Letter to Warren / The Centrists' Manifesto

In his musings, Warren Kinsella expresses frustration at the defeat of Sheila Copps, the victory of Carolyn Parrish, and the apparently dirty and underhanded ways that these things were achieved. At the end of one post, he says:

Honest to God: I’m feeling like I don’t really have a political home, anymore. I’m going to think about this one for a while, and I’ll get back to you.

This letter of condolense to Warren is open because this letter is less about him, it’s about me. I want to say that I understand fully what it feels like to be a person without a party. I’ve been experiencing this for the past fourteen years. It can be discouraging, and frustrating, but Warren, it can also be liberating.

I am and remain a Red Tory. I have always felt that the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was swept out from under my feet by the likes of Brian Mulroney, Frank Miller and Mike Harris, even before I was old enough to vote. I’m still embittered at the neo-conservatives and the social conservatives which have perverted my old-time, nation-building, truly-compassionate conservatism into a mean-spirited, me-first, market-knows-all vision that has no resonance with me. Like Larry Grossman and Bill Davis, I’ve refused to swallow my pride and become a “Blue Grit”, for a number of reasons. I’ve found temporary homes in the New Democratic Party (when Bob Rae was in charge) and, briefly, with the National Party of Canada, but I’ve never been fully comfortable.

I am, I believe, a principled centrist. I choose the middle way not because it’s the most electable way, but because, more often than not, it’s the right way. The extremes on both sides think they know everything; they detest ambiguity though they live in a very ambiguous world. I believe, firmly, that every individual, from socialists to social conservatives, have within themselves a portion of the truth, and an approach that borrows the best ideas from all is the approach that will take us further and make us stronger.

I am not mealy-mouthed or weak-willed. Because I am willing to compromise doesn’t mean I’m unwilling to commit. It’s not that I think that I know best, it’s just that I know that nobody knows best. I go through life knowing that everybody is fighting a hard battle, and they deserve my kindness and respect (though sometimes that’s not easy to give). And though I borrow my ideas from many sources, I stick to my basic principles that all ideas are worthy of some consideration. I am a centrist.

And though no political party sticks with me for long, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I am a political free agent. I am not married to one political party or set of ideals. The Liberals are not a football team that I have to cheer, even when they’ve fumbled the ball. In the past thirteen years, I have voted New Democratic Party, Liberal, PC and Green. I would have voted National if they’d run a candidate in my riding. I am proud of each and every one of my choices.

So, though I sympathize with your sense that you have no political home, I believe that you do: it’s called your brain. As a political free agent, you could go quite far. The left and the right on this continent have hard-fighting, hard-speaking pundits ready to rally people to their pulpits; the centrists have few. Somebody ready to speak up loud and proud for the political centre in this land, telling the loudmouths on the left and the right to stuff it and stop being so full of themselves, would be a refreshing political change.

I know you could do it, Warren. Are you interested?

blog comments powered by Disqus