An Open Letter to the Conservative Party of Canada

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Dear Stephen Harper and Co.,

It’s great to see you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the Canadian political and social landscape. I know you like to think of yourselves as vastly different from your Liberal and New Democratic colleagues, and the gay marriage debate is one way to underscore that. Look at that wide world of voters out there who don’t like the gays! Surely they will vote for you instead of those gay-friendly other parties!

I had the pleasure of hearing more about your party’s policies on the gay marriage issue this morning on the radio, and listening to the details gave me a great idea. Following your line of thought, I’ve come up with an idea: how about we legally change the name of your party, the “Conservative Party of Canada”, to the “Homophobic Party of Canada”.

Let’s look at the issues: historically, the term “conversative” has meant something different in the Canadian political landscape. There was a Conservative Party that merged with theProgressive Party back in the day, but for a long time a “Conservative” candidate meant a PC party member. You cannibalized that party, it’s true, but it was Brian Mulroney who killed it, and it’s disingenuous to take the name of another party in the hopes that people will see you as the same thing. For decades it belonged only to one group of Canadians. You can’t just take the name and expect to be legitimate. I’ve even heard people refering to your party members as “Tories”. That’s completely out of line; you’re not Tories at all. If we rolled the clock back 50 years no one would call you “Tories”. History is important!

Yours can still be a political party, don’t worry. I’m not even asking you to change any of your policies. I mean, you’ll still be an equal party among the other parties. We’ll make sure you have all the same legal rights as everyone else. You just can’t call yourself “Conservative”. It’s not really that much of a hardship, if you think about it. What’s in a name? And think of all the people who will feel better knowing that the term as they used to know it (see Joe Clark) will be legally preserved. We need time to adjust to these radical changes you’re proposing for us. Give us that time by not appropriating a name that you haven’t historically been given.

“Homophobic Party of Canada” is definitely descriptive. What, you don’t like the sound of it? Well, I don’t like the sound of “civil union”, but they tell me it’s legally equal to “marriage”, so I don’t see why you should complain. It’s still got the “Party of Canada” part to it, and you’ll still be allowed to campaign, collect funds, run candidates, and even be elected! Just like all the other parties! What more can you ask for, really. It’s all about preserving our historical definitions, after all. Right?

Best,

Rochelle

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