September 22, 2003


Canada's conservatives shift right: Ontario's Tories hope to capitalize on a backlash against liberal court rulings before an Oct. 2 election. (Susan Bourette, 9/22/03, The Christian Science Monitor)

Increasingly, conservatives are trying to capitalize on a backlash by Canada's "silent majority" - those who think that the country has lurched too far to the left. If successful, it's a political calculus that could play out well beyond Ontario's borders.

"We're not a hippie nation," says Brian O'Riordan, an analyst with the independent political consulting firm, G.P. Murray Ltd. in Toronto. "Consistently, polls have shown that Canadians are deeply divided on social issues such as same-sex marriage. I think there's a recognition that there is some hay to be made on these issues on the campaign trail."

The shift to the right is a stunning departure for the Conservatives here, who have reigned over one of the most tumultuous political periods in Ontario's history - seven years of often violent protests and strikes in reaction to an agenda of deep tax cuts and smaller government. While the Conservatives, or Tories, have looked south to the Republicans in the United States for help in building their Common Sense Revolution, they have consistently governed as fiscal rather than social conservatives.

Since seizing the party leadership last year, Premier Ernie Eves portrayed himself as a centrist. However, with this election call, Mr. Eves has emerged as a born-again Anglican who can no longer countenance gay marriage.

Who'd a thunk it--a sign of intelligent life in a Tory party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2003 12:17 AM

Unfortunately it comes at a time when the electorate is just sick and tired of the Tories.

Posted by: Steve Martinovich at September 22, 2003 1:53 AM

Stick a fork in the country.

It's done.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at September 22, 2003 4:46 AM
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