Blue Tory

From Academic Kids

Blue Tories are, in Canadian politics, members of the former Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and current Conservative Party of Canada who are more conservative than the moderate "Red Tories", who tend to be the influential centrist faction in Canada's right-wing political parties. The "Blue" factions of the Canadian conservative movements are populated by ideological conservatives, who favour devolution of more federal power to the provincial governments, a reduced role for government in the economy, reduction of taxation and similar mainstream conservative ideals. Many are generally not as stridently socially conservative as their U.S. counterparts and may have ambiguous stances on morality issues. The "right-to-life" movement is much less vigorous in most of Canada than it is in the U.S.; it is not considered a bedrock issue for Canadian conservatives as it is in America. Blue Tory opinion on issues such as same-sex marriage or the de-criminalization of marijuana are not totally uniform, although many oppose these issues as being too radical of a departure from traditional norms and have suggested compromises.

Perhaps the best example of a Blue Tory administration in Canada was the "Common Sense Revolution" provincial conservative government of Ontario Premier Mike Harris. The Harris Tories were widely seen as extremely right-wing by Canadian standards in their economic policies and style of governance. Harris' government embarked on a number of conservative theory based initiatives including steep cuts to education, welfare, and Medicare, privatization of government services, health care and the forced amalgamation of municipalities. Provincial income taxes were also cut by 30%. However, it is often noted that despite the presence of well known social conservative members in the government such as former Ontario Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the Harris Tories did not address perrenial social conservative concerns in the province. Provincial policy surrounding publicly funded abortion clinics, the lack of funding for new religious schools (aside from a tax credit for private schools) or the growth of "covert" legal forms of euthanasia in the province's hospitals (such as the patients right to request the "Do Not Resuscitate" or D.N.R. option) were not reviewed by the Harris government.

Most Blue Tories are at least somewhat ideologically aligned close to the economic neo-conservative positions of the former Canadian Alliance and as such supported the merger between the PC's and the Alliance to form the new Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). Some notable Blue Tories include many prominent federal and provincial progressive conservatives such as former PC Party Leaders Peter MacKay, Jean Charest and Colonel George Drew, Conservative Party leadership contender Tony Clement, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and former Premier of Ontario Mike Harris. Based on his statements and actions made in the last election, some political commentators have suggested that the current Conservative Party and Official Opposition Leader, Stephen Harper, has also shifted his ideology closer to the Blue Tory mould as opposed to the social conservatism that was usually identified with the leadership of the Canadian Alliance and Reform Parties.

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