UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Populism and the Reform Party Clough, Derrick C. 1994

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1994-0379.pdf [ 1.19MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0099091.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0099091-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0099091-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0099091-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0099091-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0099091-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0099091-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

POPULISM AND THE REFORM PARTYbyDERRICK C. CLOUGHB.A., The University of British Columbia, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Political Science)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJune 1994Copyright 1994 Derrick C. CloughIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department ofThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate /14DE.6 (2/88)AbstractThis thesis endeavours to answer the question, “What does theReform Party’s ‘populism’ consist of?” An attempt is made hereinto characterize the nature of the Reform Party’s populism viaMargaret Canovan’s typology of populisms. The analysis concludesthat the Reform Party manifests the characteristics of two of theseven different kinds of populist phenomena that Canovanidentifies. It is found, on the one hand, that through his “anti-political” rhetorical orientation, Reform Party leader PrestonManning evinces a certain form of what Canovan refers to as“politicians’ populism.” On the other hand, it is posited that theparty’s policies vis a vis federal bilingualism, multiculturalismand immigration programs reflect Canovan’s conception of“reactionary populism.”iiTable of ContentsAbstract iiTable of Contents iiiPreface ivIntroduction 1Part One Towards an Understanding of Populism:Canovan’s Typology 4Farmers’ Radicalism 7Intellectual Agrarian Socialism 8Peasant Movements 9Populist Dictatorship 10Populist Democracy 12Reactionary Populism 13Politicians’ Populism 15Part Two What the Reform Party is Not 17Part Three The Reform Party, Politicians’ Populism, andReactionary Populism 29Summary & Conclusion 67List of Sources 70iiiPrefaceThe prospective reader of this thesis is hereby apprised of theauthor’s membership in the Reform Party of Canada. The author’sattraction to the Reform Party, briefly stated, consists in theparty’s zeal for the reform of Canada’s criminal justice system andfor the implementation of reform’s designed to address withappropriate urgency Canada’s ever-growing fiscal crisis.ivIntroductionWhile one can only speculate about what metaphors future politicalhistorians will use to describe Canada’s recent federal generalelection, it is probably safe to assume that the word “watershed”will be employed as often as any. Indeed, the 1993 election seemsto have presided over more than its share of noteworthy and unusualpolitical events. Among them, after nine long years in opposition,the Liberals were returned to the government benches with theirlargest majority in forty years. New Democrats, on the other hand,retained only nine of the forty-three seats that they held atParliament’s dissolution and thus failed, for the first time intheir thirty-year history as a party, to win enough seats in orderto qualify for official-party privileges in the House of Commons.The election also served to underscore the disbandment of the tacitfederal electoral alliance between Quebec nationalists and theMulroney-era Progressive Conservatives. The Conservatives, havingfailed to “deliver the goods” as promised by their former leader,surrendered all but one of their Quebec seats in a hopelesselectoral battle with the relentless Bloc Quebecois. Astonishinglyenough, Quebec was among the more Conservative-friendly regions ofthe country on election day: west of the Ottawa River, theConservatives failed to win a single seat. Atlantic Canada washardly more generous, allowing the Conservatives to carry only oneconstituency. Needless to say, the party suffered an electoralcollapse of unprecedented magnitude.The election also witnessed the tensely anticipated rise ofthe Reform Party of Canada. Aside from its modest but encouraging1performance in Ontario, where it won one constituency and finishedsecond to the Liberals in fifty-six others, the Reform Party tooka combined five seats from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and astunning forty-six of the fifty-eight seats in Alberta and BritishColumbia. To put the party’s electoral achievements in theobligatory metaphorical terms, as one watched the returns onelection night, it was as if a seemingly innocuous spark, caused bythe tumbling of a few pebbles on the Canadian shield, blewwestward, igniting what became a full-fledged prairie fire; burningwith greater intensity as it blazed across the prairies and intothe foothills, the fire completely subsumed the forests of theRocky Mountains, and did not burn itself out until it reached thebeaches of the West Coast.To equate the Reform Party’s electoral performance with therapid spread of fire is to draw attention to the party’s ostensiblypopulist character. Like its western Canadian populistpredecessors - most notably, the Progressive movement, the SocialCredit League, and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation - theReform Party acquired a large mass membership and attainedwidespread popularity relatively soon after its inception. Sincethe party’s formation in 1987, the party’s membership has grownsteadily and rapidly. As of October 1990, the party’s membershipstood at approximately 50,000, only 10,000 fewer than the federalLiberal Party’s membership total.’ By early 1992, the Reform Party‘Kenneth Whyte, “Under Attack: Suddenly the Major Parties HaveDiscovered the RPC,” Act of Faith, Terry O’Neill, ed. (Vancouver:B.C. Report Books, 1991), p.110.2possessed over 100,000 members.2 Indeed, the Report group ofwestern newsmagazines, the party’s most vociferous supporter withinthe Canadian media, has designated the party “the fastest-growingpolitical movement in Canadian history.”3 Having now achieved adecisive electoral breakthrough on short order, the Reform Partywill undoubtedly be considered among the movements listed above inthe works of future students of western Canadian populism.Meanwhile, as far as current students and analysts of westernCanadian populism are concerned, the Reform Party has apparentlypresented some difficulty. While most commentators seem to agreeor assume that the party is in some sense populist, it remains thecase, as Steve Patten points out, that very few have engaged in“any sustained theoretical discussion of what it means to refer tothe Reform Party as a populist party.”4This thesis adheres to the prevailing analytical orthodoxy inassuming that the Reform Party is populist. At the same time, thisthesis attempts to mitigate the offence to rational analysis thatsuch an assumption presents by seeking to give meaning to thepopulist label that the Reform Party now wears. This thesisendeavours, therefore, to delineate the Reform Party’s populist2Sidney Sharpe and Don Braid, Storming Babylon: PrestonManning and the Rise of the Reform Party (Toronto: Key PorterBooks, 1992), p.1.30’Neill, front cover.4Steve Patten, “Populist Politics? A Critical Re-Examinationof ‘Populism’ and the Reform Party’s Populist Politics.” A paperprepared for presentation to the Annual Meeting of the CanadianPolitical Science Association, Ottawa, June 6-8, 1993, p.1.3character. An attempt will be made to characterize the party’spopulism by means of Margaret Canovan’s typology of populisms.5The following analysis consists of three main sections. Thefirst section outlines the basic contours and purpose of Canovan’stypology. The second specifies which among Canovan’s various typesof populism the Reform Party would not appear to represent. Thefinal section attempts to provide the party with a definitivelocation within Canovan’s typology, and, in the process, offers aperspective on what the party’s populism consists of.I. Towards an Understanding of Populism: Canovan’s TypoloqyAny analysis that endeavours to delineate the populist character ofsomething must first of all recognize that the term “populism” isnotoriously difficult to work with. As Canovan explains, thedifficulty arises from the fact that “the term is exceptionallyvague and refers in different contexts to a bewildering variety ofphenomena.”6Aside from the Russian narodnichestvo and the AmericanPeople’s Party of the late nineteenth century - the “acknowledgedclassics of populism” - the label “populist” has been attached topolitical phenomena as diverse as Peronism, direct democracy,George Wallace and the “white backlash,” Jimmy Carter’s 19765Margaret Canovan, Populism (New York: Harcourt BraceJovanovich, 1981).6lbid., p.3.4Presidential campaign,7 Maoism and Ronald Reagan.8 What accountsfor the considerable licence that has thus been taken with theterm? Peter Worsley provides the following answer: Populism, asopposed to conservatism or socialism, “is not part of a shared,more inclusive tradition as far as the subjective orientation ofthe actors is concerned. Its typological status is solely ananalytical one.”9 Thus, relatively unencumbered by the weight ofhistorical or ideological baggage, the term has been freely imposedby observers, and appropriated freely by the observed.The main goal of Canovan’s landmark work is to bring a degreeof clarity (and perhaps sanity) to the debates on the meaning ofpopulism that have been raging for years within academic circles.Rather than simply imposing her own “single essentialistdefinition” of what populism is, or should be - the approach thatsparked the debates in the first place - Canovan proposes to workwithin the confines of the debates by constructing a typology ofpopulisms that corresponds with what she sees as the two mainacademic approaches to the study of populism.’0 “One broad way ofthinking about populism,” she explains, “stresses its agrariancharacter and takes a sociological approach toward its roots and7lbid.8David Laycock, Populism and Democratic Thought in theCanadian Praries, 1910 to 1945 (Toronto: University of TorontoPress, 1990), p.14.9lbid.‘°Canovan, p.12.5significance.”1’ Using this approach as a guide, Canovanestablishes a category heading entitled “Agrarian Populisms,” underwhich she lists three different types of populist phenomena:farmers’ radicalism, peasant movements, and intellectual agrariansocialism.’2 Under a second main heading, labelled “PoliticalPopulisms,” Canovan arranges four more or less distinct varietiesof populism: populist dictatorship, populist democracy, reactionarypopulism, and politicians’ populism.’3 This second group ofpopulist phenomena is said to reflect the primary focus of theother main analytical approach to the study of populism, where “theemphasis.. .is much less upon any particular socioeconomic base orsetting, and much more upon political characteristics.”4Morespecifically, within this second school, “what those who talk of‘populism’ have in mind is a particular kind of politicalphenomenon where the tensions between the elite and the grass rootsloom large.”5Due to their differing analytical foci, the two schools ofpopulism yield remarkably dissimilar groupings of political“Ibid., p.8. One of the more prominent variants of thisapproach views populism “as the characteristic response of theindependent commodity producer, or the agrarian petit-bourgeoisie,to the threat of capitalist modernization.” See J.F. Conway,“Populism in the United States, Russia, and Canada: Explaining theRoots of Canada’s Third Parties,” Canadian Journal of PoliticalScience, XI:I (March 1978), p.108.‘2Canovan, p.13.‘3lbid.14Ibid., p.9.