Let me admit with complete honesty that the Conservative Party certainly didn't turn out quite like I thought it would. I am as far from Conservative as one can be I think but years of Conservative rule didn't play out like I imagined.
Some stuff that we all predicted obviously came true. We knew that they would be war-mongers, and they have been. We knew that they would destroy those areas of social spending that were meaningful to the vulnerable like, for example, the way they have completely eliminated all federal spending on things like adult literacy programs, and most programs for women who find themselves in a difficult legal or domestic situation. We figured that they would be terrible on the environmental front, though the scope of their destruction of environmental protections has even come as a surprise to many.
But here's the thing - even though I know that Conservative promises of "smaller" and less-intrusive government is almost always a lie (and has been since neo-liberalism began in the late seventies), I don't think many of us predicted the degree to which they would live that lie out in such momentous and obvious ways. If things play out like they seem to be going, this "Conservative" government will have never balanced a budget! I find it frankly just amazing that they can continually post deficits and add the largest amount of national debt of any government in Canadian history, and still call themselves conservative and have a significant amount of support from other Canadians who call themselves conservative. This government calling itself conservative is looking like the Chinese government calling itself 'communist.' Their strategy of gradually eliminating government revenue as a way of undermining government was entirely predictable (and a strategy that is difficult to recover from for subsequent governments) But I guess I was naive enough to think, with all their talk in the years before getting elected that the flip side of undermining government revenue would be a slash and burn strategy that would give them "balanced" budgets and at least the illusion of fiscal "responsibility." (Even though such strategy is, in the long run, deeply irresponsible for a modern society that needs active government not just to protect our social future but to protect our economic one as well) I was also naive enough to think that the Conservatives, after years of complaints concerning Liberal corruption, would create some new degree of transparency and responsibility in government. I knew that even these efforts would be somewhat illusory, but I thought they would at least make some sort of effort.
It is remarkable, but what we have now is a government that is bares little resemblance to Conservative. Yes, they have gutted every ounce of environmental protection that we had. Yes, they have shifted government from a body meant to protect and enrich society to one that protects and enriches corporations. But everything else is illusion. They are the most economically irresponsible government in our history. They not only posted eight straight deficits and put the country into a much deeper economic hole than it was before, but they did so while failing completely to invest in our social future. We are now a less diversified economy, no further ahead with alternative energies, our young people are under increasingly debilitating student debt while training for jobs that don't exist, our infrastructure is crumbling, and the future looks bleak. It is funny that the Conservatives always accuse the other parties of being "tax and spend" machines. But their strategy seems to be cut various taxes but still spend just as much, or more, than before!! Isn't that the very opposite of what most people associate with 'conservative?' And to cap all this off they have made every effort at destroying the privacy of citizens and have created the most intrusive, police-state-like government in the Western world. All of this has been done against the backdrop of paranoiac secrecy, new levels of toxic partisanship, and consistent record of illegality in election fraud, (as well as a growing litany of other kinds of fraud).
I think that the Conservative Party realized something before they got elected. They realized that Canadians were actually becoming less conservative and that their real agenda wasn't going to sell for more than one election. They realized that the only way for Harper to govern and not get immediately turfed from office was to govern by stealth. They had to become a deeply secretive party because if people knew what they were doing they would never have gotten reelected let alone gotten a majority. They had to more or less shut down democracy because any real democracy would have exposed them as a a party that is anathema to Canadian values and dangerous to our future. This government is more than simply corrupt; they are trying to dismantle the very notion of a modern, democratic government that is responsible to our future as a nation. They have been trying to bankrupt the country and sell it to foreign corporate interests with trade deals that make the very idea of responsible government impossible. They are, in short, terrorists by their own definition.
All of this tells me that ANYONE who votes for this Conservative Party is either hopelessly misinformed or congenitally stupid, but certainly not even vaguely conservative.