Talk:Reform Party of Canada

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The party's merger into the CA[edit]

Shouldn't this article end at the point where the Reform party ceases to exist (i.e., when the Alliance was created)? Anyone wanting to know more can click on the link to the Alliance article. HistoryBA 14:03, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I agree with you - it would be worth spending a few minutes to end the Reform article with the creation of the CA, and begin the CA article there, rather than having both articles bleed into one another. I doubt anyone would object if you did this. Kevintoronto 19:47, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Terminology and ideology[edit]

On the question of 'democrat' vs. 'right-wing', 'democrat' is meaningless in this context. With the exception of the Communist and Marxist-Leninist parties, all of the parties are in favour of democracy. Even then, those two parties would argue that they, not the other parties, are the true democratic parties. On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone, including reformers, disagreeing with the term 'right-wing'. As an activist in the PC Party in the 1980s, I recall seeing t-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers being sold at party conventions referring to ourselves as being right-wing. This were especially popular amongst those members of the party who left to join Reform. thought the change to 'right wing-populist' was an excellent change. As far as the Liberals being left-wing, I think that they would be commonly understood to be centrist, and the NDP to be left-wing. Kevintoronto 21:20, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I sense an edit war brewing. I would agree that democrat-populist means nothing, but I'm not sure if calling it "right-wing" is the best description either. And how populist are they really? I don't think most Canadians would agree with most of their policies. Earl Andrew 21:56, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
"Populist" does not mean "Popular"... john k 18:20, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I agree -- I don't want to see an edit war. But, on the other hand, the mystery person who keeps putting "democrat" in doesn't offer any real defence. Here are some other parties whose supporters view their parties as being "democratic": the Liberal Party, the PC party, the NDP, Libertarians, Freedom Party, Christian Heritage, Bloc Quebecois, Marijuana, etc. For crying out loud, even the Communists would argue that they are the only true democratic party. The M-Lers would probably say the same. Here are some other uses of the word "democratic": the Democratic Republic of Korea (which is the northern bit), the German Democratic Republic (the former eastern bit), the Democratic Republic of Congo (that's the large chunk of central Africa over-run by thieves and thugs). The word "democrat" does not distinguish the Reform Party from any other party on the scene, so what does it add? Should someone go into each of the articles for the other parties and add the word "democrat"?
Because I don't want to an edit war, I don't want to make this edit. But I think that someone should go in and change the part of the mystery person's recent edits that are so very clearly the POV of a partisan. (And also, the run-on sentences that stop making sense half-way through could use some editing.) My vote would also be to get rid of the meaningless (in this context) descriptor "democrat'. Anyone else? Kevintoronto 13:00, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
You're right, in fact I would argue that the Reform Party was the least democratic of the parties. (LOL) Just kidding. However, I suggest if this person keeps it up, without giving any explanation, we may have to protect the page or something. I could do this, as the only edits on the page by me were adding pictures. I'm sure there is a procedure for protecting pages. Earl Andrew 17:35, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
That might be the way we have to go. I'm too new here to know the process. Another approach would be to put the arguments into an edit to get the mystery editor's attention, e.g., "while the Reform Party was a democratic party, like all other Canadian political parties, it had no connection to the US Democratic or Australian Democrat parties." Let's keep an eye on this page. thanks for your comments.Kevintoronto 18:10, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Gah, that's awful. john k 18:20, 23 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, oh and thank you for all your work on pages dealing with Canadian politics and the sort, well done! Earl Andrew 18:23, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I'm happy to contribute. Thanks for the kind words.Kevintoronto
I changed the descriptor right wing to neoconservative, since right wing covers too much ideological territory to be really accurate. Bearcat 00:11, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Edit war[edit]

Thank you, SimonP, for keeping an eye on the Reform and CA articles. It is really a pity that the anonymous editor won't reveal him/herself so that this issue can be resolved on personal Talk pages. It is also too bad that he/she won't use the article Talk pages to try to sort this out. Calling the Reform Party and not other parties "democratic" just because Preston Manning called his party democratic must be the weakest argument I have seen on these pages. Kevintoronto 10:58, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Ideology (again)[edit]

We have another difference of opinion concerning the best way to describe the ideological leanings of the Reform Party.

The current listing is "conservative-populist" -- which, though a bit unwieldy, strikes me as a decent summarization of the RP's basic orientation.

Over the last few days, an anonymous poster has repeatedly changed this to "conservative-reform-populist", or "reform-populist", or other variations on the same theme. My feeling (and I hope that others would agree) is that this isn't a helpful edit -- the term "reform" is just too general to be useful in this context (rather like the term "democratic", covered above).

Thoughts? CJCurrie 04:59, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Addendum: The Reform Party certainly has little if anything to do with the Reform movement page, to which it was recently linked. CJCurrie 05:01, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • I agree, belief in "reform" is not an ideology in itself. - SimonP 05:14, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

If the Reform Party was conservative way did some NDP supporters vote Reform It don't make sense. The reform party was much in the reform movement to get rid of alienation in Canada that why reform-populist is the best ideology for the Reform party. But the Canadian Alliance got rid of the reform-populist ideology and put in the conservative ideology.