‘5lbid.6phenomena, although some overlap inevitably occurs.16 Each of thesub-species of populism that fall under Canovan’s main headings issummarized separately below.1. Farmers’ RadicalismFarmer’s radicalism can be defined in general as an expressionof political protest by an agrarian petit-bourgeoisie experiencingacute socioeconomic insecurity due to problems associated withcommodity production and marketing. More specifically, historicalinstances of farmers’ radicalism feature “a clash between apolitical tradition which led farmers to expect to be able tocontrol their own destiny, and their actual economic thraldom tooutside corporate and financial interests.”17 The American People’sParty and the Junker-led German agrarian movement, both of thel890s, and the Depression-era Social Credit League and CooperativeCommonwealth Federation, rank as classic examples of farmers’radicalism.’8 Each movement arose in times of depressedagricultural commodity prices and/or drought, and proposedsubstantial government intervention as a means of alleviating‘6lbid17Ibid., p.100‘8lbid., pp. 100-5. Canovan inexplicably omits from herdiscussion of farmers’ radicalism any mention of the CanadianProgressive movement of the years 1910 to 1925. The movement wouldappear to represent a paradigm case of farmers’ radicalism. SeePaul Sharp, The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada (Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press, 1945); and W.L. Morton,Progressive Party in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,1950)7production and marketing problems. The interventionist measuresthat were favoured included government control of railways, grainelevators and storage, and credit. “One of the notable features ofthis type of populism, indeed,” writes Canovan, “is that it seemsinvariably to include calls for extensive government interventionin the economy coming from people who own property.2. Intellectual Agrarian SocialismExamples of this sub-species of agrarian populism include thepolicy orientation of the Nyerere regime in Tanzania, and theideals of the Russian narodnichestvo of the 18705.20 Essentiallya phenomenon of feudal or tribal societies in the early phases ofcapitalist modernization, populism of this genre seeks to pre-emptthe upheaval and dislocation of the modernization process byembracing the ostensibly communal proclivities and values of thepeasantry.21 While it idealizes the peasantry, however, this typeof populism does not emanate from within the peasantry; rather, itsprings from the minds of intellectuals. With reference to theRussian context, for example, populism was by no means “theideology of the small producer”: Russian populism “was an ideologyof intellectuals oriented toward the peasantry” that drasticallyand naively overestimated the latter’s marginally communal‘9Canovan, p.10420Ibid., pp. 105-10.21Ibid.8instincts.22 Indeed, the Russian peasants proved to be remarkablyresistant to the inculcation of the utopian socialist vision thatwas espoused and carried to them by the idealistic narodniks.23Thus, Canovan identifies a separate sub-species of agrarianpopulism as a means of categorizing populist movements both for,and of, the peasantry.3. Peasant MovementsCanovan attempts to render her larger notion of agrarianpopulism intelligible by viewing “peasant populism” as a kind ofconceptual bridge between each of the above sub-species:[B]etween grass roots farmers’ movements on the one handand intellectual dreams of the transformation of societyby the peasantry on the other, there surely lies anothervast and significant category of rural radicalisms:actual grass-roots peasant movements.24As examples of such movements she points to the various peasantparties that appeared in eastern Europe shortly after the end ofthe First World War. Referred to collectively as “the Greens,” theeastern European peasant parties were often led by peasants, orformer peasants, and invariably expressed an ideologicalperspective that peasants could relate to and support.25 At the22Ibid., p.92. For an interpretation of Russian populism as anexpression of the class perspective of the small agrarian producer,see Conway, op. cit.23Canovan, pp.91-2.24Ibid., p.11O.25Ibid., p.123. In passing, it is interesting to note that theleader of the Greens in Bulgaria, Alexander Stamboliski,articulated a vision of democracy that bears remarkable similarityto the democratic vision that was put forth at roughly the same9core of the Greens’ ideology was a desire to preserve the ties thatbound the peasantry to the land. Fearful of both industrialcapitalism and state socialism, the Greens typically emphasized thesanctity of family property, and favoured small-scale ruralindustry over industry centralized in the cities, and voluntarycooperation over enforced collectivization.264. Populist DictatorshipPopulist dictatorship refers to “the familiar phenomenon ofa charismatic leader who builds a dictatorship by appealing pastthe established elite and political system to ‘the people’.”27Guided by the prolific scholarly literature on Latin Americanpopulism, Canovan looks to the Peron regime in Argentina for herparadigmatic instance of populist dictatorship. After hisdemocratic election to Argentina’s presidency in 1945, Peron easilyoverturned the country’s nascent democratic structures, maintaininga dictatorial hold on power until overthrown in 1955. His ten-yeardictatorship was sustained on the basis of his compellingrhetorical appeals to Argentina’s lower classes, with whom he builta direct, personalistic relationship, thus rendering impotent histime by the Albertan Progressive leader Henry Wise Wood. Bothcalled for the replacement of party government by a kind ofcorporatist form of government, referred to by Wood as “groupgovernment.” For a detailed discussion of Wood’s group governmentmodel, see C.B. Macpherson, Democracy in Alberta ( Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1953), chapter two.26Canovan, pp. 123-8.27Ibid., p.137.10enemies within the formerly powerful landed aristocracy.28Within the North American context, the Louisiana “Kingfish,”Huey Long, ranks as a characteristic populist dictator.29Louisiana’s governor from 1928 to 1932, and a Louisiana senatorfrom 1932 until his assassination in 1935, Long established andmaintained a virtually unassailable grip on the state’s politics bymeans of promises and appeals to poor farmers and workers, andthrough use of bribery, patronage, and blatant thuggery.3°Securedby his “reputation as the champion of the common man,” Long wasable to withstand the vehement hostility with which he was regardedby the state’s political and economic elites, represented “by anoligarchy of established planters and new industrialists.”31Canovan claims that Nazism and Italian Fascism can also beportrayed in a sense as manifestations of populist dictatorship.“Both Mussolini and Hitler,” she points out, “made much of the factthat they were men of the people, born outside the social elite andable to articulate the interests and values of ordinary people.”32Citing the elitism inherent in both Nazism and Fascism, however,Canovan balks at categorizing them as ideal representatives of“populist” dictatorship.28Ibid., pp. 143-7.29Ibid., p.151.30Ibid., pp. 151-8.31Ibid., p.152.32Ibid., p.l49.115. Populist DemocracyCanovan applies the label “populist democracy” to twodifferent kinds of political phenomena: political movements andparties which campaign for the implementation of various forms ofdirect democracy, and political jurisdictions which routinelyemploy direct democracy measures in the conduct of public affairs.Examples of the former include the U.S. People’s Party and theAmerican Progressive movement, each of which vigorously campaignedfor the implementation of the referendum, the initiative, and therecall.33 Their support for these mechanisms “rested upon a viewof politics and society according to which ‘special interests’(particularly the big corporations and the corrupt politicians intheir pay) tend constantly to dominate the political process to thedetriment of ‘the people’ By replacing representative democracywith a system synthesizing direct and delegate democracy, “thepeople” would be able to govern themselves without the tutelage of“professional politicians” and “party bosses,” thus resulting in amore effective and responsive political decision-making process.The political jurisdictions to which Canovan attaches thelabel populist democracy, based on their more or less routine useof referenda, citizens’ initiatives, and recall mechanisms, include33Ibid., pp. 176-8. Canovan thus places the U.S. People’s Partyin two categories: populist democracy and farmers’ radicalism. TheCanadian Progressive movement may also be given the same dualclassification. See W.L. Morton, “Direct Legislation and theOrigins of the Progressive Movement,” Canadian Historical Review,vol. 25, no. 2 (1944), pp. 279-88.34Ibid., p.178.12Switzerland and several western and mid-western American states.356. Reactionary PopulismWhile somewhat elusive at times in attaching precisedefinitions to the labels of her populism sub-species, Canovancould hardly provide a more concise definition of what she callsreactionary populism:“Populism” of this sort is an appeal to the people whichdeliberately opens up an embarrassing gap between “thepeople” and their supposedly democratic andrepresentative elite by stressing popular values thatconflict with those of the elite: typically, it involvesa clash between reactionary, authoritarian, racist, orchauvinist views at the grass roots, and the progressive,liberal, tolerant cosmopolitanism characteristic of theelite.36She points to the policies and views espoused to great popularappeal by George Wallace and Enoch Powell during the late 1960s ascharacteristic expressions of reactionary populism.37In the wake of the passage of the Civil Rights Act by theU.S.federal government, Alabama governor George Wallace attainednational notoriety and, indeed, popularity, “as a particularlyoutspoken opponent of desegregation.”38 Upon situating himself asthe political point guard of pro-segregationists, Wallace ran as anindependent candidate in the 1968 presidential election, garnering35Ibid., pp. 192-9.36Ibid., p.229.37Ibid., pp. 226-9.38Ibid., p. 226.13ten million votes. “His platform of concern with racial issues,crime, traditional moral values and anti-elitism was clearly onewhich had considerable appeal to the mass of American voters.”39Concurrent with Wallace’s efforts to encourage grass roots-elite cleavage vis a vis the issue of desegregation was EnochPowell’s attempt to mobilize Britons against the Britishgovernment’s liberal immigration policy. In 1968, Powell stunnedthe nation’s political elites “by breaking the tacit conventionwhereby all major parties in Britain had avoided making immigrationand race political issues,”4° calling for a reduction inimmigration levels and for stricter immigrant admission criteria.4’Although his immigration policy views resulted in his dismissalfrom Conservative party leader Edward Heath’s Shadow Cabinet,Powell’s stance was enormously popular among rank and file Britons.“According to various opinion polls, he was supported by between 60and 75 percent of the electorate - far more than any party leadercould command. ,,42Once again, then, reactionary populism, as embodied in theappeals made by Powell and Wallace, mobilizes reactionarysentiments among ordinary citizens against the ostensiblyprogressive policies and values of a political elite.39Ibid., pp. 227-8.40Ibid., p. 228.41Douglas E. Schoen, Enoch Powell and the Powellites (London:Macmillan Press, 1977), chapter two.42Canovan, p. 228.147. Politicians’ PopulismThe last of the populism sub-species that Canovan considers,politicians’ populism, encompasses a vast and seemingly disparateassortment of political phenomena, from the style and themes ofJimmy Carter’s campaign for President in 1976, to the MexicanP.R.I., and the Scottish National Party. Indeed, politicians’populism seems to be a kind of residual category within Canovan’sschema, a sort of conceptual haven for phenomena that scholars haveat times labelled “populist,” but do not seem to fit into any ofCanovan’s other categories. Nonetheless, in the course of herdiscussion of politicians’ populism, Canovan provides an insightfullook at some of the practical uses to which “populism” has been putby the politically opportunistic.“Politicians’ populism,” states Canovan, “is a matter ofpolitical style and tactics, not of particular policycommitments.”43 She lists five more or less distinct forms ofpoliticians’ populism, only one of which will be considered here.One form witnesses the attempt by a political leader to attainpower by “appealing away from politics altogether.”44 Populistsof this genre rhetorically “denounce parties as factions andpoliticians as self-interested manipulators,”45 and implore “thepeople” to transcend partisan politics and rally behind an43Ibid., p. 286.44Ibid., p. 263.45Ibid.15“unpolitical leadership that will put their interest first.”46This generally “antipolitical” rhetorical orientation can bediscerned from a look at the character of Jimmy Carter’s campaignfor President in l976. Capitalizing on widespread publiccynicism towards politicians in the wake of the Watergate scandal,Carter placed great emphasis during the campaign upon “truth,honesty and openness in government,” and cultivated an image ofhimself as a political outsider, unbeholden to interest groups andabove partisan politics.48 In articulating his substantive policyviews, however, Carter evinced a strategically vague and evasivemanner. As a means of appealing to both liberals andconservatives, he simultaneously espoused fiscal conservatism andprogressive social policy. At the same time, Carter “rejected allideological labels except that of ‘populist,’ explaining that thislast epithet indicated ‘that I derived my political support, myadvice and my concern directly from the people themselves, not frompowerful intermediaries or representatives of special-interestgroups.’”49 He also attempted to idealize the simplicity andwholesomeness of average American citizens, and portrayed himselfamong the latter.He dwelt constantly upon his home and family, the smalltown he lived in, his experience as a small businessman,his family farm. . . Even his religion - that of a “born-again” Southern Baptist, which seemed so exoticallyarchaic to the reporters - helped to confirm his image asan ordinary, decent American who was not too clever to46Ibid., p. 265.47Ibid., pp. 269 - 73.48Ibid., 270.49Ibid., p. 271.16believe in God.5°Thus, to summarize very briefly, the form of politicians’populism exemplified by the character of Carter’s campaignwitnesses the strategic use of “antipolitical” and more or lessideologically-neutral populist rhetorical themes and appeals.Having thus set forth the salient characteristics of Canovan’spopulism sub-species, the analysis will now turn to the matter offitting the