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Tyee Books

Seven Goals to Build the Conservative 'Dream'

TYEE LIST #14: Call it the Segal Test: Senator Segal's traits of a good Tory. Does Harper make the grade?

By David Beers 26 May 2012 | TheTyee.ca

David Beers is editor of The Tyee.

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Conservative Senator Hugh Segal: Still enjoying the party?

In Feb. 2011, three months before Stephen Harper's Conservatives achieved the sweeping power that majority status avails a government, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal published The Right Balance: Canada's Conservative Tradition. In his book Segal describes Harper as a party leader who sits "at the head of a family table where diversity is a compelling and enduring strength." Harper had united "warring factions" within conservative ranks "by uncommonly gracious and inclusive gestures and judgments..." Segal, a Red Tory fan of John A. MacDonald, praised Harper for "his outreach to Progressive Conservatives."

Later in the book, Segal suggests "a set of priorities about the Canadian dream" that Harper was now well situated to bring about. They are...

1. "to build a Canada where the accident of one's birth, disadvantaged or otherwise, does not limit one’s ability to succeed and contribute;

2. "to build a Canada where there is a greater commitment to excellence and better access to education and health care;

3. "to build a Canada where equality of opportunity and free enterprise sustain and strengthen each other;

4. "to build a Canada where the federal-provincial relationship reflects the needs and aspirations of our people and not just the vested interests of our political establishment;

5. "to build a Canada where the military can advance, at home and abroad, with logistic, combat and high-tech expeditionary capacity, with the right human, fiscal and material resources, and with the values of freedom, tolerance, democracy, non-aggression, national sovereignty and respect for fundamental human rights;

6. "to build a Canada where the government neither overstates its role nor understates its responsibilities, reflecting the historical reality that we are not a society of ideologies but a community of ideals, and a pragmatic and fair-minded one at that;

7. "and finally, to build a Canada where economic performance and social progress are linked through a clear understanding that you cannot have one without the other."

Segal goes on to say that this linking of economic performance with social progress "without wild swings to the left or right, is the Canadian way and at the very core of our economic and political culture."

A proposition, then, to readers of The Tyee, left, right and ever so tamely in the middle. And that goes for you Senator Segal, if you are looking in! One year into Stephen Harper's majority government, what letter grade do you think the prime minister should receive from Senator Segal? Feel free to provide substantiating facts and arguments to support your evaluation.  [Tyee]

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