Why consider an Alliance/PC merger?
By Phyllis Wagg

Is there any wonder that Stephen Harper believes there is a Liberal conspiracy regarding same-sex marriage? Doesn't his leaking of the talks between a committee of federal Progressive Conservatives and a committee of Canadian Alliance members sound like a conspiracy with the media to destroy any moderate alternative to the Liberals?

Here is my perspective on what is happening with respect to this consuming desire to merge the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties.

Harper knows that his right-wing agenda will not fly with the voters in this country and he needs to destroy any moderate alternative to achieve his ends. He believes that to achieve power all he needs is to wait for dissatisfaction with the Liberals to reach such a level that the voters will turn to the Canadian Alliance. We know there are people in the P.C. Party that sincerely believe that defeat of the Liberals should be the only goal. I don't share that perspective. I need something to vote for that will provide good, but moderate governance.

The role of the media in this country needs to be objectively evaluated. Some media are saying that corporate Canada is forcing this proposed union on the two parties by refusing to support them financially. They should know, because after all, the media is a part of corporate Canada with a large investment in Paul Martin.

The media's negative and extremist reaction to the Orchard-MacKay agreement, made at the PCPC leadership convention last spring, and their glee over this plan for merger, calls into question their motives. Remember that what goes on air is an attempt to represent the wishes of the corporate or political bosses. From the perspective of corporate Canada (and the CBC), this whole scenario is necessary to counteract the increasing negatives regarding Paul Martin and the Liberals. It is naive to believe that the promotion of their unite-the-right agenda is anything more than a strategy to ensure Liberal one-party rule under Paul Martin.

The constant harping on the term "right" is enough evidence to indict the media on trying to destroy any semblance of a moderate alternative to the Liberals. If Harper thinks that he can win through this strategy, he is showing just how arrogant and lacking in political savvy he really is.

We are being sucked into a trap set by Harper that will be sprung by corporate Canada through the media. The question is whether our elite is foolish enough to be caught. Given the representatives appointed to negotiate, I don't believe they are; but the Ottawa bubble insulates the elite from the rest of us and we can never be confident that they will do what is best for the party and the country.

What the PCPC needs to do is to strongly and unquestionably tell Canadians that it is not a right-wing party, but rather that it is a middle-of-the-road, moderate, progressive conservative party.

With an M.A. in Political Science and a Ph.D. in History, Phyllis Wagg has taught at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. Her home is on Cape Breton Island.