Today Erin O’Toole has released his full platform https://erinotoole.ca/platform/. Just waiting for Peter MacKay to release his at which point I plan to give my endorsement for next Conservative leader and hopefully next prime-minister. Liked a lot of the ideas, but felt the tone was a little too nasty. Yes Liberals and progressives have a tendency to be quite nasty, but I don’t think it works for Conservatives. Rightly or wrongly, Tories are seen as the nasty party so it would be nice if it was a more positive and upbeat platform. Below I will give the negatives and positives of platform.
Negatives: Asides from tone, there were really only two negatives which seemed like red meat for base and could act as attack ads.
1. Firearms policy – While it sounds innocuous itself, calls for simplified classification system could mean many assault weapons we’ve banned become legal again so while he is right classification system is fairly arbitrary, we are sort of in such a bad place that it’s a lose-lose. Best policy would be to ban all centrefire semi-automatics and re-classify them all as prohibited, but cost of buyback would be massive thus why no party leader has gone here. Making all semi-automatics either restricted or non-restricted based on length of barrel means some guns like AK47 or AR15 will once again be legal and since no one needs those to hunt and since most voters have limited knowledge of guns, this is not a hill worth dying on.
2. Defunding CBC – While on surface this seems reasonable as would defund the profitable part saving taxpayer’s money while keep CBC radio and French television; I believe this could hurt party in Atlantic Canada and North. In large markets, CBC English can survive without government assistance, but in North and Atlantic Canada, CBC is only one offering local television news and programming. So maybe better solution is defund in large profitable markets where private sector offers an alternative, but maintain in smaller markets where private coverage is insufficient.
1. Aboriginal policy – This is an area politicians have for far too long paid lip service to. While actually fixing it is not a huge vote winner, it is the right thing to do and could bring huge economic benefits to country. Aboriginals are one of the fastest growing groups and have a relatively young population. Allowing them to have greater say and ownership in resource development could be a huge plus and help reduce poverty in many of those communities.
2. Quebec policy – Tories have struggled in Quebec so having a strong plan that understands their unique culture and character can help party re-connect there. Reality is it is very tough to win a majority without doing better in Quebec.
3. General economic policy – While way too many things to list; I like the emphasis on market solutions over big government. Unfortunately I believe big government is in vogue despite having repeatedly failed in past so win or lose, we need someone to make the case for market based solutions.
4. Volunteer policy – I think one of the weaknesses Conservatives have is an image of lacking compassion and not caring for those struggling. I believe its a false stereotype, but one that nonetheless exists and so emphasizing this can help show Conservatives care about people. David Cameron in UK focused on big society not big government and so I think that approach would help improve image that Conservatives care about others, just have a different approach.