Harper is going to the Conservative party convention backing a resolution that says, Conservative policy will take no stand on abortion, same-sex marriage or other social conservative issues. The party's first ever policy convention is this March and it looks to be a wild affair with the western social conservatives poised to wage a war with eastern progressive conservatives.
The federal conservative position on same-sex marriage has been a major problem within the party this year. Harper tried to go down a road of equal but different arrangements for same-sex couples and though that played well with the people Harper is used to talking too, it has hurt the party in Quebec and other urban areas.
It seems Harper has put himself in a box. He will need conservative seats in Quebec if he ever wants to be Prime Minister and the folks in La Belle Province are not happy with his social policy. Resolutions to the national convention from Quebec call for endorsing gay marriage and abortions rights. As I stated above, Harper is more familiar fighting these people than leading them.
Social Conservatives are ticked off and are going to the convention in high numbers. Fundraising efforts have been held across the country to help elect and pay delegate fees and expenses. A Conservative MP (his name was not released) summed up the frustration of social conservatives when he talked to Lifesite News, a Christian news service,
"I am deeply concerned about the leader's on-going efforts to take the party further to the left and well away from the distinct alternative given voters under the previous Alliance/Reform banners."
Social conservative supporters claim the party does much better when it focuses on their issues, pro-life and pro-family than it does when it tries to run on economic issues. This all seems to be a little misleading, the Conservatives in the last federal election were leading the Liberals until a negative quote on gay marriage from the infamous Fraser Valley MP, Randy White was made public.
The quote from White allowed Paul Martin to accuse Harper's party of everything from secretly planning to gut the charter of rights and freedoms to forcing kids to listen to the Lord's prayer at school everyday. Harper recognised this as a potential problem and had attempted to gag all his candidates on gay, religious and abortion rights issues during the election. One mistake and the conservatives allowed Martin to squeak passed them.
The "take no position"policy ensures the conservatives will remain on the outside of power for some time to come. Social conservatives will not be happy and neither will the progressive conservatives.
Two big questions will be put to the voters next election by the Liberals. Will a Harper government roll back rights to certain Canadians and will a Harper government make abortion harder to get either by changing the law or removing the requirement that provincial governments make the service available.
Harper is going to face some angry people on both sides of the issue in Montreal at the convention. He may succeed there, succeeding in a general election on the slogan, "Vote for us, The Hidden Agenda Party" will prove difficult if not impossible.