Reform Party’s “populism” into Canovan’s typology. Thesubsequent analysis begins with a specification of the categoriesthat the party would not appear to fall within.II. What the Reform Party is NotOf all of Canovan’s populism sub-species, the three forms ofpopulism that fall under the heading “agrarian populism” wouldappear to provide the least appropriate means of characterizing theReform Party’s ostensibly “populist” nature. The party, first ofall, obviously cannot be categorized as a manifestation ofpeasants’ populism, given the fact that Canada possesses noidentifiable peasantry. Nor can it be cited as an example ofintellectual agrarian socialism: whatever it is that the partyidealizes, it is certainly not an indigenous peasantry, fictitiousor otherwise. Finally, the applicability of Canovan’s conceptionof farmers’ radicalism to a characterization of the Reform Party’spopulism would appear to be compromised by the general orientationsoIbid., p.2717of the party’s agricultural policy. Party policy favours “a shiftfrom a government-supported agricultural industry to an industryshaped by the free operation of comparative advantage betweenregions and commodities, free entry into all sectors of productionand marketing, and free trade on a global basis.”51 In general, theparty’s agricultural policy rejects the kinds of interventionistmechanisms favoured by radical farmers’ movements, and leansmarkedly towards the interests of consumers over the interests ofagricultural producers. The party’s consumer-oriented agriculturalpolicy can be partially explained via reference to thesocioeconomic composition of the party’s membership. Summarizingthe results of a 1989 survey of 5,000 party members, PeterMcCormick writes,The largest single [socioeconomic] category was “retired”- accounting for 38.4 percent of the respondents...Another 41.3 percent were clearly middle class (smallbusiness 16.7 percent, professional 15.75 percent andmanagement 8.9 percent), 9.5 percent were homemakers andonly 4.7 percent identified themselves as involved inlabour or trade. Striking by its absence is theagricultural sector; on this profile, the party emergesas solidly urban middle class and not a rural phenomenonat all.52Of Canovan’s political populism sub-species, populistdictatorship may also be summarily rejected as a means ofconceptualizing the nature of the Reform Party’s populism. To besure, as will be discussed below, the party’s leadership hasdisplayed an autocratic tendency in its efforts to control the51Reform Party of Canada, Principles and Policies: The BlueBook 1991 (Reform Fund Canada, 1991), p. 16.52Peter McCormick, “The Reform Party of Canada: New Beginningor Dead End?” Party Politics in Canada, Sixth Edition, HughThorburn, ed. (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall, 1992), p. 347.18party’s membership and policy-making processes, and has attemptedto gain power “by appealing past the established elite.., to ‘thepeople.’”53 However, it has not given any indication that it wishesto subvert Canada’s democratic political institutions with a viewto the creation of a dictatorship, and thus cannot be accuratelycategorized alongside Peron, Long, Hitler and Mussolini.Reference to Canovan’s conception of populist democracy wouldappear to provide a somewhat more encouraging means of lendingsubstance to the notion that the Reform Party is a populist party.Indeed, since its inception in 1987, the Reform Party hasdistinguished itself as a vocal proponent of direct legislation,calling for binding referenda and voters’ initiatives. The party’spolicy book states,The Reform Party supports the mechanism of bindingreferendums on the current government of Canada by asimple majority vote of the electorate, including asimple majority in at least two-thirds of the Provinces(including the territories) .Further,The Reform Party supports voters’ initiatives by way ofa referendum, if three percent (3) or more of theeligible voters of Canada sign a petition to the ChiefElectoral Officer requesting that a question orlegislative proposal be put before the people. Such aquestion or legislative proposal should be placed on theballot at the subsequent federal general election.55The party has also emphasized the need to “break the back of partydiscipline” in the House of Commons, and thus render Members of53Canovan, p.137.54Reform Party of Canada, Blue Sheet: Principles and Policiesand Election Platform (Reform Fund Canada, 1993), p.3.55Ibid.19Parliament more accountable to their constituents.56 The policybook states that the party “supports the principle of allowingconstituents a recall procedure against an M.P. they feel hasviolated his/her oath of office.”57 Party policy also calls foramendments to Parliamentary procedure concerning the circumstancesin which a government may be defeated in the House.58We believe that the defeat of a government measure in theHouse of Commons should not automatically mean the defeatof the government. Defeat of a government motion shouldbe followed by a formal motion of non-confidence, thepassage of which would require either the resignation ofthe government or dissolution of the House for a generalelection.59This procedure thus strips the government of the capability tothreaten to dissolve Parliament as a means of forcing its backbenchM.P.s to vote in favour of government measures notwithstanding theviews on such measures held by backbench M.P.s’ constituents.Thus, insofar as it clearly embraces forms of directlegislation, such as referenda and voters’ initiatives, andespouses means of enhancing the people’s control of their electedrepresentatives by means of such mechanisms as recall and freervotes in the House of Commons, the Reform Party appears to manifestwhat Canovan refers to as populist democracy.6°Before definitively56Reform Party of Canada, So You Don’t Trust Politicians?Neither Do We. ( Reform Fund Canada, 1993).57Blue Sheet, p. 3.58Ibid.59Ibid.60See Tom Flanagan and Martha Lee, “The Roots of Reform.” Apaper prepared for presentation to the Annual Meeting of theCanadian Political Science Association, Charlottetown, P . E. I., June20locating the party conceptually alongside the Populists and theProgressives, however, it is perhaps relevant to consider whetherthe party to date has conducted its internal affairs in a mannerthat would appear to conform to the spirit in which the earliermovements campaigned for the implementation of direct democracy.As stated earlier, the Populists and the American and westernCanadian Progressive movements predicated their case for directdemocracy upon a desire to wrest control of the political decision-making process away from party bosses and political professionalsand vest such control in “the people.”6’In light of the party’s militant support for direct democracy,one might reasonably expect the party’s decision-making and policymaking processes to be firmly ensconced in the hands of the party’srank and file membership. Indeed, the party’s leadership andspokespersons have gone to great lengths in attempting to solidifythe party’s public image as a party that is driven and directed byits membership. However, despite its image as “a bottom-uppopulist party, i62 as Manning characterized it during the recentelection campaign, there is substantial evidence to suggest thatthe Reform Party is controlled to a large extent by the party’sleadership, as embodied in Preston Manning and other prominent1992, p. 18.61Canovan, p. 179; Morton, The Progressive Party in Canada, pp.15-17; J.D. Hicks, The Populist Revolt (Lincoln: University ofNebraska Press, 1961), pp. 406-8; Richard Hofstadter, TheProgressive Movement 1900-1915 (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: PrenticeHall Ltd., 1963), part three.62”Manning at the Crossroads,” Vancouver Sun, September 11,1993.21members of what dissidents within the party have referred to as the“Calgary Clique. t63Notwithstanding Manning’ s public crusade against “professionalpoliticians” and the organizational methods of Canada’s “old-line”parties, the party’s head office in Calgary has not been hesitantto retain the services of political professionals, nor has itrefrained from employing organizational tactics and devices thatare characteristic of Canada’s old-line parties. As Sidney Sharpeand Don Braid point out, atopthe grass roots sits a modern political apparatus thatoperates out of the party’s headquarters on 4th AvenueSouthwest in Calgary. Nearly every day, computeroperators open sacks of mail and pour out new membershipapplications, each with $10 enclosed. By fall of 1991 theparty had launched a major drive for corporate donations,headed by Reform chairman Cliff Fryers; hired FrankLuntz, a Republican pollster and campaign planner whoused to work in Ronald Reagan’s White House; engagednational pollsters; and signed Hayhurst Communications,a sharp Calgary-based advertising firm, to sell itsimage 64Meanwhile, the party’s fund raising vehicle, Reform Fund Canada,“is exactly the same as the PC Canada Fund,” to quote Manning.65From the Liberals the Reform Party has appropriated Rick Anderson,who served as a senior director of the party’s recent electioncampaign. At the time of his defection to the Reform Party fromthe Liberals in 1991, Anderson was the general manager of theprominent Ottawa-based lobbying firm Hill and Knowlton. Prior tohis defection, Anderson had served as an organizer for several63Brian Bergman, “Judgement Day,” Maclean’s, December 16, 1991.64Sharpe and Braid, p. 8.65Ibid., p. 9.22noteworthy Liberal Party figures, including former leader JohnTurner, present finance minister Paul Martin Jr., and DonaldJohnston.66From its headquarters in Calgary the Reform Party hierarchyhas exercised control over much more than day-to-day administrationof party affairs. The members of the Calgary Clique, the mostprominent of which include Manning, party chairman Cliff Fryers,and former Chief Policy Officer and current M.P. for Calgary WestStephen Harper, have exercised considerable control over theparty’s policy agenda, as well as over the party’s membership. Inone of the very few in-depth works that have been published to dateon the formation and development of the Reform Party, Murray Dobbinprovides an intriguing account of how the party’s Calgary-basedhierarchy has dominated the party’s membership and policy-makingprocesses.An impression of the hierarchy’s somewhat domineering andmanipulative proclivities can be gleaned from a look at the policymaking process that culminated in the adoption of the party’scurrent policy book at the 1991 Assembly. According to Dobbin,There were, in Harper’s words, “two channels” throughwhich policy reached the 1991 Assembly: local ridingassociations and the Party Policy Committee.67 These twostreams of policies were then screened by the Party66Glen Allen, “Converts in High Places,” Maclean’s, November4, 1991.67Appointed by the party’s Executive Council, the PPC consistedof fourteen members, and was presided over by Manning and Harper.Murray Dobbin, Preston Manning and the Reform Party (Halifax:Formac Publishing Co. Ltd., 1992), p. 147.23Policy Committee and reduced to 159, eighty-eight fromthe constituency associations and seventy-one from thecommittee itself. . .These 159 resolutions, assembled in an“Exposure Draft,” were sent to each constituency whichwas then expected to vote on them and submit the resultsto the committee.68Upon tabulating the results, the PPC prepared a set of sixtyresolutions to be voted on at the Assembly. The set ostensiblyconsisted of the resolutions which garnered most favour at theconstituency level •69“Of those final sixty resolutions,” Dobbin claims, “just sevenhad originated with the constituencies.”70This result, he argues,would appear to have been engineered by the Party Policy Committee:The Exposure Draft itself was heavily loaded in favour ofthe policies put forward by the Party Policy Committee.Resolutions were ordered according to policy area. Inmost policy areas there were two resolutions to choosefrom - usually one from the party and one from aconstituency. But in fifty instances, only partyresolutions were available for discussion. . .The structureof the draft also reinforced the authority of thecommittee’s resolutions. Following the text of competingresolutions was a section called “Rationale.” Most of theconstituency resolutions had not come with anaccompanying rationale, so for these resolutions thecategory was followed by the word “None” - a subtle hintthat perhaps the policy had not been well thought out. Inevery case, the competing party resolution had a detailedrationale. Following that was the “Party PolicyCommittee’s Remarks,” most often criticizing thecompeting constituency resolution and making arecommendation on which resolution to support.7’The Party Policy Committee, evidently disdainful of the ideasemanating from the grass roots, recommended all but four of its own68Ibid., pp. 156-7.69Ibid., p. 161.