—a fact which both MacKay and O’Toole tacitly accept by not opposing the Migration Compact—intertwines with Canada’s sense of a suffering family unit. “As in the decline of the ancient world, the family is steadily losing its form and its social significance, and the state absorbs more and more of the life of its members,” wrote Christopher Dawson in his 1933 work The Patriarchal Family in History. “The functions which were formerly fulfilled by the head of the family are now being taken over by the state, which educates the children and takes the responsibility for their maintenance and health.” Penned long before the political and sexual radicalism of the 1960s, the well-being of the family unit climbs ever closer to the edge of the precipice in the 21st century.  As Stephen Baskerville writes in “The Family Crisis & the Future of Western Civilization,” the atomization of the family has crept up on the West so incrementally so that “each generation has become acculturated to the changes…each generation thus accepts as normal what would have shocked their grandparents had it happened all at once: premarital sex, cohabitation, illegitimacy, divorce, same-sex marriage, daycare.” Presently, over 40% of marriages end in divorce in our country, making the break-up of the family a normative life event for many Canadians, particularly children.

Whether one can stem the flow of the family’s decline is perhaps a question best left to another day, for this is a complex question in itself. However, neither O’Toole or MacKay appear willing to even try. Both would personally vote against legislation to restrict abortion. Whereas Lewis has affirmed she will increase funding for pregnancy centres and Sloan has promised to ban sex-change surgeries for minors (thereby wrestling some sense of authority back from the state to strengthen the traditional family), MacKay has remained wholly silent, while O’Toole has only promised stronger childcare—a ‘safer’ stance on protecting the traditional family compared to the two dark horse candidates.

Rather than the cultural fabric of the nation and the strength of the family, what has dominated the concerns of both O’Toole and Mackay (in addition to the aforementioned economy) is rapprochement with the United States, as both have tried to out-compete one another in an attempt to appease our southern neighbour. O’Toole first made the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which prompted MacKay to do the same. The pros and cons of this move can be hotly debated, but what cannot is that this is an obvious attempt from both men to echo Trump’s own decision to do so back in 2017. 

George Grant, one of Canada’s greatest 20th century political philosophers, forewarned against Canada losing its national identity and being subsumed into the American political simulacrum. In Lament for A Nation, Grant predicted that American liberalism would dislodge Canadian nationalism. As Canadians, we would thus fall into America’s shadow and operate as an individual component of the overarching Pax Americana. He lamented that Canada will be homogenized into a monolithic American identity viz a viz corporate entities and technology. Even the nature of our politics would lose its national identity, becoming more immersed in the affairs of the United States—evidently, this has become the case, exemplified by the recent political move from our two prospective conservative leaders. 

It is therefore unsurprising that many of Canada’s most appraised conservative Prime Ministers, including Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper, have further entrenched the country into the rapacious neoliberal project emerging out of Washington. Things will be no different under Peter MacKay or Erin O’Toole. Both have made economic policy—not social policy—the heart of their platform. This being said, both have promised to protect market liberalism and keep government at bay. Despite the obvious structural differences between the Canadian and American political systems, both men have decided to fashion their campaign in a quintessentially establishment-style that mirrors American classical liberalism. In this regard, figures like John Turner and Ed Broadbent were right to vociferously oppose agreements like NAFTA, which has furthered the erosion of Canadian sovereignty through the consolidation of American economic liberalism into Canada (and consequently, the Conservative Party). In layman’s terms, the distinctness of Canadian conservatism has been uprooted root and stem by the values of our southern counterpart. Nowadays, prospective Conservative leaders seem to hold little consideration for the Canadian Tory tradition that emerged during Confederation and lasted until (and during) John Diefenbaker’s tenure as Prime Minister. This tradition, which Ben Woodfinden describes in greater detail, is premised on the safeguarding of the community’s common good against the ceaselessly aggrandizing liberal project and the social manipulation it imbues through the use of the state apparatus—not by minimizing it as American-style liberalism proscribes.

This having been said, we cannot support in good conscience two politicians that will further drag Canada into the orbit of American economic and political values—which are not our own—while simultaneously taking a weak (if not non-existent) stance on key conservative issues concerning the family and immigration, among others not covered in this brief article. 

We therefore urge you to support either Leslyn Lewis or Derek Sloan if we are to reorient Canadian conservatism away from its liberal trajectory of exclusively focusing on the economy towards the preservation of our national heritage and the family—and perhaps along the way, we’ll reclaim the Tory tradition that once made Canadian conservatism unique. We strongly hold that Lewis and Sloan have the opportunity to revolutionize the party and, in doing so, revive a coherent conservative vision that has been too long forgotten in our national memory. 

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