What is a Red Tory?

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Lord Palmerston
What is a Red Tory?

The Wikipedia article [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_tory]"Red Tory"[/url] is interesting.  It seems that the term used today seems to mean "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" Conservatives (i.e. Belinda Stronach before she crossed the floor) and is often used for the old PC's - i.e. Mulroney was a Red Tory, as was Clark, Stanfield, Diefenbaker and the rest.  But in the past, it seems to have had a more specific definition - and if anything it seems to mean cultural conservatism and opposition to business liberalism. 

Quote:
Red Toryism derives largely from a British Tory and imperialist tradition that maintained the unequal division of wealth and political privilege among social classes can be justified, if members of the privileged class contribute to the common good. Red Tories supported traditional institutions like religion and the monarchy, and maintenance of the social order. Later, this would manifest itself as support for the welfare state.

Quote:
Many of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada's leaders have been labeled Red Tories, including Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Robert Borden, John Diefenbaker, Robert Stanfield, Joe Clark, and Brian Mulroney. Many others have been influential as cabinet ministers and thinkers, such as E. Davie Fulton, Dalton Camp, and John Farthing

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The dominance of Red Toryism can be seen as a part of the international post-war consensus that saw the welfare state embraced by the major parties of most of the western world. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Progressive Conservative Party suffered a string of electoral defeats under Red Tory leaders Robert Stanfield and Joe Clark. Pressure began to grow within the party for a new approach. Joe Clark's leadership was successfully challenged, and in the 1983 PC leadership convention, members endorsed Brian Mulroney who rejected free trade with the United States as proposed by another right-wing candidate, John Crosbie. Despite this early perception, the eagerness in which Mulroney's ministry embraced the MacDonald Commission's advocacy of bilateral free trade would come to indicate a sharp drift toward neo-liberal economic policies, comparable to such contemporaries as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

Stockholm

"i.e. Mulroney was a Red Tory"

Stop right there. If you think Mulroney was a "red Tory" then this whole thread is a farce. If Mulroney is a red Tory - what is Harper - a metrosexual?  

Lord Palmerston

I don't think he was at all.  I think he was a neoconservative, as I've stated in the public opinion thread. 

Quote:

If you read the academic literature on Canadian politics, Mulroney is described as a "neoconservative" - as he brought in free trade, privatization, etc.  He was the choice of the party's rightwing in 1983.  Maybe in 1984 he seeemed pretty big tent/non-ideological, but I don't think the Harper of 2008 was any more "scary" than the Mulroney of 1988 (indeed outside of Quebec Harper did better in the last election than Mulroney did.  The Libs won the popular vote in Ontario in 1988, but were behind the Tories in 2008). 

If there was a "Red Tory" presence under Mulroney it was more a carry-over from the Stanfield and Clark years than anything to do with Mulroney specifically.

David Orchard's hero Robert Borden is also deemed a "Red Tory" - and he was the most reactionary PM in Canadian history.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Extinct.

Wilf Day

Everyone's favourite Ontario Red Tory was Adam Beck, although he was not a modern "Red Tory" in the social liberal sense, nor a moral Red Tory like George Grant. He was just a great public entrepreneur, as principal founder and guiding genius of Ontario Hydro. Whether he could have been considered a Stalinist Tory I will leave to others. Regardless, he was Mayor of London Ontario, and MPP for London, when he led a movement of Ontario municipalities and boards of trade to get cheap electric power from Niagara Falls by a municipally owned, provincially financed co-operative hydroelectric distribution system. The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario began in a small way in 1910, but through Beck's aggressive promotion of "Power At Cost," thousands of new industrial, retail and household customers soon were gained. Beck was Minister Without Portfolio from 1905 to 1914, and first Chair of the HEPC in 1906. By charging initial low rates to induce a large demand, then building huge, efficient generating stations whose low costs permitted further rate reductions, Beck rapidly expanded his system and drove most of his private competitors out of business. He also browbeat balky municipalities, tyrannized provincial governments with his powerful following and abused his regulatory authority to hamper private rivals. Unfortunately, after it took power in 1919 the Farmer-Labour government cancelled his electric railway scheme. Also in 1919 Ontario Hydro signed its first collective agreement with its workers.