“Ibid.7’Ibid., p. 157.24resolutions, and counselled members to reject all but twoconstituency resolutions •72At the Assembly itself Manning and Harper kept firm control ofdebate on the policy resolutions that were presented to theassembled delegates. In addressing policy resolutions, individualdelegates who attempted to speak any longer than two minutes hadtheir microphones automatically switched off. Manning and Harper,meanwhile, exercised extraordinary speaking privileges.Throughout the policy discussions either Preston Manningor Stephen Harper were at the head table at the front ofthe meeting hail. They were permitted by the assemblychairman to intervene at any time and to speak toresolutions before any discussion from the floor hadtaken place.73Further evidence of elite-level manipulation of the grassroots can be discerned by way of reference to the leadership’s useand abuse of party task forces. In the spring of 1990, the PartyPolicy Committee began to appoint a series of policy task forces,which were to explore and report on given policy issues as a meansof guiding the PPC in its efforts to formulate resolutions for thepre-Assembly Exposure Draft.74 The task forces were composed ofrank and file party members, and were publicly touted by theleadership as giving voice to the grass roots in the policy-makingprocess.7s The task forces ultimately proved, however, to besomewhat less than idyllic manifestations of grass roots policy72Ibid., p. 158.73Ibid., p. 166.74Ibid., p.147.75Ibid., p.163.25making, as revealed by the terms of a leaked internal partymemorandum. The memo in question, signed by the party’s policydevelopment coordinator but drafted by Manning, was released to thepress in November 1990 by disgruntled Manitoba party off icials.76Addressed to members of the Executive Council, the memo expressedthe leadership’s dissatisfaction with the “unorthodox” ideasemanating from task force discussions.77 “The key problem, asdescribed in the memo, was that ‘the Chairperson does not controlthe policy direction of the task force but rather acts as afacilitator and feels obligated to incorporate all views expressedby the task force members.’”78 Henceforth, individuals chosen fromthe PPC were to preside directly over policy discussions. Theindividuals who would lead discussions were to be in “100-percentagreement with existing party policy,” and were to possess thecapacity to “manage an idea.”79Indeed, the leadership has continuously demonstrated littletolerance of dissent or deviation from the party line from amongthose beneath it. In the summer of 1992, the hand of theleadership fell heavily on a group of Toronto party officials whodeigned to criticize the Executive Council for allegedly “exertingtoo much control over the appointment of Ontario regional co76Ibid77Bergman, “Judgement Day.”78Dobbin, p. 164.“Ibid., and Bergman, “Judgement Day.”26ordinators.”8° The officials in question were subsequentlyreprimanded by party Chairman Cliff Fryers via letter. “Those whocontinued to criticize Reform’s head office, Fryers warned, ‘willbecome marginalized within the party and the constituenciesinvolved will find the leader unavailable to them’ . Fryers wasalso prominent in enforcing internal party unity during the recentelection campaign in attempting to make senior campaign organizerssign loyalty oaths.82 “The oaths,” according to the Globe and Mail,“were meant to prevent a repetition of the internal dissension thatdivided Reform during the referendum campaign on the Charlottetownaccord... The dissension was caused by Manning’s appointment ofRick Anderson as an advisor to the leadership. Anderson’sappointment was vehemently opposed by the party’s director ofpolicy, strategy and communications Tom Flanagan, “who viewedAnderson as too much of an Ottawa insider.”84 In July 1993,Flanagan was unilaterally fired by Manning after Flanagan’s refusalto pledge to muzzle his concerns about Anderson’s appointment.85The party’s policy book contains an ingenious device for theenforcement of unity among Reform Party Members of Parliament.Notwithstanding its provisions calling for freer votes and the80Bergman, “Manning’s Dilemma,” Maclean’s, October 4, 1993.81Ibid.82Ibid.83Miro Cernitig, “The Paradox of Manning,” Globe and Mail,October 20, 1993.84Bergman, “Manning’s Dilemma.”85Ibid., and Cernitig, “The Paradox of Manning.”27implementation of a recall mechanism, the policy book states thatvotes within caucus will “always [be] made public.”86 As Dobbinpoints out, the publication of caucus votes will “actually [lessen]caucus democracy. In other parties, caucus votes are secret.Reform M.P.s faced with publicly disagreeing with their leadermight think twice about such an action.”87 The leadership hasevidently taken other steps to help ensure caucus solidarity. Theparty’s candidate recruitment process, devised largely by Manning,requires potential candidates to answer an extensive forty-pagequestionnaire, which includes an “orthodoxy check.”88 “Eachcandidate is required to answer ‘agree, disagree or modify’, toevery policy in the Blue Book.”89 Prospective candidates mustsubmit the completed questionnaire to Constituency NominatingCommittees. The latter, upon interviewing aspiring candidates, areto advise the aspirants on whether they should contest candidatenominations. Those who are advised not to run are nonetheless freeto do so, although their chances of winning are reduced by thecommittees’ circulation of “a list of ‘recommended candidates’ toparty members.”9°The evidence cited above would thus appear to question theefficacy of specifying the nature of the Reform Party’ s populism by“Principles and Policies: The Blue Book 1991, p. 10.87Dobbin, p.171.“Kenneth Whyte, “Demanding Qualifications: The RPC’s UnusualRecruitment Plan,” Act of Faith, p. 127.89Dobbin, p. 173.“Ibid.28way of reference to Canovan’s notion of populist democracy. Theparty’s espousal of direct democracy rings hollow in light of theleadership’s apparent attempt to manage the party’s affairs andmembership in a manner that is fundamentally incongruent with thebasic essence of populist democracy, which entrusts ordinarycitizens with ultimate power in determining the substance of policywithout the tutelage of political elites, and gives “the people”the power to control their elected representatives, rather thanvice versa.Having eliminated the first five of Canovan’s populism subspecies as appropriate means of delineating and conceptualizing thenature of the Reform Party’s populism, we are left to consider theapplicability of politicians’ populism and reactionary populism.III. The Reform Party, Politicians’ Populism and ReactionaryPopulismthere is such a thing as “the common sense of thecommon people,” and if a politician, a party or agovernment can tap into it and harness that power to theformulation and implementation of public policy, there isno more potent political force on the face of theearth.Preston ManningThe. . .problem is that when you seek input from the bottomup, often the ideas are simple and low quality, or justslogans. They need a lot of fleshing out. But if peoplefeel you’re listening to them, they’ll have faith in you,and then they’ll be very open to what you’re trying to91Preston Manning, The New Canada (Toronto: Macmillan, 1992),p. 25.29sell them.92Stephen HarperThe quotations above betray a kind of instrumentalist view of thegrass roots. It is a view that embraces the grass roots not out ofidealism, or recognition of the intrinsic merit of doing so.Rather, it is a view that perceives the mobilization of the grassroots as a means to an end.Preston Manning has not always been a grass roots politician,or, rather, has not always played the role of a grass rootspolitician. Viewing his political career as a whole, dating fromhis initial involvement in politics as a policy advisor toAlberta’s Social Credit government during the late 1960s, one seesthat Manning’s engagement in grass roots, or “populist,” politicsemerges as a relatively recent endeavour.According to Murray Dobbin, the Reform Party representsManning’s third major attempt at launching a new political party ofthe right. His first two attempts, carried out in collaborationwith his father Ernest, Alberta’s premier from 1943 to 1968, werelargely secretive, elite-oriented affairs, apparently conductedwith little pretext of popular mobilization or support.93The first attempt occurred just prior to Ernest Manning’s921an Pearson, “Thou Shalt Not Ignore the West,” SaturdayNight, December 1990, p. 43.93Dobbin, pp. 40-7 and pp. 83-7.30retirement as premier in 1968. Under the aegis of an organizationcalled the National Public Affairs Research Foundation, launched insecret by Ernest Manning in 1965 with the financial support of agroup of corporate executives, Preston Manning and a small corps ofresearchers set to work at developing the principles of a politicalphilosophy that the Mannings hoped would stem what they perceivedas the rising tide of collectivism in Canada.94 The end result oftheir work was a political philosophy called “social conservatism,”which proposed to “employ the tenets of free enterprise and theenergy of entrepreneurs to solve the social problems to whichsocialists normally turned their efforts - and, to PrestonManning’s mind, turned to the disadvantage of conservatives...Social conservatism envisioned a society in which the freeenterprise, capitalist system would remain fundamentally intact,while the need for collectivist, bureaucratically-administeredsocial programs would be averted by means of the pursuit of socialpolicy goals through private institutions, to which theadministration of social programs would be contracted-out by thegovernment.96 The social conservative philosophy, and theorganizational means by which the Mannings hoped to give it life,were revealed in a short tract entitled Political Realignment: AChallenge to Thoughtful Canadians. In their book the Manningscalled for “a national merger of Social Credit and Conservativeforces with those of right-wing Liberals,” to be accomplished94Ibid., p. 42.95Ibid., p. 40.96Ibid., pp. 40-7 and pp. 61-4.31through a reconstituted Progressive Conservative Party.97 Thereconstructed party was to be “based on clearly defined socialconservative ideals and principles.”98 The process ofreconstruction, however, was to be a top-down process. “KeyProgressive Conservative leaders and supporters” were to launch theundertaking by establishing a committee, which would “prepare theformal statement of ideals and principles” of the reconstitutedparty.99 The new party, furthermore, was to be backed by “amodernized, responsible, national political party organization,”which would employ “the latest scientific and organizationaldevelopments in the performance of its functions.”°° At no pointdid the Mannings explain what the role of the grass roots would bein the new party. Indeed, Political Realignment harbours little,if any, populist rhetoric.The Mannings’ vision of a reconstituted ProgressiveConservative Party never materialized. Their proposals wereignored by the Conservative establishment.’0’Ten years later,however, the Mannings made a second attempt at launching a newconservative political party. In 1978, after holding a series ofdiscussions with a small group of Western M.P.s, the Mannings97Ibid., p. 46.98Ernest Manning, Political Realignment: A Challenge toThoughtful Canadians (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1967),p. 85.99Ibid.,p. 85.‘°°Ibid., p. 83.‘°‘Dobbin, p. 56.32formed an organization called the Movement For National PoliticalChange.’°2 “The formation of the Movement,” writes Dobbin, “firstcame to the attention of the media in September, 1978, when theorganization produced a statement of its objectives.”03 TheMovement, he claims, “was a very private, if not secretive,organization. 104According to Preston Manning, who was executive directorof the MNPC, the organization had a mailing list of “acore of between 250 and 300 people across the country.Some of these people,” said Manning without elaborating,“are plugged into different groups.”105In its published statement, the Movement proposed to “eitherradically transform one of the existing federal political partiesor produce a viable new political party capable of replacing one ofthe existing entities.”°6 According to Dobbin, the Movement’sconception of “a viable new political party’ referred to a newconservative party of the right.”07The Movement ultimately failed to attain the one-thousand orso members that it hoped would eventually assemble for a nationalconvention, and evidently died soon after its inception.’08 Dobbinsuggests that while the circumstances surrounding the Movement’s‘°2lbid., p.84.103 Ibid.104 Ibid.‘°5lbid., pp. 84-5.‘°6lbid, p.85.‘°7lbid., p. 86.‘°8lbid., pp. 86-7.33death are somewhat hazy, it is probable that the Movement was anindirect victim of the National Energy Program and the early-1980srecession, each of which delivered a crippling blow to theMovement’s “principal figures and financial backers,” consistinglargely of individuals representing the western Canadian energyresource •109Manning’s appeal to the grass roots in helping him to buildthe Reform Party would thus appear to stand in stark contrast tohis earlier efforts at forming conservative political movements.His earlier efforts scarcely permitted popular scrutiny let alonepopular participation, and thus lend evidence to the notion thatManning’s apparently grass roots, or “populist,” approach inbuilding the Reform Party is a kind of tactical manoeuvre, a meansto the end of establishing what Dobbin and others claim Manninghas wanted all along: a new conservative political party.11°If Manning’s “populism,” then, is tactical in nature, it isconceivable that what we are dealing with is politicians’ populism.Indeed, as the following discussion will show, Manning hasappropriated many of the populist rhetorical themes and devicesthat Jimmy Carter employed so successfully during the 1976Presidential election campaign.Like Carter before him, Manning has attmpted to capitalize on‘°9lbid., p. 87.