|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2007)|
Blue Tories, also known as small 'c' conservatives, are, in Canadian politics, members of the former federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, current Conservative Party of Canada and provincial Progressive Conservative parties who are more economically right wing. Prior to the 1960s, these Conservatives were most identified with the Montreal and Toronto commercial elite who took positions of influence within the Progressive Conservative Party. Since the mid-1970s, they have been heavily influenced by the libertarian movement. Blue Tories tend to favour libertarian policies such as devolution of federal power to the provincial governments, a reduced role for government in the economy, reduction of taxation and similar mainstream neoconservative ideals. The term Blue Tory does not refer to social conservatism.
One example of a Blue Tory administration in Canada was the "Common Sense Revolution" provincial Progressive Conservative government of Ontario Premier Mike Harris. The Harris Tories were widely viewed as extremely right-wing by Canadian standards in their economic policies and style of governance. Harris' government embarked on a number of initiatives, including cuts to education, welfare and Medicare, privatization of government services and health care, the sale of provincial highways and the forced amalgamation of municipalities. Provincial income taxes were also cut by 30% and corporate tax rates were nearly cut in half during the Harris mandate.
Most Blue Tories are at least somewhat ideologically aligned close to the economic libertarian positions of the former Canadian Alliance and as such supported the merger between the PCs and the Alliance to form the new federal Conservative Party of Canada (CPC). Some notable Blue Tories include many prominent federal and provincial Progressive Conservatives such as former PC Party Leader and current Attorney General Peter MacKay, Conservative Party leadership contender and current Treasury Board President Tony Clement, and former Premier of Ontario Mike Harris. Based on his statements and actions made in the last election, some political commentators have suggested that the current Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has also shifted his ideology closer to the Blue Tory mould as opposed to the social conservatism that was usually identified with the leadership of the Canadian Alliance and Reform Parties.