There were a few real Red Tories in Diefenbaker's cabinet: Alvin Hamilton certainly, arguably Mike Starr, maybe Howard Green. 

A more recent Red Tory was Richard Hatfield, premier of New Brunswick.

There may still be one or two in the cabinets of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, I don't know.

Stockholm

In short a red Tory (back when such a thing existed) was the Canadian equivalent of a Christian Democrat in Europe.

Cueball Cueball's picture

A red tory was the kind of conservative one had when the ideological architecture of western society was such that certain kinds of infrastruture and social support apparatus were considered to be a given upon which society was managed. Loosely these ideas were arranged around Keynsian economics. The politics of the day were not about wether or not having government secured "social safety net", or wether or not government intervention in the economy was a good thing, but how much and to what purpose. This fundament of the philisophical political outlook was shared, to a greater or lesser extent, by all parties within the mainstream discourse. 

Enter neo-liberalism. After much effort those who benefit most from having deregulation, and unhampered ability to extort and exploit the class structure of society managed to shift the ideological underpinnings of society to such an extent that political discourse was formed around the notion that regulation interfered with the "ingenuity of the market", and deficit is a terrible thing, and big government and taxes must be eliminated, except of course for anything to do with the military and the "justice" system. This fundament of the philisophical political outlook is shared, to a greater or lesser extent, by all parties within the mainstream discourse. 

As a result "Red Tories" are indeed extinct, their brand now taken up by "Blue-Lefties", like Jack Layton, whose father was indeed of the former.

Centrist

My take:

PC's - blue tories/red tories

Libs - blue libs/red libs

NDP - blue NDP'ers/red NDP'ers

And a blurb/middle ground in-between these political charactarizations. 

With that as a background, during the post-war 1945 - 1980 period, these charactarizations remained relatively constant or stagnant.

With the right-wing Reagan era circa 1981 and thereafter, the political pendulum began to concurrently shift to the right in Canada, as well, and has shifted in that direction ever since.

In his day, Mulroney could be characterized as a bit to the right of red tory Joe Clark, but he was certainly not in tune with the then rural so-con PC right.

Remember, we are looking back in restrospect at a different political era (pre-1981) when the entire Canadian political system was more to the left.

Lord Palmerston

I would say Diefenbaker is really the classic example of a Red Tory.  He was known for championing of the "little guy" and was certainly no friend of the Bay St. establishment and brought in a Bill of Rights, gave First Nations voting rights and was supportive of welfare state measures.  On the other hand he was a member of the Orange Order and was hostile to bilingualism and opposed the maple leaf flag because he thought it undermined the country's British heritage.

When he first ran for office, he actually ran to the left of the business-friendly St. Laurent Libs.  But by the 1960s the Liberals had entered their brief period of being "rightwing social democrats" and I think it's fair to say he was to the right of the Libs in the 1962, 1963 and 1965 elections.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And in my opinion, Layton is to the right of any of those guys, when judged on the standard of the period. Lets at least get our compass bearings set on true north, before we go anywhere.

Will Hiscock

I would have to say that Danny Williams is a Red Tory.  I didn't believe it before he was elected, but he has been a far better leader then any NDP government that comes to mind.

low income drug plan to eliminate a major hurdle to moving to employment for many with cronic conditions.

Maintained a fully funded freeze on tuition, which keeps NL as the cheapest place to get a degree.

Fought against big oil and the federal government to ensure we actually could do some of the above.

Went strait after pulp & paper when they tried to shut down but keep their property and lease rights (something central Canada should consider...)

No, he hasn't addressed some very significant problems like the potential loss of one of the world's great sources of food in the Grand Banks, but if I have to get stuck with a capitalist... at least it's one that admits that upfront (unlike the NDP) and tries to ensure fairness within the system.

