Canada’s political Right needs to stop accommodating the Left

Written By Anthony Daoud, Posted on January 24, 2020

Andrew Scheer’s defeat in the 2019 federal election was an opportunity missed for the Conservative Party. Hemorrhaged by the SNC Lavalin and embarrassing blackface scandal, optimism emerged that Scheer would finally put an end to the tumultuous Trudeau administration. The Conservatives ran an effective campaign and surpassed their partisan foes in funding. Not to mention, Scheer was emboldened by the optimism emanating from the provincial blue wave. 

But the election results contrasted the plan. The Conservative Party suffered a major defeat, and it was due to the Bloq Québécois’s unexpected result that Trudeau’s Liberal Party was relegated to a minority government. 

Losing every constituency in Toronto and, as per usual Montreal, there were immediate calls for Scheer to resign, citing him as the sole culprit for the party’s abysmal results. Shortly thereafter, Canada’s “political pundit” class launched a relentless assault on Scheer’s views, deeming them heretically outdated and antithetical to the secular progressive zeitgeist. 

The Conservative Party’s election collapse is precisely because it overlooked its duty as a steward of conservatism. The establishment adopted nominal conservatism as their axiom and deviated from theoretical principles. Rather than remaining congruent to principle, the CPC has steadily moved into an ideological hinterland, sometimes surpassing the point of recognition. 

To win again, the Conservative Party must undergo a realignment with traditionalism. Becoming liberal-ite will only cultivate further disappointments as the party will become a sorry imitation of the left. 

What is Conservatism? 

Conservatism is not a finite set of tenets encompassed in a single body of commandments. Instead, it includes an array of beliefs that have evolved since its genesis as a reaction against the French Revolution, an event that multiple scholars acknowledge radically transformed Western civilization. As such, conservatism is a living concept, found in the decisions made by individuals, and communities, that thinker Edmund Burke identifies as the nation’s “little platoons.” Thus, while conservatism is rightfully regarded as a political ideology, it is not confined to the political realm and cannot survive an environment of “politicking,” as in Canada’s current regime. 

Although prominent conservative philosophers slightly differed in their respective ideas, recognizable, and binding, the notion remains such that adherents seek to appropriate societal elements that have functioned throughout history, while advancing into the present. Conservatism is not the aspiration for society to embark on a path of regression into hitherto centuries. However, there is a characteristic of every culture that must be protected; civil society. 

Addressed primarily by Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville in Reflections on the Revolution in France and Democracy in America, respectively, civil society is comprised of associations that produce culture outside the state’s control rooted in religious institutions and family.

Although private property, which is a cornerstone to both conservative and republican thinking, conservatism was always oriented towards protecting culture rather than government issuing than tax cuts, free markets, and hyperfocus on GDP.    

As a notable political theorist, Patrick J. Deneen expressed in a 2018 speech for the American Conservative, liberal secularism has contributed to culture’s erosion leading to what lawyer and philosopher Timothy J. Gordon describes as subjectivist democracy. In a subjectivist democracy, politicians will commonly cede on principles or what is objectively right, in exchange for electability. 


Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government has utterly failed Canadians on immigration. Like the United States and most Western European countries, Canada has welcomed a massive influx of foreigners in the last decades. All the while, there has been no government initiative to communicate with Canadians, asking whether they supported the policy. Instead, numerous independent polls were conducted as a means of demonstrating our population’s opinion on the matter. Despite the contemporary debate surrounding the issue, immigration has never saturated politics to such an extent. And so long as Trudeau and his like-minded progressives remain in power, the Canadian public should expect the high levels of immigration to continue. 

The Conservative Party should capitalize on the Liberal’s immigration let down. To do so, however, the party must emancipate from the narrative that electability is only possible through moving leftward or being mute on social issues. There is a resounding consensus emanating from the citizenry that Canada’s status quo is contrary to the general will. Moving forward, the Conservative Party should, as I have addressed in a previous article, must undergo a sincere introspection to recuperate authentic conservatism. 

In 2019, both the CBC and Global News reported on a Leger Poll that conclusively found that a vast majority of Canadians want fewer immigrants, citing their concern over the government’s ability to integrate them into Canadian society. 

