Behind the smile

Scheer's social conservatism is code for bigotry

Meet the Conservatives’ new boss, same as the old boss
Photo: British High Commission

Andrew Scheer speaks in code. The new, cherubic-looking leader of the Conservative party is being touted as a younger political facsimile of his dearly departed, but hardly forgotten, philosophical mentor, Stephen Harper.

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Bereft of what could even remotely be described as a fresh idea, Scheer has instead recycled the predictable Tory gruel with sophomoric rhetoric, enthusiasm and, ultimately, success.

Apparently, the sole distinction between the transparently banal Scheer and the funereal Harper is that he smiles a little more often than the Borg-like former prime minister he so wants to emulate.

Scheer’s dimpled grin camouflages a Harper-like sinister sneer that surely lies beneath.

This is hardly a revelation, since Scheer was not only vaulted into the leader’s office by the same rabid reactionary forces that helped fashion Harper’s career trajectory from the National Citizens Coalition to the PMO, but, like his predecessor, he will be beholden to them.

Scheer’s dimpled grin camouflages a Harper-like sinister sneer that surely lies beneath. Hence the need for euphemisms to conceal the true character of the new Tory boss, who is essentially a clone of the old Tory boss.

In this regard, the familiar gaggle of pundits and parliamentary reporters have credited the powerful and now reportedly dominant “social conservative” wing of the Conservative Party for propelling Scheer to victory over the perceived front-runner, Maxime Bernier.

That politicians prefer the benign phrase “social conservatives” to describe these dangerously retrograde voters isn’t particularly surprising. That the Ottawa press corps opts, almost universally, to do the same habitually is the product, I suspect, of a shared political shorthand and an industry-wide impulse to self-censor for fear of offending by telling, you know, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Unrestrained by these pernicious conventions, I’m compelled to expose the plain, simple meaning of this sorry euphemism “social conservative” for the record.

Stripped of the corporate media’s palatable code, Scheer’s “social conservative” supporters:

  • abhor the idea that a man can love another man
  • abhor the idea that a woman can love another woman
  • abhor the idea that a man can love a man and a woman
  • abhor the idea that a woman can love a woman and a man
  • abhor the idea that a man can marry a man
  • abhor the idea that a woman can marry a woman
  • abhor the idea that gay couples can conceive, adopt and love children
  • abhor the idea that some “boys” discover they’ve always been girls
  • abhor the idea that some “girls” discover they’ve always been boys
  • abhor the idea that some “boys” undergo surgeries to transform physically into who they are
  • abhor the idea that some “girls” undergo surgeries to transform physically into who they are
  • abhor the idea that some people identify as neither boys nor girls
  • abhor the word “transgender”
  • abhor the idea of transgender washrooms
  • abhor the demand of people of various sexual orientations and genders to be addressed the way they want to be addressed
  • abhor the right of women to make choices about their bodies
  • abhor the idea that they’re legally prevented from shoving their evangelical so-called “pro-life” views down a person’s uterus
  • abhor the memory of Dr. Henry Morgentaler and physicians like him
  • abhor feminism and feminists
  • abhor the idea that climate change is a human-made phenomenon and that a carbon tax may be a reasonable collective means to help limit the damage
  • abhor the idea that David Suzuki has an encyclopedic knowledge of climate change, while clinging to the absurd notion that Rex Murphy has one
  • abhor the idea that Charles Darwin was right about evolution, instead of Noah and his ark
  • abhor the idea that a gun registry might save lives
  • abhor the legalization of marijuana
  • abhor the idea that capital punishment is inhumane and not a deterrent
  • abhor the idea that Western military interventionism in the Middle East and beyond has been a strategic and humanitarian catastrophe
  • abhor the idea of the redistribution of wealth
  • abhor the idea that their “Christian” beliefs are anything but
  • abhor the fact that it’s no longer 1957 and John Diefenbaker is no longer in charge

This anti-human, anti-science agenda is already being dismissed in presto post-leadership convention columns by revisionists who refer, ironically, to Newton’s laws of physics to suggest that Scheer’s “amiable, consensual style” will be enough to mask the manifest ignorance and intolerant ugliness that defines the “modern-day” Conservative Party and its pubescent-sounding leader.

Lovable Scheer is harmless, just like his “social conservative” allies who only want to stuff members of the LGBTQ community, among others, back into a dark closet and then lock the door permanently this time.

According to one delusional neo-con scribe, this “man for all seasons” will, by 2023, convert his “affability” into the necessary “gravitas” to form a government. This logic, if it can be called that, assumes Canadians will be so beguiled by Scheer’s irrepressible charms that they’ll forget all about the Conservative Party’s deeply entrenched and exclusionary core beliefs and principles.

Not to worry on that score, another establishment hack assured her readers, Scheer isn’t a “knuckle-dragging social conservative who wants to send gay people back into the wilderness.” Nope. He’s the “guy next door at the backyard barbeque. His suits look like they came from the two-for-one pants sale at Tip Top.”

You see, lovable Scheer is harmless, just like his “social conservative” allies who only want to stuff members of the LGBTQ community, among others, back into a dark closet and then lock the door permanently this time.

Scheer may be a young man, but the ideas he and his fellow Tories share are old and decrepit and they reflect Canada’s yesterday, not its tomorrow.

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