Also might note that he worked to have NDP MP Jack Harris elected, and that was not just about his ABC campaign, as he also helped Jack in his very close bid for Mayor of St. John's some years ago.

Stargazer

Danny Williams rocks. From his opposition to Harper, I didn't even know he was a Con.

 

Dalton Camp was a Red Tory, and I admired him greatly. 

Tommy_Paine

 

"Unfortunately, after it took power in 1919 the Farmer-Labour government cancelled his electric railway scheme."

 

Part of that scheme survived as the London and Port Stanley Railroad,  which was revamped and electrified in 1914.  It lasted as a commuter line until the 1950's.  The towers used to hold the power lines stood until the 1970's.  A walk down this line, first built in 1855, and as such one of the oldest in Canada,  will show to the carefull observer the changes in construction techniques and materials from the original 1855 construction and the 1914 Beck renovations.

Not germain, I know. But heck.

 The only Tory I might reserve a soft spot in my heart for was Dief, perhaps.  And that is mostly for choosing the Maple Leaf to drape his coffin instead of the Union Jack.   

Other than that, making distinctions between this flavour of tory or that strikes me like making distinctions between this flavour or that of dog shit.

In the final analysis, it's all bad.

 

Stockholm

"Dalton Camp was a Red Tory, and I admired him greatly. "

The Dalton Camp that people know and love was one that emerged in the 90s after he had a heart transplant. He wasn't always such a so-called red Tory. When he led the charge to dump Diefenbaker - it was at the behest of the Bay. St. establishmentwho wanted a more pro-business leader. In the 80s he was one of Mulroney's closest confidant and a major strategist in the pro-free trade campaign of 1988.

Farmpunk

Me.

Tommy_Paine

Really, Farmpunk?

I'm a fiscal conservative-- or at least regard myself as such-- but I don't believe, as all colour of tories do, that the Family Compact has to riegn supreme over democracy.

But then I have a slightly different deffinition of "tory" than I think most do.  

Lord Palmerston

Stockholm wrote:
In the 80s he was one of Mulroney's closest confidant and a major strategist in the pro-free trade campaign of 1988.

Then again, having Dalton Camp as a strategist is touted as an example as to why Mulroney was so "red" compared to today's Conservatives.  

Lord Palmerston

Cueball wrote:
A red tory was the kind of conservative one had when the ideological architecture of western society was such that certain kinds of infrastruture and social support apparatus were considered to be a given upon which society was managed. Loosely these ideas were arranged around Keynsian economics. The politics of the day were not about wether or not having government secured "social safety net", or wether or not government intervention in the economy was a good thing, but how much and to what purpose. This fundament of the philisophical political outlook was shared, to a greater or lesser extent, by all parties within the mainstream discourse. 

Enter neo-liberalism. After much effort those who benefit most from having deregulation, and unhampered ability to extort and exploit the class structure of society managed to shift the ideological underpinnings of society to such an extent that political discourse was formed around the notion that regulation interfered with the "ingenuity of the market", and deficit is a terrible thing, and big government and taxes must be eliminated, except of course for anything to do with the military and the "justice" system. This fundament of the philisophical political outlook is shared, to a greater or lesser extent, by all parties within the mainstream discourse. 

As a result "Red Tories" are indeed extinct, their brand now taken up by "Blue-Lefties", like Jack Layton, whose father was indeed of the former.

That's a good point - so-called Red Toryism was more ideologically suitable prior to the rise of neo-liberalism in the early 1980s.  I wouldn't classify Bill Davis or Joe Clark as being Tories who rejected "liberalism" on philosophical collectivist grounds (i.e. like George Grant), nor were they particularly "traditionalist."  They were just centrists by the standards of the day, but would be downright leftwing compared to the Liberals and Tories of today (and maybe the NDP as well).

