What follows is a link to a fantastic article by Gerry Nicholls that provides the justification for independent candidates.
This is a brilliant article – note the following paragraph in particular:
“What we need to remember is that a political movement and a political party are two completely different creatures, with different aims and goals. Political parties focus on winning elections and holding onto power. A political movement, on the other hand, needs to focus on winning the war of ideas.”
“Winning the war of ideas
A friend of mine once told me his favourite saying was, “It’s not who’s right, but what’s right.” If I had god-like powers I would make that expression the official motto of Canada’s conservative movement. I say that because “Is it right?” is such a key question.
That’s the question small “c” conservatives, those of us who believe in smaller government and freer markets and individual freedoms, should ask ourselves whenever deciding whether or not to support a government policy. If a policy isn’t right, then we conservatives must oppose it no matter who is behind it, Liberal or Conservative. But if a policy is right then we must likewise support it no matter who is behind it, Liberal or Conservative.
In other words, when it comes to ideas, we conservatives should be non-partisan, judging issues strictly on their merit regardless of the party label attached to them.
Not everyone agrees with me on this. In fact, some conservatives are putting forward a different view. They say a) we conservatives must dilute our principles and values for the sake of popularity and b) our main goal should be to help keep the Conservative party in power and the Liberals out. While I understand where these people are coming from, I think they are absolutely, 100% wrong.
The minute the conservative movement gives up its principles, the minute it becomes nothing but a cheerleader for the Conservative party, is the minute the conservative movement will die. I, for one, don’t want the conservative movement to die. We have too much to do!
Somebody, for instance, has to speak out against the Conservative government’s massive ill-advised deficits which are adding to the debt burden our children will be forced to endure. If we conservatives simply adopt Tory talking points and refuse to criticize all the spending and borrowing, how will we be able to criticize a future Liberal government if it amasses huge deficits? In politics, credibility matters.
What we need to remember is that a political movement and a political party are two completely different creatures, with different aims and goals. Political parties focus on winning elections and holding onto power. A political movement, on the other hand, needs to focus on winning the war of ideas.
For conservatives winning the war of ideas means convincing Canadians that big government is not the answer to all our problems and that only freer markets will ensure future growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, right now there is a void in Canadian politics: there’s no truly non-partisan, independent conservative organization slugging it out in the political trenches to help win the war of ideas. In short, no one is forcefully speaking out for free markets and less government.
Yes we have the Fraser Institute and other think tanks which do a great job of coming up with excellent ideas — but ideas are not enough. You need somebody skilled in the arts of political communication to take those ideas and package them, market them and sell them to the Canadian public. That’s how you win the war of ideas.
Certainly we have all the ingredients to create such a new organization. For instance, the emergence of the Internet as a communication tool means you can now reach many people quickly, efficiently and at very little cost. Politicians certainly have made good use of the Internet — think Barack Obama and Ron Paul — and so can the conservative movement.
Plus there are lots of people in Canada who would be willing to support a truly conservative advocacy group. Many of them are disillusioned Tory supporters, unhappy with the Conservative party’s failure to promote a conservative agenda. Right now no one is speaking for them; to put it in entrepreneurial terms, it’s a market waiting to be served.
It’s time for somebody to emerge and serve it.
– Gerry Nicholls is a writer and former vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition. This article is adapted from remarks delivered at a recent Fraser Institutesponsored policy briefing.“