Adovcacy News - Rebranding intolerance
February 5, 2004
The Alliance party was hobbled by their well-deserved reputation as a party of bigots; a reputation they had burnished since their inception as the Reform party. The Reform-Alliance-Conservative party hopes that the sacrifice of Mr. Spencer will convince Canadians that the new Conservative party is not poisoned by the presence of prejudice.
Interim leader Grant Hill (an Alliance party old-guard who links homosexuality to disease), appeared uncomfortable as he told reporters (Canadian Press, Feb. 4, 2004), "This is a disciplined caucus, a disciplined party. This is a party that follows strategy ... I expect this is a signal to the Canadian public of that."
He was not quite able to say that attitudes like Spencer's had no place in the party. Hill could only agree that the party's "strategy" of appearing to have shed its intolerance was being adhered to.
It fell to a former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament to articulate the conceit that this new party hopes to put over Canadian voters.
"Generally speaking, people across the country generally don't accept intolerance," Conservative House leader Loyola Hearn said.
But even Conservative MP's don't really believe the reformulated party is one of tolerance, as true progressives have been jumping ship to sit as independents or to join other parties.
The opening of this week's 3rd session of Canada's 37th Parliament revealed that the Alliance Party is alive, if not well, dressed in drag as Conservatives. The make-over isn't pretty.
In the past two days, politicians have presented 85 petitions in Parliament. A few have involved issues like health care, the fishing industry, mad cow disease, and star wars. But 65 of the 85 petitions (76.5%) were about marriage, with all but one, from the New Democratic Party, calling for the maintenance of marriage discrimination. The Alliance-now-Conservative party presented 61 of the 64 petitions against same-sex marriage.
The new Conservative party is trying to talk tolerance, but they have more than Larry Spencer to purge from their party if they ever hope to govern Canada.