Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jim Farney (University of Regina)
The Dealignment and Realignment of Right-Wing Parties in Canada: The Fragility of a ‘Big Tent’ Conservative Party.: Duane Bratt (Mount Royal University), Bruce Foster (Mount Royal University ) Abstract: The history of right-of-centre political parties in Canada is replete with cycles of internal fracturing, which are then followed by periods of cohesion and stability. The conservative movement in Canada, federally and provincially, has a history of splitting into different political parties and then reuniting, thus repeating the cycle. This occurs at a frequency not shared by other parties of different ideological perspectives. Drawing in part from recently-uncovered confidential documents, specifically, efforts undertaken in the mid-1960s by Premier E.C. Manning to unify the Alberta Social Credit and Progressive Conservative parties, this paper undertakes to identify and explain the factors underlying this penchant for conservative political parties in Canada to undergo the process of division and reunification as frequently as they do. We explain the conservative inclination for political party dealignment and realignment by positing and examining four propositions which help to explain this phenomenon: 1) why does this process of fracturing and (then) realignment occur at all? 2) why is this process more common among conservative parties than in others? 3) why is this more prevalent in Western Canada? and 4) what are the conditions driving both division and reunification? This paper makes the case that this process of dealignment and realignment has itself become a characteristic typical of right-of-centre parties, and perhaps Canadian conservatism as a whole.
New Right, Old Francophobia? The Changing Face of Right-Wing Anti-Bilingualism in New Brunswick: Stéphanie Chouinard (Royal Military College), Kelly Gordon (McGill University) Abstract: In New Brunswick, the only officially bilingual province in Canada, bilingualism and linguistic duality remain a wedge issue – sporadically exploited in the political sphere. In the wake of the 1980s constitutional crisis, where French-English relations were central issues, the Confederation of Regions (CoR) party was founded - and became the Official opposition in Fredericton from 1991 to 1995. In the 2018 election, the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick (PANB) was granted the balance of power by the electorate in a hung legislature. Both these parties proposed right-wing populist platforms, including proposals to dismantle the province’s language regime.
This paper will explore the anti-bilingualism rhetoric found in the New Brunswick political discourse through a comparison between these two political parties. Drawing on the critical discourse analysis of the parties’ political platforms, electoral speeches, and official policies, we argue that anti-bilingualism arguments provide an interesting lens through which to analyze larger conservative ideology in Canada. In particular, through the comparison of CoR and the PANB, we seek to determine 1) whether the PANB is, in fact, the ideological successor of the CoR in the province; 2) whether the rhetoric on language rights in these two parties has changed; and 3) what anti-bilingualism signifies for the province’s political spectrum as well as our larger understanding of Canadian conservative ideology and discourse.