Is Ontario More Conservative than Texas?
Why is it that in 30 days, more conservative agendas have been accomplished in Ontario, Canada than we in Texas, U.S.A. have for nearly three decades? The Republican Party has controlled the legislature, Lt. Governor’s, and Governor’s office for 14 of the last 25 years, and still we have seen very little movement on property tax reform, Robin Hood, pro-life laws, and others. When we conservatives complain about this lack of progress to our elected representatives, we’re shushed and told that we “just don’t understand.” With Joe Straus leaving the Speakership of the Texas House, the scramble has begun to find a new Speaker and already we’re seeing early signs that conservatives will have to put up with more snail’s pace progress, if any, on desperately needed conservative reforms.
Meanwhile, up north in Ontario, Canada, the exact opposite is happening. The Progressive-Conservative Party, led by Doug Ford, recently won a massive electoral upset. Ford ran on some key promises:
- Repeal their Carbon Tax
- Audit and cut government spending
- Deregulate beer sales
- Eliminate & replace Ontario’s controversial Sex-Ed program.
Since coming into power one month ago, Ford has been moving on these promises and more. In 30 days, Ford and his party are accomplishing more than the Republican Party has accomplished since controlling the Texas State Legislature. Why is there such a stark difference?
To be sure, there are some clear differences between the systems of government discussed here, but at the end of the day governing comes down to building coalitions to accomplish a common cause. Building and maintaining such coalitions requires leadership.
Most political parties, regardless of whether it identifies being a party of the right or the left, are coalitions of various shades of their movement. The elected members of the Republican Party are a coalition of moderates, libertarians, and conservatives. The body will, in general, agree to pushing a center-right agenda when in campaign mode but will disagree over execution once in office. This is where we encounter the gap between promises made and promises being kept, as the coalition bogs down in fighting each other over what to do now that they are in power. The conservatives and libertarians will argue that they must push forward on what was promised, while the other wings either grow scared or turn traitor.
Doug Ford, it appears, like other conservative leaders before him, has managed to circumvent this problem. He has managed to unite his entire coalition behind a conservative agenda, made several conservative promises to the voters, and has the coalition moving to deliver those promises. And all this in a somewhat swing province in an often referred to left of center nation. And, mind you, before Ford became the party leader this year, the Progressive-Conservatives were a pathetic, moderate bunch allegedly kicking conservative activists out. Yet here they are now moving like a conservative fighting machine on all cylinders, the exact opposite of what they were in January! It is truly sad to see such rapid movement occur in Ontario, Canada while we are bogged down in slow moving trench warfare here in the supposedly Red State of Texas.
The end of the Straus era presents the possibility of a bold new future for our State. To lead the Texas House into this new era, what we should be looking for is a Speaker who can unite all the factions of the Republican coalition in the House, from the Freedom Caucus to the moderate wing, behind a true conservative agenda. Someone who knows how to negotiate, deal, yet also stand firm on the promises the party made to voters during the election cycle and will work with Lt. Governor Patrick and Governor Abbott to deliver real and measurable results on those promises.
Let us therefore engage in conversations with our representatives, tell them what we are looking for in the next Speaker and what we want done. Let’s be a part of the conversation and choose a Speaker who will make the most of the opportunities that lie before us. Or are we willing to admit that Ontario, Canada is more conservative than Texas, U.S.A.?