Tory backers push for 'truly conservative' government
Published Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:33PM EDT
After trying for more than half a decade, the Conservatives finally have a majority government, and now the party's longtime backers -- including the religious right -- are hoping their concerns will get the government's attention.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised Canadians that there will be "no surprises" after winning his long-sought majority, but will be under additional pressure from his party's small-c conservative backbenchers and supporters on certain issues.
David Krayden, the executive director of Conservative Values of Canada, a Christian political group, said abortion will be brought up, whether Harper likes it or not.
"Stephen Harper has said no (to abortion laws) but a lot of his caucus is pro-life, a lot of his supporters are pro-life," he told CTV's Power Play Wednesday.
"I think it's time for those who don't think abortion is not on the table to realize it's catch-up with the rest of the Western world where there are some restrictions on abortion."
Krayden said he expects the Conservative government to move forward with reform of the Canadian Wheat Board and "we are going to see better and more criminal justice legislation."
Joseph Ben Ami, president of the conservative Canadian Centre for Policy Studies organization, said it's not just religious groups that want restrictions on abortion.
"I know professed atheists who are strongly pro-life and at least would like to see the government allow a dialogue," he told Power Play.
But personally, he has other issues he would like to see as priorities for the Conservative majority government.
"If I had a wish list, top of my list would be the opportunity to have an intelligent debate about human rights commissions and tribunals," Ben Ami said.
"We should be having an open, honest and intelligent debate about immigration; I don't think we have a well-managed immigration policy."
As for other hot-button issues, Krayden said he didn't think there was much support for re-opening discussions on the death penalty.
He said the Harper government should focus more on "positive conservatism."
"This is an opportunity to have a truly conservative government," Krayden said.
Ben Ami said there's been a ‘reluctance to make (conservative) arguments' from the Harper Conservatives.
"At some point in time, you have to stand for something more substantial than the mere fact you are not the Liberals," he added.