Is there room in the 2019 election for “Green Tories”?

“Because protecting the environment is a core conservative principle. Whatever we inherit from those who became before us we must leave in better shape for those who come after us, and Conservatives have a proud legacy when it comes to managing Canada’s natural environment and improving Canada’s environmental performance,” said Scheer on Jun 19, 2019

Could we dare to ask, is there room for Tories in the Green Party of Canada?

Although often spoken of as diametrically opposed parties by principle, the Greens could be a valuable partner to the Conservatives. On the issue of immigration Green voters are not that far off from the Conservative base.

According to the most recent Leger poll, the Greens were the only other party, besides the Conservatives, to have a majority of voters (57%) who feel  there room for dialogue on immigration (unlike the NDP and the Liberals) Regarding revitalizing small businesses, and even anti-terrorism efforts, there is much both parties can agree on with.

Andrew Scheer’s keynote speech on his party’s climate policy could spark a conversation among Conservatives on whether there is room for an environmentalist or “Green Tory” position.

Scheer points out, Conservatives have been a historical driving force behind environmental conservation efforts as evident in the figures of John Diefenbaker and Brian Mulroney. John A. Macdonald was a pioneer in Canada’s National Parks system as Scheer points out and he was also a patron of the Geological Survey of Canada and the Botanical Society of Canada.

Conservatism is not only etymologically linked with “conserving” the environment, it is also a matter of principle and political philosophy.

Edmund Burke

As a political orientation conservatism has a tendency towards harmony, natural order and tradition. Conservatives should on principle be beholden to preserving a way of life that is close to the earth, and by extension with the very heart of this country. The philosophical father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, spoke of the need to be stewards the environment which he called “the kind and equal mother of all” and to guard against the effects of over-industrialization.

“Green Tories” are not a new thing on the Canadian political landscape. Preston Manning in 2006 tied “Green Conservatism” to the rural lifestyle of his home province of Alberta.

Author: University of Toronto Press
Date: 1998, based on his writings
George Grant, important Canadian philosopher who wrote “Lament for a Nation” and contributed to Canadian nationalism and Red Toryism

Philosopher George Parkin Grant envisioned that the environment was part of a greater hierarchy of being on which we depend upon, the one and same Conservatives frame their world view.

“Just like the English Romantics, who opposed the way the captains of industry were destroying the environment for a crude and short-sighted notion of profit, Tories hold a deep and abiding respect for the land and natural environment,” writes the George Grant Society. Conservatives and Greens disagree about many things, yet they are closer than it would appear. Both reject the Utopian impulse to find a government solution for every wrong. Both resist high personal taxes and promote small business. The conservative inclination to police morals is offset by an impulse to guard free speech and to promote freedom and democracy. Indeed conservatives and greens could bring out the best in each other. Conservatism tempers zeal; Greens puncture the complacency that is a natural stance of Conservatism.

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