63 percent of respondents wanted fewer immigrants, whereas 37 percent believed the federal government should increase current levels. 

The number in favour of reducing current immigration levels has increased from 2018. Two years ago, iPolitics’ Anna Desmarais discussed an Angus Reid poll that asked 1,500 Canadian adults to complete an online survey asking their opinions on immigration. The study found 49% of respondents, marginally less than half, wanted to reduce immigration. Migrant families were especially unpopular amongst those surveyed as they have a lower probability of contributing to Canada’s economy. 

Since ascending into power, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has aimed to maintain immigration at 300,000 annually. Although there has been some fluctuation between the years, the difference is incremental, and in 2019, Canada welcomed over 313,000 immigrants

CPC and Immigration 

The IRCC explicitly noted that in the next 15 years, immigration would account for 80% of population growth. There is a precise juncture between the populous’ desire and the government’s policy. The Conservative Party of Canada needs to remain congruent with its philosophical heritage and review the possibility of reducing arrivals to ensure adequate integration in Canadian society and following the people’s wishes. In the absence of such a plan, the party will fail to uphold what it’s labelled to represent. Diversity is a strength insofar as there is a unifying principle, but diversity without foresight on the atomized society it would create, has been warned against by multiple political theorists including the distinguished Baron de Montesquieu. The party ought to retain its ideological principles, or it will likely lose subsequent elections and will never have the opportunity to become the status quo governing party.

Arthur Milikh typifies the Montesquieu position in his article for The Heritage Foundation writing:

“As such, immigration policy should not depend on the numerical proportion of citizens versus immigrants. Rather, sensible policy contains a judgment regarding the self-confidence of a host people to assimilate its immigrants. Citizens should see their nation, as Montesquieu says, with “the same eyes.” They should possess “a single spirit, a single love of liberty,” without which factions vie for power alone. As we have seen in Europe, without unified sentiments, successful assimilation is impossible.”

While respecting the delineation of provincial and federal powers, the federal government can still set a maximum number of arrivals into the country. Thus, the drastic reduction would better equip the state to allocate appropriate resources to ensure integration in society. Further, immigrants, before obtaining citizenship, should undergo a measured examination on their respective values, as Ms. Kellie Leitch proposed in her leadership campaign.  


Family is the nucleus whereby community and Canada are but a large community, is strengthened. Moreover, the preservation of family values has incalculable effects on the assurance of societal longevity, ultimately uplifting any nation. The family unit is the most prolific means of passing culture, customs, and traditions, all of which ought to be protected despite the world’s trajectory of increased globalism. In arguably his most vital article for the Guardian, the late-great Sir Roger Scruton provides depth insight on the family, invoking Edmund Burke’s “little platoons” that imprint culture on the future generations. Scruton is also unambiguous in indicting contemporary conservatives for cowering from discussing families, noting:

“The primary institutions of civil society – marriage and the family – have no clear endorsement from our new political class.” 

The CPC should work across party lines to augment family benefits that would facilitate larger growth and the possibility to live on a single salary. This would naturally include expanding child tax credits and parental leave. Although ambitious, it would be paid via trimming bureaucracy and slashing foreign aid to wealthy countries. It would lead to augmenting our population without the logistical complications of importing foreign nationals.

Patriotism and Federalism

Patriotism ought to be espoused, and wholly defended, by the Conservative Party of Canada. Our national interests are primary and need to be addressed in any international dialogue and domestic legislation. Further, patriotism emboldens a common fidelity amongst Canada’s diverse populous. 20th-century British literary figure and political thinker, GK Chesterton,  developed a unique brand of conservatism that advocated for patriotism, without caving into detrimental chauvinistic impulses. For Chesterton, patriotism was a virtue because it involved an indispensable affection towards one’s nation. He also valued national sovereignty over the pressure for sprawling globalization that is commonly espoused in the metropolis. 

Federalism has been a remarkable characteristic that has contributed to shaping our national identity. Each province is respectively unique, and the epicentre of a distinct culture that should be observed by the federal government. Moving forward, Canada’s conservatives must support an augmented decentralization to increase provincial jurisdiction. Section 91 and 92 of the constitutions are optimal, but the federal government should concede more powers to the provinces.

Anthony Daoud

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