Conservative Convention

Putting aside Maxime Bernier’s sudden departure, here are my thoughts on a few of the resolutions passed and/or defeated.

Tax Changes

I do support simplifying the tax code as well as having a non-partisan commission similar to the Carter commission do a thorough review so disappointed those didn’t pass.  I do support making the tax system flatter in terms of fewer brackets, although the overall progressiveness (In terms of ratio between lowest and highest bracket) should remain the same.  Since we have three brackets (26%, 29%, and 33%) for the top 10%, I don’t see why we couldn’t collapse those into one which would make our tax form simpler meaning fewer mistakes, and easier to detect those who are evading.  I do not however support a full flat tax as this would either mean raising taxes on lower income individuals if a revenue neutral point was chosen or the tax cut for those not on the bottom bracket would be so large it would blow a huge hole in the budget.

Gun Control

I am glad the one resolution on gun control was vague as I am opposed to any further loosening of our gun laws (I will have a more detailed post on this sometime later), still I do not see gun ownership as part of our heritage.  Hunting perhaps, but I reject the idea we have a gun culture in Canada and certainly oppose any resolution which would declare gun ownership a fundamental right.  I am not suggesting all guns be banned, but ownership should remain a privilege and changes made as necessary.

Abortion Resolution

While I am glad it got defeated, very disappointed 47% endorsed it.  This is a settled issue and regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is time to move on.  Like many social issues, it is quite divisive so debate it once thoroughly, but once the decision is made move on.  This just plays into the idea the Conservatives are a party stuck in the past.

Carbon Tax

I personally support a carbon tax myself provided it is revenue neutral, but realize I am very much a minority amongst those who are on the political right.  I just hope if the Tories lose in 2019, they will re-evaluate their position as I don’t believe doing nothing on climate change is acceptable and the cheapest most market friendly way to tackle it is a revenue neutral carbon tax as opposed to more red tape.  And as an added bonus we can cut taxes elsewhere to make Canada more internationally competitive in terms of overall tax structure.  I believe that in 20 years from now, this will be a settled issue and many will look back wondering why it was so controversial.  Certainly here in BC, there is no widespread opposition suggesting a lot of the fears about it are just that, not ones that will likely materialize.

Supply Management

Probably should have voted on this, but at the end of the day I don’t believe we should dismantle it without getting something in return from the US.  Yes it goes against the idea of free markets, but free markets only work when all sides follow it.  If one side is protectionist, there is not a level playing field so until the US and EU quite heavily subsidizing their agriculture it is either maintain supply management or start subsidizing ours and the former is cheaper than the latter.

Birthright Citizenship

I believe the party’s decision to support eliminating birthright citizenship is a mistake and I hope this does not make it into the platform.  There were only 300 birth tourists last year and that is half what it was in 2016 so while ending birthright citizenship may solve this problem, it will create a much larger problem.  In much of Europe, you have many born there who are not citizens because their parents were not and this has led to greater exclusion so I support keeping birthright citizenship.  Those coming here for birth tourism already have to get a visa and go through CBSA so they get screened and they have to pay for it too.  I am glad Andrew Scheer promised those born to those who are here legally will still be Canadian citizens and I hope the party thinks through the dangers of changing this.  Yes most countries don’t grant birthright citizenship, but most countries also weren’t built on immigration like we were.  I think when approaching immigration issues the Tories need to be very careful.  Yes discuss them but take extra care not to sound intolerant.  Our leaders are supposed to set an example and as we’ve seen with Trump in the US, those that play off intolerance only encourage others to openly act on their bigotry since it is seen as socially acceptable and we cannot go down this road.  I am no fan of identity politics as I believe it attempts to divide rather than unite us, but if it is played, I believe playing it in favour of historically disadvantaged groups as the Liberals are doing is less harmful than if in favour of historically advantaged groups as some conservatives are doing.

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