‘10See also Sharpe and Braid, p. 60.34acute public cynicism towards politicians by rhetoricallycastigating the Canadian political establishment. Taking advantageof widespread public distrust of Canada’s political elites in thewake of the Muironey government’s imposition of the Goods andServices Tax and the failure of the government’s elite-oriented,backroom approach to the constitutional amendment process, asembodied in the Quebec round of negotiations, “Manning hassuccessfully cultivated an anti-politician image.”1 In hisappeals to a politically disenchanted public, Manning has attackedwith great regularity Canada’s “old-line” politicians and parties,and their “top-down” methods. His anti-politician rhetoric wasprominently displayed right from the outset of the recent electioncampaign. During the early stages of the campaign Manningemphasized the slogan “Let the People Speak,” which apparentlysymbolized his intention “to let the public say first what theyconsider important rather than having the politicians tell themwhat this election is about.”2 While certainly unique, Manning’sappeal came across as somewhat odd, in light of the fact that hisparty’s election platform, which placed special emphasis uponfiscal, justice, and parliamentary reforms”3 - the very issuesthat the party focused upon more or less throughout the campaign -“Richard Sigurdson, “Preston Manning and the Politics ofPostmodernism.” A paper prepared for presentation to the AnnualMeeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Ottawa, June6, 1993, p. 39.“2Cernitig, “Manning Vows Public Voice Will Be Heard OverElites,” Globe and Mail, September 9, 1993.“3The Blue Sheet, p. 1.35was published almost ten months prior to the election.114Meanwhile, on the nightly news during the campaign, Manning couldbe seen flaunting a Reform Party pamphlet, the cover of whichbrazenly stated, “So You Don’t Trust Politicians? Neither Do We.”He also emphasized the need for restrictions on M.P.’s pensionbenefits and for the elimination of various perquisites enjoyed byparliamentarians at taxpayers’ expense.Manning would also appear to follow Carter in terms of hisespousal of “the common sense of the common people,” and hisattempt to portray himself as among the latter. Like Carter,Manning reveals himself to be an average, frugal, hard-workingcitizen,”5 who, furthermore, “is not too clever to believe inGod.”6 In fact, Manning is alone among Canada’s federal partyleaders in proposing to re-introduce a “spiritual dimension” topublic life, claiming that “faith in the existence of God is stillpart of the worldview of the common people.”7 He intends toapply his faith to politics not by imposing upon the Canadianpublic an explicitly religion-inspired agenda, but by “workingChristianly with the urgent or existing public agenda.”8 Thisostensibly entails the pursuit of societal peace and harmony“4lbid., p. 8.“5Sharpe and Braid, pp. 19-21, 107-8.“6Canovan, p. 272.“7Manning, The New Canada, p. 98.“8lbid., p. 104.36through mediation and reconciliation.119 Indeed, worthy politicalleaders must be skilled at mediation and recociliation, he argues,“for the harmonization and reconciliation of conflictinginterests.. .is at the heart of contemporary politics.”20Manning evidently derives great pride from his own mediationskills,’2’ as revealed during the English-language leaders’ debatethat was held prior to the election. Instead of engaging in debateManning tried to moderate debate, calmly asking the other leadersto state or clarify their respective positions on certain issues,often without revealing his own position on such issues. At thesame time, Manning’s moderator role during the debate created theimpression that he was somehow above partisanship and ideologicalsquabbling, an impression that served to underscore yet anotherfacet of Manning’s non-political appeal. Not unlike Carter, whorefused to be classified as either liberal or conservative andattempted to appeal to people of all ideological stripes byproclaiming himself a “populist,” Manning argues that his vision ofa “New Canada” is neither left nor right,’22 and that the partythat he leads is a potential political home for people of diversepast partisan affiliations, from Conservatives to NewDemocrats.’23 For, as he put it during the campaign, “the most“9lbid., pp. 99-101.‘20Ibid., p. 101.‘21Ibid., pp. 101-2, and Sharpe and Braid, p. 21.22Sigurdson, p. 3.‘23sharpe and Braid, p. 66.37fundamental thing about the Reform Party is that it’s a populistparty. ,124In several respects, then, Manning’s political style andrhetoric would appear to manifest the form of politicians’ populismwhich Canovan discerns from Jimmy Carter’s 1976 Presidentialcampaign. However, there is, of course, much more to the ReformParty’s populism than Manning’s anti-political rhetorical appeal.We have yet to consider whether Canovan’s notion of reactionarypopulism is a sensible characterization of the Reform Party’spopulism. The balance of the analysis will attempt to do so.It will be recalled that reactionary populism witnesses “aclash between reactionary, authoritarian, racist, or chauvinistviews at the grass roots, and the progressive, liberal, tolerantcosmopolitanism characteristic of the elite.”25 To describe iteven more succinctly, reactionary populism may be construed as aform of grass roots backlash against the pluralist ideals embracedby a political elite. The Reform Party would appear in a certainfundamental sense to represent just such a backlash, as embodied inthe party’s stark opposition to the pursuit by successive federalgovernments since the late 1960s, roughly, of policies which haveserved to enhance the pluralist character of Canadian society.’26‘24Manning, Question Period, CTV, Sept., 12, 1993.‘25Canovan, p.229.26Pluralism, according to Lipset and Raab, “describes asociety which tends to protect and nurture the independentcoexistence of different political entities, ethnic groups, ideas.”See The Politics of Unreason (New York: Harper and Row Publishers,38Among such policies, Reformers have focused their wrath uponfederal bilingualism, multiculturalism, and immigration policy.127The terms of the party’s opposition to federal policy within thesethree areas of concern, as expressed in the party’s official policybook, are outlined immediately below. The analysis will then moveon to reveal the latent intolerance which appears to underpin theparty’s aversion towards federal bilingualism, multiculturalism,and immigration policy initiatives, and thus bring the party’sreactionary populist character to light.As enunciated in the party’s most recent comprehensive policystatement, The Blue Book, 1991, the party’s opposition to federalbilingualism, multiculturalism, and immigration policy is expressedfor the most part with moderation and with little indication ofunderlying intolerance. With reference to official bilingualism,for example, as embodied in the Official Languages Acts of 1969 and1988, and in sections 16 to 22 of the Charter of Rights andFreedoms, the party registers its opposition by claiming that“comprehensive language legislation, whether in the nature ofenforced bilingualism or unilingualism,” constitutes aninfringement of freedom of speech.’28 Party policy also rejectsthe “two founding peoples” view of Confederation - ostensibly oneof the key underpinnings of official languages legislation - “as an1970), p. 5.‘27For a different view of how Reform Party policy in theseareas can be invoked as a means of characterizing the party’spopulism, see Patten, op. cit., pp. 23-5.‘28The Blue Book, 1991, p. 33.39inappropriate description of the regions outside Central Canada,[and] as unfair to the vast majority of unilingualCanadians. p129 At the same time, the party “in no waydiscourages personal bilingualism, 11130The central statement of party policy regardingmulticulturalism reads as follows:The Reform Party of Canada opposes the current concept ofmulticulturalism and hyphenated Canadianism pursued bythe Government of Canada. We would end funding of themulticulturalism program and support the abolition of theDepartment of Multiculturalism.’3’Depending on one’s interpretation, this evidently blunt policystatement, with its attack on “hyphenated Canadianism,” may betaken as an expression of intolerance of ethnic diversity, or, ifyou like, as an expression of racism. “Assimilationist,” however,is perhaps a better descriptive term. As Peter McCormick posits,assimilationism is “less aggressive than racism (in that if ‘they’stay over ‘there’ there is no problem) and less vicious (if ‘they’come here, ‘they’ should be willing to become like ‘us’) ,132Nonetheless, the apparent assimilationist thrust of the policywould appear to be softened somewhat by the policy statement whichprecedes it in the policy book:‘29Ibjd130 Ibid.‘31Ibid., p. 35.32McCormick, P. 352, note 13.40The Reform Party supports the principle that individualsor groups are free to preserve their cultural heritageusing their own resources. The Party shall uphold theirright to do so.’33Thus, the party’s opposition to official multiculturalism emergesin part as a means of expenditure reduction, which appears to sitwell with the party’s overall fiscally conservative agenda.134Unlike federal immigration policy, which, for the last twodecades or so has reflected a “mixture of compassion andpragmatism, Reform Party immigration policy appears to evincea predominantly pragmatic orientation.The Reform Party supports an immigration policy whichwould be essentially economic in nature. Immigrantsshould possess the human capital necessary to adjustquickly and independently to the needs of Canadiansociety and the job market.136Family class immigration, which provided almost half of allimmigrants to Canada during the 1980s,’37 would presumably becurtailed by “restricting sponsorship privileges to members ofimmediate families, that is, wives or husbands, minor dependentchildren, and aged dependent parents.”38 Family members who do‘33The Blue Book, 1991, p. 35.‘34Dobbin, p. 200.‘35Augie Fleras and Jean Leonard Elliott, Multiculturalism inCanada: the Challenge of Diversity (Scarborough, Ont.: NelsonCanada, 1992), p. 44.‘36The Blue Book, 1991, p. 34.‘37Fleras and Elliott, p. 44.‘38The Blue Book, 1991, p. 34.41not fall within these categories would have to apply forimmigration as independents, and thus be subject to the “humancapital” criterion.139As outlined skeletally above, the Reform Party’s proposedchanges to federal policy in the areas of bilingualism,multiculturalism and immigration come across in a relatively benignand moderate manner. In and of themselves, they appear to betraylittle in the way of intolerance or chauvinism. However, upon amore detailed consideration of the implications of such changes andof what they appear to represent or symbolize within Reform Partycircles, a different view emerges.An examination of some of the views and policies that havebeen espoused by various notable groups and individuals who havepublicly supported, or possess ties to, the Reform Party begins, ifonly tentatively, to provide one with a much less flatteringperspective on what it is that the party’s opposition to federalbilingualism, multiculturalism, and immigration policy may bepredicated upon.One of the more prominent and, indeed, controversialindividuals associated with the Reform Party, Bill Gairdner, claimsthat through its bilingualism, multiculturalism, and immigrationpolicies the federal government has willingly perpetrated, as achapter heading in Gairdner’s polemical work The Trouble With‘39Ibid.42Canada reads, “The Silent Destruction of English Canada.”4° AReform Party member, Gairdner “was one of the key-note speakers atthe Reform Party’s 1991 Assembly, and has been featured at many ofthe party’s rallies in Ontario.”4’ The 1991 Assembly evidentlyprovided Gairdner with an audience that was enormously receptive tohis views, for as Dobbin testifies, “hundreds of [delegates] linedup to buy [his book] and to have it autographed.”42In his book Gairdner interprets federal bilingualisminitiatives as means by which federal political elites haveattempted to implement a “master plan for the francization ofCanada.”143 At the same time, he argues that federalmulticulturalism has sown seeds of national disunity by emphasizingand promoting cultural differences among Canadians.’44 Instead,Canada needs “to find a national cultural system that works; thento encourage everyone to assimilate to it, thus gradually losingtheir prior differences. The English culture and system ofgovernment have been just such a solution, as Canada’s peacefuldevelopment until very recently attests.”45 As for federalimmigration policy, Gairdner laments the decision by the Pearsongovernment in 1967 to introduce the “points system” of immigrant‘40Gairdner, The Trouble With Canada (Toronto: GeneralPaperbacks, 1991), p. 389.‘4’Dobbin, pp. 133-4.‘42Ibid., p.134.43Gairdner, p. 397.‘44Ibid., pp. 393-4.