As for the Liberals of the 1960s being to the left of today's NDP - that's probably the case.  The stuff that came out of the 1961 Kingston conference could be classified as "rightwing social democracy" by today's standards.  But with neoliberalism, social democracy has itself lost its policy distinctiveness, as the Third Way means a "third way" between traditional social democracy and neo-liberalism.

Stockholm

"Then again, having Dalton Camp as a strategist is touted as an example as to why Mulroney was so "red" compared to today's Conservatives.  "

So then what conclusion do we draw from the fact that Mulroney had a "laying on of hands" with Harper before the last election and happily gave him advice and apparently thinks that Harper is a nice "chip off the old block"?

Max Bialystock

Diefenbaker was by today's standards, a leftist.  He opposed American imperialism, far more than the NDP has.  He was a supporter of justice (i.e. he spoke out for Stephen Truscott).  He was opposed by Bay Street.  He increased social spending.  He's probably the most progressive PM we've ever had.  If he were alive today he'd be an NDPer.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if there was American interference in the 1963 election, on behalf of the Libs.  So I don't understand why some here are saying he was to the right of the Libs in the 1960s.

Wilf Day

Max Bialystock wrote:
It wouldn't surprise me at all if there was American interference in the 1963 election, on behalf of the Libs.  So I don't understand why some here are saying he was to the right of the Libs in the 1960s.

It would surprise me if the Americans didn't find some way to funnel CIA money to the Liberal Party in 1963. At the time, it was not public knowledge how the CIA used layers of foundations to hide their subsidies to pro-American parties around the world. The only question is, did the Liberals know they were getting CIA money at the time? Possibly not?

 

adma

Funny how the name Flora MacDonald hasn't turned up in this thread...

Farmpunk

Garth Turner?  Or is he just a red, blue and green tory?

Wilf Day

Max Bialystock wrote:
Diefenbaker was by today's standards, a leftist.  He increased social spending.

Specifically, he did two things that laid the groundwork for Canada's medicare system:

1.  He created Canada-wide hospital insurance, which had existed only in Saskatchewan. This took part of the cost of the Saskatchewan hospitals off the backs of the Saskatchewan taxpayer, freeing up funds for Tommy Douglas to create a full health insurance plan in Saskatchewan, as he did.

2.  He appointed his friend Emmett Hall, another Red Tory (see his biography "Emmett Hall: Establishment Radical") to be chair of the Royal Commission on Health Services, which recommended (no surprise to Dief, I'm sure) the establishment of our universal health care system.

 

 

Lord Palmerston

I think most would agree that Dief ran to the left of the St. Laurent Libs. But was he to the left of the Libs in the 1962, 1963 and 1965 campaigns, Wilf?

 

Wilf Day

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Dief ran to the left of the St. Laurent Libs. But was he to the left of the Libs in the 1962, 1963 and 1965 campaigns?

I don't have the time to debate both sides of that question tonight, as I could.

If you can access the House Journals from 1963, you can see if I am right that Colin Cameron and one or two other New Democrat MPs refused to vote non-confidence in Dief's government as it fell on Feb. 5, 1963. They saw him as being to the left of the Liberals. The majority of the caucus saw him as having done too little to help the economy and the unemployed in the recession of 1960-61 and its aftermath. 

And I have not yet had time (it's only been out ten years; maybe next month) to read Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John G. Diefenbaker, by Denis Smith. I'd respect his view.

Skinny Dipper

Red Tory: a Blue New Democrat.

I try to think of a historic political philosopher named Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  He presented his thoughts about the social contract between the individual and the polity (the political unit).  Each had its rights and responsibilities in making sure that society went well and the individuals could participate within a social order.  Hey, it was 20 years ago since I studied JJR.

 

I do think that a red Tory and a blue New Democrat can be similar in that those people who participate in politics can do so in different political parties.  A person can decide to be a red Tory and work on the left side of the Conservative Party.  The same person can also be a blue New Democrat and essentially work on the right side of the NDP.  In both cases, the individual recognizes that there is a role for him/her to participate in government,  The is a role for the government to participate in making the individuals' lives better.

