Admirable tactics from an ethics instructor

October 8th, 2008
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“… as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada…” – Sinclair Stevens, leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, on a CBC Radio One free party political broadcast

Dr. Freud made a revealing appearance in this slip of the tongue by the former Mulroney cabinet minister. One of the most virulent opponents of the merger between the federal PCs and the Canadian Alliance, Mr. Stevens is now interim leader of the PCP. While nothing should prevent Mr. Stevens and his soul-mates from organizing politically, their choice of name was disingenuous from day one. They see themselves as the true heirs to the old federal Progressive Conservative party and therefore adopted the “Progressive Canadian” name to give them the acronym “PC”. They also continued to use the old PC colours. Both of these tactics would appear to create a high risk of confusing voters.

Fact is, the PC party did merge and the impact of the new PCP was marginal at best. Still, no fair assessment of the facts should have allowed them to take a name so similar and use colours like those of the old PCs. In its wisdom, Elections Canada allowed all of this.

This allowed the PCP to act as spoilers in some ridings in the last two federal elections, almost singlehandedly assuring Anne McLellan’s re-election in Edmonton Centre in 2004. Conservative workers on the ground vouch for the fact that scores of seniors voted “PC”, thinking they were supporting Stephen Harper. Another report suggests that some voters went to the Liberals, as might have been expected. They are clearly too upset that philosophical conservatives now have prominence in the Conservative Party. Pity.

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By John Weissenberger