‘45Ibid., p. 395.43admission, from which the previous system’s ethnic and racialcriteria were purged.’46 Citing figures which indicate that alarge majority of Canadians believe that immigration policy shouldserve to preserve Canada’s current ethnocultural composition,’47he calls for the replacement of Canada’s present “universal”immigration system by a variant of the old “control” system thatwas shelved in 1967.After all, surely any nation has the right to defenditself against demographic capture, or, if you prefer,against passive racial or cultural take-over. One way Ican think of to stop it is to use quotas: any year’s cropof immigrants must reflect the current racial, cultural,and religious composition of the nation. We currentlyhave 1 percent Chinese? Then only 1 percent of theimmigrants can be Chinese. Now, I don’t like quotas foranything, but in the face of outsiders determining thefate of our nation by numerically overwhelming a“neutral” selection system, I’d use them. I might evenargue that we should use them to redress the presenttrend. Otherwise, we may become subordinated to peopleand cultures unlike our own through reliance on a systemdesigned to eliminate cultural bias!148By the “present trend” Gairdner refers to the rapid post-1968increase in immigration from “non-traditional” sources as apercentage of total annual immigration. Non-traditional sourcesinclude all sources outside of Europe, the United States,Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.’49Also numbered among the more extremist Reform Party‘46Ibid., pp. 404-416.‘47Ibid., p. 405.‘48Ibid., p. 413.‘49Ibid., p. 410.44“connections,” as Dobbin refers to them, are the NorthernFoundation, the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada(APEC), and the Heritage Front.’5°Although officially non-partisan, the Northern Foundationoffers free advertising space in its quarterly publication to“conservative” organizations such as the Reform Party (the partyhas, in fact, taken advantage of such space) .‘‘ Link Byfield,the publisher of the staunchly pro-Reform Party Reportnewsmagazines, is a director of the Foundation.’52 John Carpayrepresents another link between the party and the Foundation. Thecurrent Reform Party M.P. for Burnaby-Kingsway, Carpay is a formereditor of the Foundation’s quarterly publication.’53 TheFoundationclaims that “common-sense Canadians” are found in threegroups: “economic conservatives, moral conservatives, andsocial conservatives” who appreciate “Canada’s Britishand Christian heritage and oppose forced bilingualism,destabilizing immigration policies and government-promoted official multiculturalism. ,154Like the Northern Foundation, Ontario-based APEC is notofficially linked to the Reform Party.’55 Nonetheless,‘50Dobbin, pp. 121-33.151bid., p. 122.‘52Ibid., p.121.‘53Tom Hawthorn, “Reformer Dismisses Link,” Vancouver Province,October 24, 1993.‘54Dobbin, p. 122.‘55Ibid., p.132.45significant informal ties exist. According to Dobbin, despite theReform Party hierarchy’s disavowal of APEC, “Reform Partyheadquarters, and more specifically Preston Manning, were willingto allow Apec people to occupy key posts in its Ontarioorganization at its most sensitive, early stages.”56 APECmembers have also made their presence felt within Party circles onVancouver Island. Members of the organization have been elected tosit on several Vancouver Island constituency executives. One suchmember, Bill Rumley, who was elected to serve as president of theparty’s Esquimalt- Juan de Fuca riding association in 1991, goes sofar as to claim that “most Reform Party of Canada members in B.C.also belong to APEC.”157As one might surmise in light of its name, APEC, like theReform Party, opposes official bilingualism. “Both call for alanguage policy based on freedom of speech and reject anycomprehensive language policy; both call for an end to bilingualcriteria in the federal civil service.”158 Each organization alsotakes the position that the right to communicate in French withinCanada’s governing institutions should essentially extend nofurther than the terms of section 133 of the Constitution Act,1867.159 Their respective policy stances appear to differIbid.‘57Whyte, “Trouble in B.C.: Infighting Forces ThreeConstituency Presidents From Office,” Act of Faith, p. 132.158Dobbin, p. 132.159bid. Section 133 reads: “Either the English or the FrenchLanguage may be used by any Person in the Debates of the Houses ofthe Parliament of Canada and of the Houses of the Legislature of46primarily in terms of the way in which each approaches the on-goingCanada- Quebec constitutional crisis. The Reform Party’s positionon this issue will be dealt with later on in the analysis. For themoment, it is perhaps sufficient to say that the party takes asomewhat less inflammatory and blatantly confrontational stand visa vis Quebec than APEC does. Like the Reform Party, APEC assertsthat Quebec should not be granted special constitutional statuswithin ConEederation.’6° APEC, however, declares that shouldQuebec leave Confederation, as it undoubtedly would if confrontedby a federal linguistic and constitutional regime in accordancewith APEC’s policies, the provincewould be very much reduced from its current territory.APEC’s separate Quebec would be deprived of the hugenorthern area that was once part of Rupert’s Land; wouldbe obliged to provide a “corridor of sovereignty” betweenOntario and the Atlantic provinces; and would be obligedto allow “regional referenda” on separation in easternand western Quebec and other smaller areas. Apec quotesSection 42(1) of the Constitution Act (1982) to back itsclaim that Canada has the right to partition Quebec.16’Indeed, APEC’s chairman, James Morrison, goes so far as to claimthat Quebec “should not be allowed to separate. . .The use of forcein defence of the Constitution is legitimate self-defence.”62Quebec; and both those Languages shall be used in the respectiveRecords and Journals of those Houses; and either of those Languagesmay be used by any Person or in any Pleading or Process in orissuing from any Court of Canada established under this Act, and inor from all or any of the Courts of Quebec.The Acts of the Parliament of Canada and of the Legislature ofQuebec shall be printed and published in both those Languages.”‘60Dobbin, p. 131.‘61Ibid. p. 132.‘62Ibid.47The Heritage Front is perhaps the most extreme organization topublicly endorse the Reform Party, which, in the words of theFront’s leader, has “given us some hope.”63 The organization hasas its goal an “all-white Canada,” claiming that white people are“the most precious force on this planet.”64 Dobbin quotes theFront’s leader, Wolfgang Droege, as follows: “We believe thateventually white people will become a minority in this countrybecause of our immigration policies. . .We are racial nationalistsworking for the interests of whites everywhere.”’65A look at some of the extremist policies and programs thathave been put forth by various groups and individuals who havepublicly supported or have been associated with the Reform Partythus creates the impression that the party’s opposition to federalbilingualism, multiculturalism and immigration policy represents,to some degree, an appeal to reactionary sentiment. To be fair,the Reform Party hierarchy has gone to some lengths in publiclydistancing the party from certain of the above, as well as other,extremist groups and individuals. Perhaps the most that one cansay with reasonable certainty is that extremists have beenattracted to the party due to its opposition to aspects of federalbilingualism, multiculturalism and immigration policy. To go anyfurther than this requires a more in-depth look at Reform Partypolicy in these areas. The party’s immigration policy will be‘631bid., p. 131.‘64Ibid.‘65Ibjd48reconsidered first.During the election campaign the party’s immigration policygenerated considerable controversy, some of which would appear tohave been deliberately caused by Manning himself. Amidstdiscussion of immigration issues during the English-language partyleaders’ debate, for example, Manning made a special effort todistinguish his party’s policy from the respective policies of theother parties as far as how many immigrants Canada should admit onan annual basis.’66 With some coaxing from Manning, each of theother leaders expressed their parties’ support for the currentannual immigration figure, which stands at approximately 250,000.Manning, in turn, stated that the Canadian economy could notaccommodate 250,000 immigrants per year, calling for the annualtotal to be reduced to 150,000. Following Manning’s performance,the party’s immigration policy, which, it will be recalled, “has asits focus Canada’s economic needs,” became the target of harshcriticism for its “unspoken insinuation that most immigrants are adrain on the economy.”’67 The criticism intensified with thepublication, within about a week and a half of the leaders’ debate,of extreme immigration policy statements that were made by twoReform Party candidates. The party’s candidate in York Center,John Beck, stated on CBC television that immigrants were“overpowering,” and were “taking jobs away from us, the Gentile‘66Mark Hume, “Reform Breaks Ranks on Immigration,” Vancouverian, October 9, 1993.‘67Ibid49people.”68 Meanwhile, the party’s Capilano-Howe Sound nominee,Herb Grubel, was reputed to have posited at an all-candidatesdebate that “over the past 15 years immigrants have been a netdrain to the Canadian economy.”169According to John Conway, a professor of sociology at theUniversity of Regina and a well-known observer of populistmovements, the Reform Party’s immigration policy “is intended toappeal to those who are concerned about the increase in Third Worldimmigration. Of course, [Reformers] can’t say that, but theyclearly imply that when they talk about the first criterion beingan economic one.”17° Indeed, it is quite conceivable that if itwere to be implemented, the party’s immigration policy would serveto reduce immigration from the developing world as a proportion oftotal immigration. Once again, under a Reform Party government,immigrants would be selected on the basis of whether they “possessthe human capital necessary to adjust quickly and independently tothe needs of Canadian society and the job market.”7’ It takes nogreat leap of the imagination to come up with the notion that theindividuals who will most likely “possess the human capitalnecessary to adjust quickly and independently” will hail fromsocieties and cultures which most closely resemble Canadian society‘68Doug Ward, “Old-line Parties Put Spin on Losses to Reform byPortraying Upstart Party as Far Right-Wing,” Vancouver Sun, October14, 1993.‘69Miro Cernitig, “Reform Party’s Many Faces,” Globe and Mail,October 14, 1993.“°Cited in Sharpe and Braid, p. 127.‘71The Blue Book, 1991, p. 34.50and culture. While there are, of course, many dissimilaritiesbetween Canadian society and culture and those of the so-calledtraditional sources of immigration, which include Europe, theUnited States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, these wouldseem very few, indeed, when compared to the societal and culturaldifferences which lie between Canada and the many and diversenations of the developing world. Thus, basic reasoning allows oneto infer that individuals from the latter would stand a lesserchance of acquiring what it takes to “adjust quickly andindependently” than individuals from the traditional sources ofimmigration. To be sure, in order to qualify as an independent-class immigrant under current federal immigration guidelines,candidates must meet certain “human capital” criteria in terms of“job-related skills, age, language skills, and education.”72However, unlike Reform Party policy, federal policy places greateremphasis on family reunification. Such an emphasis serves toencourage immigration among qualified candidates from developingcountries and other non-traditional sources, such as Hong Kong andTaiwan, since such candidates are given the opportunity to remainwith their families - no small incentive in light of the importanceof kinship and collective responsibility among family members tomany cultures, especially South and East Asian cultures, which lieoutside the orbit of traditional immigration sources. In contrast,with its much stricter limitations on sponsorship privileges,Reform Party policy, accedes Simon Fraser University economicsprofessor Don De Voretz, “would effectively shut off family‘72Fleras and Elliott, p. 43.51reunification as an avenue for immigration.”73 Bill Gairdnerquite possibly points to an additional inhibition to nontraditional immigration should the party’s tighter sponsorshipguidelines be implemented. For “we do know,” states Gairdner intypically brash fashion, “that non-traditional immigrants tend tohave larger families than those from traditional sources.”74Aside from whether Reformers in general terms view theirparty’s immigration policies as means of curtailing non-traditionalimmigration, it is abundantly clear that many within the party viewwith adversity a federal immigration policy that has helped toincrease Canada’s ethnocultural diversity. Until it was rewordedfor the current edition of the Blue Book,party policy insisted that“immigration policy should not be ‘explicitly designed to radicallyor suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada, as it increasinglyseems to be’”75 In its efforts to re-work this statement as ameans of presenting a more moderate immigration policy for thecurrent Blue Book, the Party Policy Committee apparently receivedlittle help from rank and file party members. Prior to the 1991Assembly, the PPC was forced to sort through a veritable “flood ofextremist resolutions on immigration.”76 According to Dobbin,Eighteen constituency resolutions were included in theExposure Draft. All were extreme in one respect or‘73Hume74Gairdner, p. 414.