Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Canada: choosing itself today

After Prime Minister Paul Martin got the Golden Boot Award in the form of a vote of no-confidence some months ago, the Canadian Federal Election finally goes down today. Warming up in the bullpen is Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, who's suited up, tanned (as much as a guy can be tanned in a Canadian January) and ready to take the field. Eleventh-hour poll numbers look good.

For "social conservatives" like me, Mr. Harper is not a dream candidate, nor is his Party robustly conservative by any stretch. But the only two alternatives are a) The Liberal Party, which is robustly liberal by every stretch; and b) radical third parties such as the Christian Heritage Party, which have been (understandably) formed as a protest vote against the pro-choice/pro-gay marriage tidal wave that has washed over Canada.

Not only will thes will never win Federal elections, they steal votes from solid candidates who can. Sometimes the devil urges us to Vote Pure.

Despite the fractious, angry reaction I'll no doubt get from many Canadian pro-lifers, I support neither option.

I think the only sane approach is to work within the only Party that can actually effect change in a salient way "on the ground," as they say nowadays. While the herd of blue-suited cats led by Mr. Harper is not yet fully or uniformly converted to the sanctity of human life or the defense of natural marriage, one can still vote Conservative and sleep very well at night, thank you. Such an incremental strategy was endorsed by Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae.

The Liberals are the problem. But tiny third parties who can't get more than a sliver of the votes are the false, ultimately ineffectual solution. On this score, I recommend you pick up what David Warren lays down.


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