Many, if not most, voters do not vote for parties because of ideology. NDP supporters moved to Reform because they were casting a protest vote or voted for the party that best represented local interests. - SimonP 06:49, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)
"If the Reform Party was conservative way did some NDP supporters vote Reform It don't make sense".

A number of former NDP voters voted for Mike Harris. There are Conservative-NDP switchers as much as that sounds counterintuitive to many of us. This is because a number of blue collar workers have views that intersect with both the Tories and the NDP, they may be socially conservative and like lower taxes but also believe in union rights, strong labour laws, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare and government intervention in the economy. Or they may have what look like conflicting interests which come to the forefront at different times. This is why a riding like Oshawa can elect Ed Broadbent for decades and then vote for Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution in 1995. AndyL 22:56, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

One could add that the Confederation of Regions Party did relatively well in Northern Ontario during the 1990 provincial election by appealing to both disgruntled Tories and working-class NDP voters (or, more accurately, *anglophone* working-class NDP voters). The party polled 20% of the vote in Sault Ste. Marie that year, which resulted in the NDP almost losing the seat (to the Liberals) as they were racking up historic victories in the rest of the province. It took a last-minute drive by the Steelworker's Union to put Tony Martin over the top, as I recall.

Our anonymous contributor should realize that the CoR's appeal with NDP voters didn't make the party anything other than a right-wing group grounded in very conservative principles. They won some working-class support because they weren't a *mainstream* conservative group backed by the province's financial elite -- instead, they appealed to an alienated demographic. To put it another way, they were conservative-populist. (See also Orange Order, Mike Harris circa 1995, and the Reform Party for most of its history.) CJCurrie 01:29, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

A compromise[edit]

I have been thinking about how to resolve this, and suggest the following:

"The Reform Party was founded as a populist party to promote reform of democratic institutions, but was later dominated by social and fiscal conservatives who pushed the party to the political right, seeking reduced government spending on social programs and reductions in taxation."

Now, can't we all just get along? Please let me know what you think. Kevintoronto 19:07, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This sounds reasonable, though perhaps we should also clarify that the rightward shift occurred shortly after the 1987 convention (after Stan Roberts's supporters lost their influence in the organization). CJCurrie 00:27, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Point taken. How about:

"The Reform Party was founded as a populist party to promote reform of democratic institutions. Shortly after the 1987 founding convention, however, social and fiscal conservatives became dominant within the party, and pushed it to the political right, seeking reduced government spending on social programs and reductions in taxation." Kevintoronto 14:26, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The Reform Party was never populist; it fell squarely into the tradition of conservatives adopting a populist disguise to gain support for what was in reality an anti-populist agenda. (See also Mike Harris, Mel Lastman, Silvio Berlusconi, Ross Perot, George W. Bush.) No party that allies itself with the Fraser Institute can legitimately claim to be populist. Bearcat 05:31, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I don't think it's in our purview to distinguish between "true" and "false" populism. While I personally agree with your assessment of the Reform Party's legacy, it can hardly be denied that the party gained much of its support (particularly in its earliest years) from voters who were alienated from the mainstream political parties, and who were looking for a protest vehicle. The "real" orientation of the party leaders (and financial supporters) strikes me as beside the point. CJCurrie 20:59, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I wrote that addition to the article in such a way as to make clear that it constitutes one opinion among several on the party's legacy. (That's always a good way to include that type of material without breaking NPOV: include it as some variation on "some people say...", while giving equal time to the "other people say..." side of the debate as well.) Bearcat 23:30, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Internal links[edit]

To the anonymous poster who keeps altering this page:

Please stop linking the Reform Party to Reform movement. The impetus behind the Reform Party's creation has virtually nothing to do with a "reform movement" in the broader, historical sense.

The Reform movement page describes large-scale social movements that changed (or attempted to change) specific aspects of life in a society. Examples listed on the page include the abolitionist movement in 19C America, public education reform efforts, and new literary movements (such as Emerson's transcendentalism).

A political party which claims to oppose "alienation" in a general sense does not constitute a Reform movement. It doesn't even have anything to do with the term.

If you continue altering the page in this manner, I will continue to revert. CJCurrie 00:34, 14 Dec 2004 (UTC)

February 9, 2005 edit[edit]

I have reverted this edit because it simplified the explanation of the party's ideology in a way that was not useful. As we have seen from the previous disputes over the party's ideology, the ideology of the Reform Party is a complex and contentious question. It is properly discussed in the article. The edit that I reverted reduce that detailed discuss to a more simplistic, and therefore less useful categorization. Kevintoronto 15:37, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

hear is some proof [1]Michaelm 1 July 2005 04:26 (UTC)

That says that some libertarians joined the Reform party, not that the Reform Party was libertarian. I think that "conservative - populist" is a better description of the party's policy and membership. Ground Zero 4 July 2005 14:02 (UTC)

Read this link [2] Michaelm

Article quoted in new book[edit]

Check out the new book by Bob Plamondon, Full Circle: Death and Resurrection in Canadian Conservative Politics. The Controversial links section of this article is quoted in its entirety in a footnote, page 115. DH | | 03:02, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

First elected Senator[edit]

Waters' appointment, following his election victory, has led some to describe him as Canada's first elected Senator.