Will Hiscock

Obama?

Will Hiscock

Red Tory: A Blue New Democrat.

Skinny D - yes the two can be politically similar - so one wonders - why blue dippers?  Just shit disturbers?  If I could find a party that could work close to my views AND was close to power - I'd be there.  I want action, not theory.  But I do want that action guided by theory.  I often wonder about this.  If the other parties accept the status quo, with adjustments, why arn't all the conservative dippers there? 

Or are most Dippers at heart anti-capitalists who just couldn't stand to admit it over the last 20 years, and so associated with the party, but pretended to be more "level headed" ie. accepted the basic BS of the political discourse?

Stockholm

"Diefenbaker was by today's standards, a leftist."

I'm not so sure that Dief's views on gay rights, abortion rights, bilingualism, multiculturalism, Quebec and British imperialism would qualify him as a "leftist" in the Canada of 2009.

Ze

Rogue Tory is a splendid book. It doesn't paint Dief as a red Tory though. Radical Tories by Charles Taylor (no, not the academic/philosopher Charles Taylor of Montreal, rather the former journalist Charles Taylor) gives some short biographies of some actual red Tories, who I think all tended to be from Ontario or Atlantic Canada. The term has lost all meaning today, since as Cueball says the times are different and this was a phenom from before neo-liberalism's rise. No one int he 70s or 80s would ahve called either Joe Clark or Brian Mulroney a red Tory. I haven't read it, but Heath MacQuarrie's autobiography claims to be the voice of a late-surviving red Tory. George Grant wrote the obituary of both red Torydom and the Diefenbaker challenge to corporate continentalism in Lament for a Nation. It's so dead that even Grant's family are no longer red Tories -- his nephew for instance being the bluest of Liberals as current leader of that party.

"One law for the lion and the ox is oppression" - Blake

adma

Farmpunk wrote:
Garth Turner?  Or is he just a red, blue and green tory?

An opportunist out of convenience.  And back in 1993, wasn't he viewed as a little on the right wing of the party?

You might as well call Belinda Stronach a Red Tory as well.

Still, as I offered elsewhere, there's the case of Patrick Boyer, and how his 2008 candidacy vs Michael Ignatieff made this an extraordinarily rare recent situation where a certain New Democrat sensibility might actually have found the Tory standard-bearer more palatable.  (Though even that's nothing compared to the 1988/1993 Tom Wappel vs Reg Stackhouse contests.)

St. Paul's Prog...

Wilf Day wrote:
If you can access the House Journals from 1963, you can see if I am right that Colin Cameron and one or two other New Democrat MPs refused to vote non-confidence in Dief's government as it fell on Feb. 5, 1963. They saw him as being to the left of the Liberals. The majority of the caucus saw him as having done too little to help the economy and the unemployed in the recession of 1960-61 and its aftermath.

I remember Diefenbaker quite well.  By the early 60s, the Liberals had moved left.  Dief was seen as more rightwing, but rightwing populist and socially conservative, which is why urban elites abandoned the Tories and went to Pearson.  He and his caucus were very reactionary on bilingualism.   He made the Prairies a Conservative stronghold and also killed the idea of "Tory Toronto" as well.

Lord Palmerston

One measure of relative "left/right"-ness in the Diefenbaker years - traditionally manual workers and union members vote to the left of the general public - with the Tories doing worse than average, the NDP above aveage and the "classless" Liberals pulling equally from all.

Here are some 1962 stats:

Conservatives: 26% from union households, 40% from non-union

Liberals: 38% from both union and non-union

NDP: 22% from union families, 8% from non-union

And for manual vs. non-manual occupations:

Conservatives: 30% manual, 41% non-manual

Liberals: 39% from both manual and non-manual

NDP: 15% from manual workers, 8% from non-manual 

Sean in Ottawa

To answer the question:

A right wing dinosaur sunning itself without sun screen.

