Conservative party has more wiggle room on social values than you might think

Conservative party has more wiggle room on social values than you might think

By Shachi Kurl, Executive Director

Campaigns, be they of the marketing or political kind, require clear narratives to be successful. Could it be that we’ve fundamentally misunderstood the true narrative about the impact social conservatives will have on the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race?

The question appearing to preoccupy the political chattering classes these days is an existential one: In which direction will party members tilt? The presence of would-be leadership candidates such as Richard Décarie (he who claims being gay is a choice) and Derek Sloan (he who claims he doesn’t agree it’s a choice, but adds he isn’t a “scientist”) have focused an outsized amount of attention on the weight and clout of social conservatives in the party.

While it’s true that social conservative voters are found across the political spectrum, they are also most heavily concentrated under the CPC banner. In part, they may have been driven there after left-of-centre parties drew harder lines on social policy issues. Indeed, many Liberal Catholics found themselves politically orphaned once Justin Trudeau banned anti-abortion candidates from running for his party.

But the key point is not so much the size of the social conservative voting base of the CPC but the extent to which it is voting primarily on social values issues. New data released this week by the Angus Reid Institute makes for some counterintuitive revelations: It is actually social progressives who have more sensitivity to these issues when casting their votes.

For the rest of this piece, please view it on the Ottawa Citizen’s site where it was initially published.


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