Conservatives are still alive and well in B.C.
In regards to the recent letter by Piper Cote entitled “Lack of Conservative candidates encouraging” it might be interesting to approach it on two levels: we should first look at the inaccuracies regarding the term “extirpated” and, second, the difficulties surrounding the widespread and popular false narrative about conservatism the letter subtly implies and promotes.
The Oxford English dictionary defines “extirpated” as “root out” “completely destroy.” Using this definition as a guideline it is clear that conservativism and conservatives have clearly not been “extirpated.” That did not happen in the recent B.C. election.
The Liberal Party of British Columbia contains a considerable number of conservatives and those of conservative sentiment and, as Stephen Phillips political science professor at Langara College has stated, it is “A more conservative party.” The public is aware of this and understands that a vote for the Liberals will not be a vote for the left side of the political spectrum. The Liberals hold 29 seats in the B.C. legislature. So, no, Conservative candidates have not been “extirpated from our government.”
In addition, there is, of course, the actual Conservative Party of B.C. and, however ineffectual it has proven, it is a legal political entity within the province for whom a certain percentage of the people vote. Conservatism and conservatives exist in that form as well, albeit unelected, and although Cote does not address this, preferring to talk about official government, it is a reality. In fact, there has been no extirpation” of conservatives or conservatism in B.C.
The letter also clearly implies, and this is the part that appears “heartening” to some, that with all traces of Conservatives gone we will march into the sunny uplands of a new age and our future will “continue to advance.”
First, why would anyone want to see political diversity eliminated or, to apply the term used frequently here, “extirpated?” Why would that be “heartening?” We do best when there are more political viewpoints and parties, all of whom bring something to the table, even if we disagree with them, which is why we have a “loyal opposition” and opposition parties in the Canadian parliamentary system. Is that not something we want, rather than cheering the “extirpation” of opposing political viewpoints? Diversity shouldn’t be selective.
The tone of the letter also upholds, although it obviously does so by implication, the increasing false current political narrative, aided by endless memes and tropes, that conservatives, and those who believe in conservatism, are somehow equatable with repression or right wing extremism. This is fundamentally wrong. Conservatives are, if anything, well…moderate…conservative…not radical. We need to speak clearly and accurately and adhere to viable definitions when we exchange political opinions. If there is any way we will “continue to advance” it is that way.