‘75Pearson, p. 43.‘76Dobbin, p. 161.52another. . .One that would prove very controversial wouldhave “encourage(d) immigrants to settle in less populatedareas. .“ The policy committee “sympathized with theobjective...” but rejected it as being “unenforceable.”Another would have denied immigrants protection under theCharter of Rights.177Yet another exclaimed, “RESOLVED that we should maintainethnic/cultural balance as of September 1990 178Turning to the party’s multiculturalism policy, it wasmentioned earlier that the party’s proposal to abolish the federalDepartment of Multiculturalism comes across as a means of trimmingfederal expenditures - a justifiable rationale, perhaps, in lightof the current fiscal crisis, and an understandable one given theparty’s staunchly conservative fiscal policy orientation. At thesame time, there is some question as to whether the money to besaved from such a move would be enough to outweigh the potentiallynegative symbolic message that would be sent to “ethnic Canadians”should the Department be unceremoniously done away with. In 1991 -the year in which the party’s current policy book was published -the federal Department was given a budget of $26.8 million, only 22percent, or $5.9 million, of which was “funnelled into ‘culture,’including the visual and performing arts and heritage languageprograms.”79 The rest of the Department’s funding was “allocatedto immigration settlement and community participation (including‘77Ibid., p. 160.178bid., p. 201.‘79Fleras, “From ‘Culture’ to ‘Equality’: Multiculturalism asIdeology and Policy,” Social Inequality in Canada, eds. JamesCurtis et al (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall Canada, Inc., 1993),p. 395.53programs for official-language instruction to counselling centresfor new Canadians) ... [and to p1 rograms to improve interculturalunderstanding and eliminate discriminatory barriers (througheducation, promotion, and race relations training) . “° Torepeat, as far as its fiscal rationale for the Department’sabolition is concerned, party policy, as expressed in the BlueBook, cites the need to end funding of “culture” only. Indeed, ina separate policy document, which outlines the party’s deficit-reduction strategy in greater detail, it is stated that theprograms to which the larger portion of the Department’s budget isallotted “would be preserved and moved to appropriate federaldepartments.”8’ Thus, according to the Reform Party’s plan, thesavings to be derived from the Department’s abolition - about $5.9million - is relatively minimal.If the party’s fiscal rationale for the Department’s abolitionappears, at best, shaky, then one is left with the impression thatthe party’s purposes in proposing to do away with the Departmentreduce to the desire to bury “the current concept ofmulticulturalism and hyphenated Canadianism pursued by theGovernment of Canada,” and the “valorization of difference” which,according to Patten, Reformers see at the heart of the concept.’82‘80Ibid.18’Reform Party of Canada, Zero in Three (Reform Fund Canada,1993)182Patten, pp. 24-5.54As Patten explains, the “belief that there exists a unitarynational culture or a single way of living which can be identifiedas mainstream Canadian life is important to Reformers.”183 Priorto the current policy book’s publication, party policy “called onthe government to ‘promote, preserve and enhance the nationalculture and.. . encourage ethnic cultures to integrate into thenational culture.’”84 While one might argue that thisassimilationist orientation reflects just the sort of melting-potmentality which is definitely not part of Canada’s nationalculture, but a part, rather, of the American, from which Canadianshave striven for decades to distinguish themselves, it is perhapsthe case that after a prolonged period in which Canadians haveendured constitutional crises, threats of secession, uprisingsamong aboriginal peoples, inter-provincial animosities, and so on,Canadians must, in order to remain Canadians, focus upon “thecommon ground which supposedly characterizes that which unitesus.”85 Alternatively, it is also the case that glorification of“the national culture” may be taken to extremes, resulting in therepression of differences. Indeed, it would appear that in theirefforts to command attention to their conception of Canada’snational culture, Reformers have taken to the extreme, as embodiedin party policy regarding the “distinctive heritage and traditionof the RCMP..‘83Ibid., p.24.‘84Ibid.‘85Ibid., p. 25.‘86The Blue Book, 1991, p. 31.55When the federal Solicitor General’s Ministry revealed to theCanadian public in March, 1988 that it intended to alter the dresscode of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in order “to accommodateminorities such as male orthodox Sikhs, who are required to wearturbans and refrain from cutting their hair,” an explosion ofcontroversy ensued.’87 By the time of the federal government’seventual promulgation of the alterations in March, 1990, “the imageof the Mounties had become a touchstone for racial and religiousintolerance in Canada.”88 Many Canadians registered theiropposition to the dress code changes via petition to Parliament.Parliamentarians were asked by petitioners to “preserve thedistinctive heritage and tradition of the RCMP by retaining theuniformity of the dress code. fl189 Others registered theiropposition in much less moderate terms. According to DaivaStasiulis, associate professor in Carleton University’santhropology/sociology department,more disturbing [than the petition-writing campaign] wasthe successful sale of pins and calenders whichdenigrated Sikhs, Chinese and Blacks. One pin which wasreported to sell 30,000 copies around the countryportrayed a white man, holding a Canadian flag anddwarfed by a Sikh in a turban, a Chinese man and a Blackcarrying a spear, bearing the words, “Who’s the minorityin Canada?”9°‘87Daiva Stasiulis, “Symbolic Representation and the NumbersGame: Tory Policies on ‘Race’ and Visible Minorities,” How OttawaSpends, Frances Abele, ed. (Ottawa: Carleton University Press,1991), p. 250.‘88Ibid.‘89Ibid.‘90Ibid.56At its October, 1989 Assembly, held in Edmonton, the ReformParty effectively instituted itself as the political point guard ofthe essentially Alberta-based opposition to the proposed dress codechanges. At the Assembly, delegates “overwhelmingly supported aresolution that Sikhs be barred from wearing turbans in theRCMP.”91 Despite the fact that the dress code changes have nowbeen in place for four years, party policy has maintained a vigilin opposition to them. Current policy reads as follows:The Reform Party supports the preservation of thedistinctive heritage and tradition of the RCMP byretaining the uniformity of dress code. Changes shouldnot be made for religious or ethnic reasons.192While one cannot determine precisely the motives that laybehind the party’s staunch opposition to the RCMP’s dress codechanges, the seemingly arbitrary nature of the party’s positiongives one the impression that intolerance may be an underlyingfactor. It is obvious, first of all, that to refuse to permit anyexceptions to the terms of the dress code for religious reasons“would effectively, if inadvertently, preclude entry of Sikhs intothe national police force.”93 Having had seven years of publicdebate on the dress code changes, and thus having had ampleopportunity to discern the potentially exclusionary nature of itspolicy, the party cannot but expect to be labelled intolerant inretaining it in its policy book. One is also struck by the‘91Ibid., see note 86.‘92The Blue Book, 1991, p. 31.‘93Fleras and Elliott, p. 143.57seemingly anomalous character of the policy in relation to one ofthe salient themes that runs through party policy in its entirety.The Reform Party, its exponents claim, is about change. Some ofthe more notable changes that the party states that it wishes tomake concern the fundamental character of one of the country’s mostrecognizable and venerable national symbols - Parliament. Inproposing the creation of an “equal, elected and effective” Senateand the use of referenda, initiatives and recall measures, theparty has set forth a package of reforms that encroachesfundamentally upon Canada’s parliamentary tradition. Yet, theparty will not accede to some very minor changes to the RCMP’sdress code. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that whileReformers refuse to countenance any tampering with the RCMP’suniform, “since it was first formed in 1873, the RCMP has alteredits official uniform several times, including a major change froma brimless pill box to a broad-brimmed scout charge.”194In the final analysis, the policy trade-oft that the partyfaces with reference to its RCMP dress code policy is similar tothe one that it faces regarding its proposal to abolish theDepartment of Multiculturalism. Just as Reformers must assesswhether the money to be saved from abolishing the Department isworth the potentially negative symbolic message that such a movewould send to ethnic minorities, Reformers must assess whether “thepreservation of the distinctive heritage and tradition of the RCMPby retaining the uniformity of dress code” is of greater value than‘94Bob Bragg, Calgary Herald, February 25, 1990. Cited inStasiulis, p. 251.58a truly representative national police force, or, alternatively, isworth the alienation of certain ethno-religious groups, such as theSikh community. In the end, for stated or apparent reasons thatthe above analysis portrays as somewhat irrational, the party hasin each instance chosen policy options which provide furtherevidence to those who suspect that the party represents an appealto the more reactionary and intolerant elements in Canadiansociety.The ostensible rationale of party policy regarding officialbilingualism would also appear to be of questionable soundness. Itwill be recalled that policy rejects “comprehensive languagelegislation” and calls for “a language policy based on freedom ofspeech, “ implying that official bilingualism somehow representsan attempt by the state to infringe free speech by forcingCanadians to speak languages that may not be customary to them.Indeed, as Therese Arseneau aptly points out, official bilingualismis commonly referred to within party circles as “enforcedbilingualism.”96 It is clearly the case, however, that officialbilingualism does not represent an attempt by the federalgovernment to force Canadians to speak in uncustomary tongues, to“force French down people’s throats” as English Canadians angry atthe Trudeau government’s passage of the 1969 Official Languages Act‘95The Blue Book, 1991, pp. 32-3.‘96Therese Arseneau, “The Reform Party of Canada: The Secret ofits ‘Success.’” A paper prepared for presentation to the AnnualMeeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, Kingston,June 1991, p. 25.59were fond of saying.197 As Trudeau was forced to explain adnauseum in response to the coercive character that many Canadianserroneously discerned from his government’s bilingualisminitiatives, “[b] ilingualism is not an imposition on the citizens.The citizens can go on speaking one language or six languages or nolanguage if they so choose. Bilingualism is an imposition on thestate and not on the citizens.”198 The whole point ofbilingualism, in other words, is not to make the citizenry conformto the state’s linguistic designs for the country, but to make thestate conform to the linguistic needs of the citizenry. “What wewant,” stated Trudeau, “is that the institutions be bilingual. Wewant the government of all Canadians, the central government, to beable to communicate with the population.”99 As George Radwanskiably explains,The only instance where the Official Languages Actimposes anything on individuals is in the case of alimited number of public servants, and here, too, noright is infringed in principle. There is no basic rightto work for the government or any other employer withouthaving the proper qualifications, and in a country withtwo principal language groups it is reasonable to requireknowledge of both languages for certain governmentjobs 200Official bilingualism, of course, represents much more than anattempt by the federal government to render itself more197George Radwanski, Trudeau (Scarborough, Ont.: Macmillan,1978), p. 287.‘98Ibid.