Editorial

You can't tell a political party without a program

September 15 1956
Editorial

You can't tell a political party without a program

September 15 1956

You can't tell a political party without a program

Editorial

Many non-socialists have been rejoicing at the CCF’s declaration, during its Winnipeg convention, that private enterprise ought not only to he tolerated but encouraged and that state ownership—to quote Premier Tommy Douglas of Saskatchewan —“is not the only means of enriching the lives of the people.”

To any vintage CCFer this is bitter heresy; to any vintage opponent of the CCF it is the fall of Satan.

Our own view is that the truth does not lie at either of these extremes, nor does it lie anywhere between them. To us, the important and dismaying fact is that still another of the now nearly invisible minorities in federal politics has chosen to submerge much of its identity in the great majority. And in so doing it has given up much of its reason for being, in the hope that since its turn at governing never came while it was different it may get its turn by being the same.

This growing sameness in the directions and professions of our national political organizations has tended to make Canadians, politically, one of the most inert peoples in the civilized world. In the average election or on the average political issue between elections, the Canadian voter has a reasonable variety of party labels to choose from. His choice of sets of principles, of clear philosophies clearly stated and clearly held to, is negligible. The Conservatives no longer dare to be conservative; they, like the CCF, have done a good and necessary job in trying to make the government respect the rights of parliament, but they have done little to devise or fight for a positive legisla-

tive program of their own. The Liberals no longer consider it worth the trouble to be liberal. 1 he Social Crediters pay only the most perfunctory lip service to social credit; for their votes they rely on oil, timber, hospital insurance and the Old Testament. The Socialists, in announcing their retreat from socialism, have only given formal recognition to a condition that was obvious long ago; they realize that socialism just isn’t popular in these times and these parts.

If we are to place a literal interpretation on the public attitudes and utterances of the main parties, their fundamental differences of belief are becoming fewer and fewer. About the only place a really furious dissenter can register a really furious vote of dissent against the existing order any more is with the Communists, and they are such a ridiculous, disloyal and seedy crew that they have placed themselves quite outside any serious discussion of domestic politics.

We ourselves feel no furious dissatisfaction with the existing order. Our point is that there is abundant danger in our plethora of satisfaction. If we are to remain a healthy nation, alert to our own shortcomings, if we are to recover some of the toughness of mind we seem to be losing with our new prosperity, we shall need strong rallying points for critical minorities. In their reluctance to provide those rallying points, and to nail their colors high above them, we do not think the non-conservative Conservatives, the non-socialist Socialists or the non-social credit Social Crediters have either served the people well or improved their own prospects.