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Canadian libertarians dream of Scott Reid as their first MP

The Canadian right wing is showing more signs of disunity. After being scandalized by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's speech last week, the libertarians are trying to break away from the Conservatives and establish a beachhead in Parliament—by persuading Tory MP Scott Reid to desert the government.

Writing in The Shotgun blog, Matthew Johnston argues that Reid is really a libertarian "true believer" who has been wasted by Harper.

...Reid is not just a libertarian, like self-described libertarian and Conservative MP Rona Ambrose, he’s a movement libertarian...a true believer...a Liberty magazine libertarian. He has not attempted to scrub clean his libertarian past, and has not publicly retracted his libertarian views, which include his radical and thoughtful opposition to drug prohibition, another favourite Western Standard topic ...

...He’s been patient, but, despite this patience, he has been marginalized in a party increasingly hostile to limited government ideas. His party has let him down, and with only a minor portfolio at risk, and likely no desperate need for a government paycheque, he has little to loss by speaking out against Harper’s betrayal of the conservative agenda.

...What Reid needs to do is what he has already done at least once in the past while an Opposition MP: publicly challenge the policy agenda of his party while reaffirming his support for the leadership. In 2001, he broke party ranks to vote against the Chrétien government's Anti-Terrorism Act, which had the support of the Canadian Alliance, arguing that the legislation violated civil liberties. In doing this he proved that one can thoughtfully dissent without challenging the party’s leadership.

If Reid were to be more outspoken, he would likely inspire other MPs (perhaps fiscal conservatives like Jason Kenney and Stockwell Day) and senior party officials to speak up either publicly or privately against the party’s socialist agenda.

...If I’m wrong, and Reid’s outspokenness was met with extreme hostility from Harper, he could make history by becoming the first sitting Libertarian Party member of parliament. While this would likely be political suicide, it might be a better option than spending an entire career marginalized and frustrated within a party hostile to economic and personal liberty. And, besides, how many of us are able to make history?

The Hook has found no response from Scott Reid to this invitation.

The Shotgun also offers a link to Homeless Cons, "Conservatives in search of shelter."

In related news, Peter Foster in the National Post is dissing right-wing elder Preston Manning as "Comrade Manning, science guru."

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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