The ugly, ugly reasons behind the Ford/Moe love-in

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

After watching the nauseating bro-in that was Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s meeting with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, it would be pretty easy to write a lively, obscenity-filled tirade about how disgusting Canadian conservatives are.

But I can write that any time (and have, repeatedly, especially back in my blogging days). So instead, let’s just get to the point of what this meeting was about.

Doug Ford and Scott Moe are focused on two common goals. The first, and for them probably the most fun, is to put the boots to any non-Conservative politician any time an opportunity presents itself.

Since at least the Mike Harris era in Ontario, many if not most of Canada’s conservative politicians seem to despise members of our countries’ other political parties (Preston Manning’s Reform Party aside — those were just temporarily wayward children). Taking a page from U.S. Republicans of the Newt Gingrich/Common-sense Revolution ’90s, Canada’s conservatives have become hostile to co-operation, preferring instead this creepy, self-righteous hyper-partisanship. Because for them, that shit works.

Canada has changed a lot in the past few decades, in ways that possibly make it a lot less welcoming to some (though not all) conservatively inclined people. Multiculturalism is increasingly accepted. Abortion is legal. Gay marriage is cool. Religion is in decline. People with foreign last names read the evening news. Beards are back.

The speed of this social change, combined with economic insecurity caused by 40 years of neoliberal economic policies that make the rich richer at the expense if the rest, obviously makes a lot of people insecure, angry and even frightened. And today’s conservative politicians, better than any other political group, have the cynicism and skill to work with this.

It got them Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It got them governments in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Next Spring it might even get them Alberta back, though I wouldn’t rule out the possibility Jason Kenney’s idiot hobgoblins will implode on the campaign trail.

Conservatives Like Doug Ford and Scott Moe have learned they win when they’re total dicks. They obviously like to win. Everyone does. So if a couple blue-identified premiers can team up against a Liberal prime minister — especially an uppity, youthful-seeming, leftyish Frenchie — they’ll do it. It makes them more popular with their own constituents, and conveniently distracts  supporters from any hypothetical scandals or fiscal incompetence.

But that doesn’t mean Doug Ford and Scott Moe are only pretending to hate Trudeau’s carbon tax. Oh no. They hate it for real.

They hate carbon taxes because their knuckle-dragging backers in the business community don’t believe in climate change. They hate them because taxes have become the hill conservatives die on. They hate them because they don’t have a better idea to address this global problem.

They especially hate admitting — even to themselves — that they’re failing future generations and will be judged for it.

It’s sad to see an entire generation of conservative politicians sink into useless, spiteful and dangerous policy and rhetoric. But that’s what today’s conservatives have become — in Saskatchewan, in Manitoba and now, in Ontario.