A Blue Tory would be one without a coat in February.

Will Hiscock

The face of all the Tories who just watched tier little Stevie bring the country back to deficits.

And I stand by my statement that Williams is a red tory.  Honestly, I wish the NDP were a little bit more red tory federally.  They are never going to be red enough for me, but if they pushed economic issues and wasteful spending more often they might win some more seats.  Fiscally responsable, Canada 1st policies and a willingness to look at nationalization might well appeal to Canadians right now.  Danny has managed to sweep NL with that, and that's been while times were goodand we were paying equalization to Ontario. 

Also, an outside enemy does well for party unity, and as the federal NDP probably can't attack Ottawa, it may as well be a global system which has seen us revert to 19th C resource exporters at the whim of our overlarge neigbours to the south.  As this gets worse a lot more people will be wondering why we didn't insulate ourselves better from the downturn down south.

Stephen Gordon

The story as it was told to me back when I was an undergrad poli sci student:

What distinguished Liberals and Conservatives in the early years of Confederation wasn't what we would recognise as left-right differences, it was attitudes towards the British Empire and the US. Conservatives were pro-Empire, and Liberals were pro-US. Within those groupings, both parties had left- and right-leaning tendencies. Red Tories were pro-Empire (or at least anti-US) and left-leaning.

The distinction ceased to have meaning in the 1960's when the link to the UK became meaningless, and the Liberals adopted a nationalistic stance.

al-Qa'bong

Enter Walter Gordon.

 

If we could get past partisan quibbles and get to what Canadians really want from government, a leftish party that could embrace the views of George Grant, Tommy Douglas, Dalton Camp and Walter Gordon would probably be successful.

 

The problem is: who today represents this viewpoint?

Wilf Day

al-Qa'bong wrote:
If we could get past partisan quibbles and get to what Canadians really want from government, a leftish party that could embrace the views of George Grant, Tommy Douglas, Dalton Camp and Walter Gordon would probably be successful.

The problem is: who today represents this viewpoint?

Lots of New Democrats, the Council of Canadians, and the odd lonely Liberal nationalist (are there any left?) and Red Tory (are there any left?) John Godfrey made some of the right noises.

 

Coyote

So, NDP name change: Canada's Blue Democrats?

Will Hiscock

I think that's dead on.  Not pro-Empire, but with an ability to stand up to American pressure.  Lefty and pro Canadian.  Believe me, as the economy gets worse, and is cursed by others, this view which might seem very 60s, 70s to us now will rise agin.  The NDP should get out front.  Don't be afraid to be anti free trade, the Canadian people won't be far behind.  Another +8% to the unemployment numbers and you will see alot mor of this.  This is also true of new iMmigrants - they choose Canada for a reason - ie. they did not want to live in the USA.  Also, you could not have a better dividing line with the Liberals - given that Iggy is in charge....

Coyote

Seriously though, I think I probably fit the mold of a "blue" New Democrat. I believe is fiscal balance, don't like borrowing from the banks (with the caveat need for cyclical stimulus), and think easy credit is part of what has got us into the consumerist/environmental mess we're in. I'm pretty pragmatic, but think that the social democratic mixed economy is the best model for advancing the common good.

Coyote

I don't think that running on anti-US populism is gonna have much traction in Canada while Obama is President. I mean that. Doesn't he poll higher in Canada than any Canadian federal party leader? I'm sure I read that.

I don't think the point is to be anti-US. I think the point is to say that we're open to the world, but we believe that it's time for strong regulation. Might want to dust off some of the arguments that scared the Libs off of letting the banks merge in the 90s. Really if it wasn't for that fight, Harper wouldn't be able to brag about our strong banking regulation. They wanted to do away with regulations altogether.

adma

To revisit this thread: before Paul Martin recruited him as a candidate in 2004, wasn't Ken Dryden commonly identified as a Red Tory?  To the point where his name was even bandied about as a potential "moderating" leader for the fledgling Canadian Alliance in 2000...