Canada's Ties To The Council For National Policy

Posted on Tuesday, February 16 at 09:16 by NAUWATCH

By Bene Diction

I think many Canadian Conservatives would be dismayed if they knew the extent of the economic and ideological ties to religious right influencers in the US. The assumption is often made that Christians, particularly evangelical Christians, adhere to the rigid theocratic and dominionist beliefs of men such as James Dobson, Tim LaHaye, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Fawell. The harder core messages out of the US religious right is softened and fed to the Canadian public by Canadian leaders in bite size pieces under the guise of social conservatism.

While this 2006 document needs an update as key players move around, the bedrock and ties have not been broken.  Some of those named have moved into more influential positions in Canadian federal and provincial politics.

In 1997, Stephen Harper was invited to speak to the tri-yearly Council meeting being held in Montreal. His speech is one of the few to this group of about 500 which has been made public.

During the CNP appearance, Mr. Harper made a number of statements denigrating Canada and Canadians: “Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the word,” said Mr. Harper;31 “In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don’t feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don’t feel bad about it themselves, as long as they’re receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance,” continued Mr. Harper.32 Mr. Harper was also critical of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “[W]e have a Supreme Court, like yours, which, since we put a charter of rights in our Constitution in 1982, is becoming increasingly arbitrary.”33

On specific policy issues, Mr. Harper demonstrated his contempt for ideas at the heart of Canadian society, including public health care and international cooperation. For example, the Charlottetown Agreement, he explained to his audience, included “some [things] that would just horrify you, putting universal Medicare in our constitution, and feminist rights.”34 Mr. Harper also showed dissatisfaction with Canada’s strong support for the UN, and the pride Canadians take in their country’s status at the UN: “This distresses conservatives like myself quite profoundly, but I will warn you, it’s a widespread view, and I will always say, one that could only be maintained as long as [Americans] basically provide us with military protection.”35 Mr. Harper also provided the CNP audience with a glimpse of his opinion of future political reform in Canada. He called the Reform Party a “conservative Republican” organization that espoused “a constitutional agenda that challenges the way our entire political system operates.”36 Most revealingly, Mr. Harper shared his view that the Reform and Progressive Conservative parties would ultimately merge and “[o]ne party is going to win out….And Reform is not going to lose that contest in the long term.”37

…“[t]he individual views of Conservative candidates matter very much in a party that promises to hold more free votes in Parliament on social and moral issues.”179 - David Laycock, Simon Fraser University.

As conservatives in Canada move to entrench their grassroots organization through social conservative leadership training initiatives like those undertaken by the Manning Centre, Canadians should remain vigilant lest social conservatives already supported by a vast network of American organizations turn their influence into government power.

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