The Uneasy Case for Uniting the Right

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Ever since the beginning of the United Alternative project in May 1998, conservative politics in Canada have revolved around the quest to unite the right. The formation of the Canadian Alliance consumed 1998 and 1999; then, after that party did not do as well as its founders hoped in the 2000 election, a new round of efforts commenced to bring the Alliance together with the Progressive Conservatives.

The underlying premise of such attempts at uniting the right is a belief in the superiority of the two-party alternative-government model of opposition.

However, the author concludes that democracy can work well with each of several models of opposition, as long as the fundamentals of constitutionalism, rule of law, respect for property rights and markets, free discussion of public affairs, and a widely distributed franchise are respected. The two-party alternative-government configuration is one of several workable possibilities; it is not a universally valid model that Canada must rush to adopt, and dire consequences will not necessarily follow if this configuration is not embraced. In short, political science provides no categorical imperative to unite the right.

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