Right in the centre - All about labels


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

There is a sweeping change across the world. In general, there is a shift to what some might call ‘the right.” In Alberta, it looks like Danielle Smith will become premier of Alberta and that is definitely what you might easily call a shift further right. The recent election of Pierre Poillievre as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is widely regarded as a shift to the right. Pierre crushed his opposition and the other parties, and Canada’s media are still wondering what happened. The Quebec election results gave the CAQ a huge win and that group is pretty hard line in opposition to traditional liberal or left wing views.

All that said, I don’t particularly like the term left or right. I would prefer that we view parties as correct or incorrect. The three political movements mentioned above are riding popular votes totals as they have picked paths that resonate with majority of voters in their particular constituency. I would call that the correct direction, rather than left or right.

If I were the federal Liberal party, I would be quite concerned that Justin Trudeau’s 2015 boast about “sunny days– sunny ways,” has been pretty much a disaster. Trudeau’s ability to screw things up spans a much wider range of topics than most politicians.

Remember when Trudeau loaded up his cabinet with women, some very competent people? He said, “It’s 2015”. Too bad he turfed two of the best women and they exited calling Trudeau a liar as they went out the door. He tried to help the environment, but ruined Alberta and other resource based provinces in the process. He pretty much screwed up the battle against COVID-19. In the pandemic aftermath, he maintained spotty mask and vaccine mandates long after science showed them no longer necessary. The Arrive Canada app, now abolished, never was any use. I would call that incorrect, not left or right.

On the international scene, Canada is being swept up in another “correct” movement. The protests in Iran, sparked by the death of a woman accused of not wearing her head covering correctly, are turning Iran upside down. The sympathetic protest in Toronto was said to be attended by 50,000 people. I would say that is a correct direction, not left or right politics.

This whole left or right thing is a big problem, as the labelling become political catch phrases soon become a club to beat your opponents. If a person studies Canadian political history, the founding party, the Conservative Party lead by John A. McDonald, ran on a protectionist policy with eastern Canadian industries being protected from their US competition by high tariffs. The Liberal Party stood for free, or freer, trade. That was more popular with western farmers, as they wanted to buy cheaper machinery from US manufacturers. While positions on trade and tariffs wandered all over the map for decades, it was the Conservatives under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney that brought in the much fairer GST and the US/Canada Free Trade Agreement and opposition came from the Liberals. Opposition to the FTA and GST, along with a few other issues, defeated the Mulroney government. But, in hindsight, the FTA and GST are better policies than the previous arrangements.

The point is that political positions and the accompanying labels that get attached may or may not be correct. Left wing or right wing may or may not be correct. Correct is correct, and that can only be determined by a certain moral compass, much thought, discussion and much debate and may only become totally clear by looking at history.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.