This sounds like weasel wording to me; is there anyone who disputes that Waters was, in fact, Canada's first elected Senator? I can't think of any reason for the "has led some to describe him" qualifier, and the Stanley Waters page simply describes him as the first. --The Invisible Hand 15:43, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Canadian Alliance article[edit]

The Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance are the same party. Reform Party members voted to rename the party the Canadian Alliance and change some of its principles. For the large part the Canadian Alliance was the successor to Reform and had largely the same members at least of those Reform MPs elected in 1997. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 65.95.161.40 (talk) 19:23, 12 May 2007 (UTC).

This is incorrect: The Canadian Alliance was not a "renaming" of the Reform Party, it was a brand new party created through the United Alternative process, spearheaded by the Reform Party, when the membership realized that vote splitting in Canada's first-past the-post electoral system was preventing them from having any chance of forming government.

Opponents to the United Alternative process, and the subsequent formation of the Canadian Alliance are those who claimed that it was merely the renaming of the Reform Party, however Reform Party officially ceased to exist as a corporate entity once the membership voted overwhelmingly to merge with the Canadian Alliance. Scbritton (talk) 15:39, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

A Quirk?[edit]

Reform was still a Western protest party, and would never lose this character. However, due to a quirk in the first past the post system, its heavy concentration of support in the West netted it 52 seats.

What does this mean? Which quirk? Strong support in the West led to winning a large number of seats in the West. That does not seem quirky to me. --  timc  talk   17:36, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Reform party book.gif[edit]

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Wording error[edit]

I am not Canadian, so ignore me if my observation is absurd:

Beneath the logo it says "Former Federal Party" -- is it meant to say "Reform" or "Former"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.45.214.73 (talk) 12:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

abortion issue contradicts itself[edit]

Was the Reform party pro-life or not? The article says it was never Reform party policy and at the end it says it was it's official position. Can't be both. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronwi (talkcontribs) 17:10, 13 August 2011 (UTC)

If there is no objection I'm going to remove the abortion section until someone rewrites properly-it makes no sense as presently written. I'm old enough to remember that pro-life was never the Reform parties official position. Some Reform Pary members were pro-life but so were some Liberal party members...I'd have to research but I seem to remember that it was official policy that such issues would be deceided through referendum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronwi (talkcontribs) 20:08, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Reform deliberately kept the abortion issue out of its official policy. There were some attempts, from time to time, from the membership to bring about an official position, however these never made it past the constituency policy development process, as the membership rightly understood taking an official position on abortion would be political suicide.

Reform's policy on issues of personal conscience was every elected MP was required, when asked, to share their own personal position on the subject, and then re-iterate that, under Reform's official policy, that, during a free vote in the commons on a moral issue, the MP was duty bound to vote the wishes of their constituents over and above their own personal viewpoint. With the advent of the Canadian Alliance, this policy was watered down somewhat, however the Canadian Alliance policy was still written so the wishes of the constituents prevailed over the personal position of the MP.

Reform's position on moral issues of conscience also included support for a nationwide referendum rather than a free vote in the Commons. The free vote was, obviously while Reform was in opposition, the most likely to happen (if anything, and clearly, looking back, not even a free vote happened), but that was the official party position at the time. Scbritton (talk) 00:05, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

It appears that someone has decided to reinsert the Abortion section and cleverly places a footnote except I actually traced the footnote back and discovered that it doesn't back up the article. I've actually read Conway's book (it's online and available at most libraries). This can be a problem with Wikipedia I'm sure the editor meant well but was seeing in the book what he wanted to see rather than what was actually written. Conway was referring in this section to individual members beliefs rather than official party policy. No where does Conway say that this was official Reform policy. So I'm removing the section until someone has time to rewrite it or(and I think this unlikely but you never know) if they can find an actual quote to back up the original version.--Ronwi (talk) 16:46, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Moral Issues[edit]

Suggested new section, based upon the repeated addition of incorrect and misleading information on abortion:

Reform's critics repeatedly attempted to discredit the Reform Party by raising issues of moral conscience, such as abortion. Reform's official policy on abortion fell under a broader heading of Issues of Moral Conscience. The policy indicated that a Member of Parliament was required to state his or her own personal views on the subject, and, in the event of proposed legislation survey his or her constituents to determine the views of the population of his or her constituency, and then, in a vote in the House of Commons, vote in accordance with the views of his or her constituens, over and above his or her own personal views.

This policy was put to the test in 1994 when assisted-suicide advocate Sue Rodriguez took her own life with the aid of an anonymous physician. A free vote on the issue was promised in the House of Commons, and the Reform Party began surveying constituents to determine the consensus on the issue. A vote in the House of Commons never materialized.

I realize that citations for some of this are needed, because it refers to official party policy, so if anybody has some reference material, it could be useful. I'm working from personal memory to put this together, but since I actually assisted in surveying constituents on the assisted suicide debate, I can attest, personally, at least, to its accuracy.Scbritton (talk) 16:06, 4 May 2013 (UTC)