‘99Ibid., pp. 287-8.2001bid., p. 288.60linguistically accessible to the Canadian populace as a whole. Ofcritical importance to an understanding of official bilingualism isa recognition of its symbolic aspect, or, more specifically, itsfunction as a means of nation-preservation, if not nation-building.Under Trudeau, official bilingualism was the central component ofthe federal government’s strategy in combatting the growingstrength of Quebecois nationalism and the emergence of theseparatist option. By means of official language legislation andthe constitutional protection of francophone rights, each of whichwere to apply to the country as a whole, Quebecers, so the federalgovernment’s reasoning went, would come to view Canada as theirown, and not simply the domain of English Canadians. In theprocess, the province of Quebec would be seen less and less as theprotector of francophone rights, and the attraction of sovereigntywould fade away.20’ To be sure, with the passing of the Trudeauera and the advent of the Mulroney administration, the emphasis ofthe federal government’s strategy in dealing with the separatistthreat changed. Through its constitutional amendment initiatives,as embodied in the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords,respectively, the new government broke decisively with itspredecessor in attempting to assuage Quebecois nationalists byacceding to the Quebec government’s demands for more provincialautonomy and for the recognition of Quebec as a “distinct society”within Canada. Nonetheless, the Mulroney government maintained anunwavering commitment to official bilingualism, as shown by thepassage of a new Official Languages Act in 1988, which served to2011bid., p. 286.61strengthen the terms of the original Act.202The purpose of the foregoing discussion is simply to emphasizethat over the past twenty-five years successive federal governmentshave attempted to a greater or lesser degree to employ officialbilingualism as a means of stemming the separatist movement inQuebec. The discussion also serves to properly contextualize theReform Party’s opposition to official bilingualism, which, whenviewed as part of the party’s general policy orientation towardsQuebec, emerges as a component of a program that appears toenvision, and perhaps encourage, a fully separate Quebec.According to Sharpe and Braid,Preston Manning likes to tell Quebec to go off and defineitself, then come to the bargaining table and see if itwants to live in his “New Canada.” But Quebec has beensaying “No!” to the Reform Party’s kind of Canada formore than a century.203In addition to opposing official bilingualism, the party denies theright of the government of Quebec to enforce language legislationof the kind embodied in Bills 101 and 178, as the party’sopposition to “comprehensive language legislation” and “enforcedunilingualism” clearly implies. As mentioned earlier, the partyalso stands rigidly opposed to any form of “special status” for theprovince of Quebec. As party policy proudly exclaims, “We remained202Jean-Claude Ducharme, Official Languages Act (1988) (Ottawa:Library of Parliament, Research Branch, 1988).203Sharpe and Braid, p. 151.62to the end the only federal party opposed” to the Meech LakeAccord.204 Sharpe and Braid point out that an internal party pollthat was released to the press in late 1989 - just as the Accordratification process was entering a decisive phase - “showed that94 percent of Reform members wanted to scrap the Meech Lake dealentirely even if this caused Quebec’s separation from Canada.”205Party policy goes on to explain that should Quebec persist inaspiring to be a province pas comme les autres, “Quebec and therest of Canada should consider whether there exists a betterpolitical arrangement” between the two.206 For all intents andpurposes, such an “arrangement” entails a complete severance ofconstitutional ties between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Manninghas made it abundantly clear that his party will not countenancethe kind of sovereignty-association that was sought by the PartiQuebecois during the 1970s and early 1980s. During the electioncampaign Manning reiterated “that Reform is the only party thatwill tell Quebecers that ‘their choice is either separation or anew Canada, not the soft mushy ground of sovereignty-association inbetween. There is no support for that outside Quebec.’”207 Healso emphasized that within his “New Canada,” “any federalgovernment negotiating Quebec independence ‘would have only oneobjective - to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs to the204The Blue Book, 1991, p. 7.205Sharpe and Braid, p. 152.206The Blue Book, 1991, p. 8.207Anthony Wilson-Smith, “Reform on a Roll,” Maclean’s, October11, 1993.63rest of Canada.’”208Sharpe and Braid deftly summarize the relationship between the“Quebec problem” and the party’s policy and, indeed, popularity, asfollows:Manning is using against Quebec the same sort of hardballtactics Quebec has employed for years against the rest ofCanada, to the disgust of so many people. This isemotionally pleasing to those who feel the urge to blowoff the steam that has been building ever since theOfficial Languages Act was passed in 1969. The tactic isresponsible for much of the party’s popularity. Manningcontinues to insist that his party is the only one thatdoes not take as its starting point a reaction to Quebec.Yet it is clear that the Reform Party, from its creationin 1987 to its startling popularity today, is in largemeasure a hostile reaction to Quebec: to Quebec’s impacton the constitution, its influence in Ottawa, itscontribution to the debt, and its language policies. TheReform Party was the only federal party that opposedMeech Lake from beginning to end. Manning owes hiscurrent employment to the very province the Reform Partyclaims not to consider as its starting point. WithoutQuebec, the Reform Party would not exist in its presentform, just as the Bloc Quebecois and Parti Quebecoiswould not exist without English Canada.209By its “present form” the authors refer to the fact that the partyformally exists in all provinces but Quebec. The party’sconspicuous organizational absence in Quebec is apparently due toManning’s conviction that given the on-going Canada-Quebecconstitutional impasse, federal political parties cannot properlyrepresent the interests of Canada and Quebec simultaneously.States Manning,209Sharpe and Braid, p. 154.64Either you represent the rest of Canada in this or yourepresent Quebec. But you can’t represent both. . .As longas you’re playing for votes on both sides you can’t betrusted by the rest of Canada to articulate itsinterests 210Thus, in the final analysis, the Reform Party not onlymanifests an unwillingness to try to accommodate the expresseddesires and aspirations of Quebecois as a means of keeping thelatter within Canada: the party refuses to attempt to evenrepresent Quebecois. One might therefore be justified ininterpreting the Reform Party as one that has its sights fixed onbecoming “the party of English Canada,” the party that will either“put Quebec in its place” or, more likely, perhaps, purge Quebecfrom Canada altogether. Indeed, Dobbin argues that “from the timeof the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, Preston Manning’s strategyfor his new party has been to position himself as the spokespersonfor English Canada on the question of Quebec and the Constitution.He has gradually established his negotiating stance: he is the manwho will ‘stand up to Quebec.’”2***Precisely how, then, does the foregoing analysis of ReformParty policy regarding immigration, multiculturalism, andbilingualism (and by extension, Quebec) allow one to properlycategorize the Reform Party as a manifestation of reactionarypopulism? To repeat, reactionary populism, as Canovan defines it,210Cited in Dobbin, p. 217.2111bid., p. 255.65consists ofan appeal to the people which deliberately opens up theembarrassing gap between “the people” and theirsupposedly democratic and representative elite bystressing popular values that conflict with those of theelite: typically, it involves a clash betweenreactionary, authoritarian, racist, or chauvinist viewsat the grass roots, and the progressive, liberal,tolerant cosmopolitanism characteristic of the elite.212Within the context of the preceding analysis, the role of the“elite” has been played by Canada’s elected federal governingelites, who, since the late 1960s, roughly, have pursued policieswhich reflect a willingness to not only recognize diversity - inthis instance, ethnocultural and linguistic diversity - but alsoencourage diversity and empower diverse groupings of citizens withmeans to “preserve and promote” their distinctiveness. In thissense, successive federal governments have evinced what Canovanrefers to as “progressive, liberal, tolerant cosmopolitanism,”which can alternatively be viewed as a form of pluralism. On theother hand, the Reform Party, which claims to represent the grassroots, or “the people,” has appealed to Canadians to oppose thepluralist policies that have been pursued by the federal elites.At the same time, as the above analysis of party policy hassuggested, this opposition can be viewed, at least in part, as anexpression of intolerance or chauvinism, or an expression ofunwillingness to accommodate deviation from some perceived nationalcultural norm.212Canovan, p. 229.66Summary and ConclusionThe preceding analysis has attempted to specify and conceptualizethe nature of the Reform Party’s “populism” by means of MargaretCanovan’s typology of populisms. Upon describing Canovan’stypology, the analysis turned to the matter of placing the ReformParty within Canovan’s schema. To this end, the analysis beganwith a more or less peremptory rejection of the applicability offour of Canovan’s populism sub-species: farmers’ radicalism,intellectual agrarian socialism, peasants’ populism, and populistdictatorship. Of the remaining three, after a somewhat moreextended enquiry, populist democracy was also dismissed as anappropriate conceptual means of specifying the nature of theparty’s populism. It was found that despite the party’s strongsupport for various direct democracy measures, the party hierarchyhas apparently conducted party affairs in a manner which seems todo harm to the basic essence of populist democracy, which entrusts“the people” with ultimate power in formulating policy without thetutelage of political elites, and gives “the people” the power tocontrol their elected representatives, rather than vice versa.Ultimately, it was argued that the party’s populism can best bespecified by way of reference to Canovan’s notion of reactionarypopulism, as well as politicians’ populism. On the one hand, itwas posited that Manning’s “populism” is in a sense tactical innature, and that an examination of his populist rhetoric revealsremarkable similarity to the kind of tactical, “anti-political”populist rhetorical appeals that Jimmy Carter employed sosuccessfully during the 1976 Presidential election campaign. On67the other hand, as the bulk of the analysis attempted to show, anin-depth consideration of party policy regarding multiculturalismand immigration, and bilingualism and Quebec provides evidencewhich suggests that recourse to Canovan’s conception of reactionarypopulism provides a more substantial means of pinning down theReform Party’s populist character.The fact that the Reform Party may be placed in two differentcategories within Canovan’s schema may be cited as evidence of acritical flaw in Canovan’s typology of populisms. Indeed, if atypology is of use only in so far as the phenomena that it isintended to organize can be located individually in no more thanone conceptual box within a horizontal set of categories, Canovan’stypology is perhaps of marginal utility. As pointed out in thesection of the analysis which describes her typology in detail,additional examples of political phenomena that may be found inmore than one of Canovan’s populism categories include the U.S.People’s Party and the Canadian Progressives.Canovan, however, freely admits that her typology is far from“watertight,” and diligantly apprises the reader of instances wherecertain phenomena may be placed in more than one category. “Sincethe types suggested are analytical constructs,” she accedes, “reallife examples may well overlap several categories.”21Notwithstanding its affront to typological purity, Canovan’s213Canovan, p. 13.68schema provides a helpful means of sorting through and organizingthe truly “bewildering variety of phenomena” that scholars havetermed populist.214 In general, the seven categories yieldremarkably distinct groupings of political phenomena, and equip theinterested analyst with reasonably viable means of making usefulcomparisons among the various actors and entities that haveheretofore shared the populist label, and of providing some senseof what the label means when it is applied to new phenomena, suchas the Reform Party of Canada.2141bid., p. 3.69List of SourcesAllen, Glen. “Converts in High Places.” Maclean’s 4 November1991: 21.Arseneau, Therese. “The Reform Party of Canada: The Secretof its ‘Success.’” A paper prepared for presentationto the Annual Meeting of the Canadian PoliticalScience Association, Kingston, June 1991.Bergman, Brian. “Gaining Ground.” Maclean’s 24 June 1991: 14.Bergman, Brian. “Judgement Day.” Maclean’s 16 December 1991: 12.Bergman, Brian. “Manning’s Dilemma.” Maclean’s 4 October 1993: 28.Bergman, Brian. “The Crusader.” Maclean’s 25 October 1993: 14.Canovan, Margaret. Populism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1981.Conway, John. “Populism in the United States, Russia, andCanada: Explaining the Roots of Canada’s ThirdParties.” Canadian Journal of Political ScienceXI: 1 (March 1978) : 99-124.Dobbin, Murray. Preston Manning and the Reform Party. Halifax:Formac Publishing Co. Ltd., 1992.Ducharme, Jean-Claude. Official Lanquages Act (1988). Ottawa:Library of Parliament, Research Branch, 1988.Flanagan, Tom, and Martha Lee. “The Roots of Reform.” A paperprepared for presentation to the Annual Meeting ofthe Canadian Political Science Association,Charlottetown, P.E.I., June 1992.Fleras, Augie. “From ‘Culture’ to ‘Equality’: Multiculturalismas Ideology and Policy.” Social Ineauality inCanada. Eds. James Curtis et al. Scarborough, Ont.:Prentice-Hall Canada Inc., 1993.Fleras, Augie, and Jean Leonard Elliott. Dimensions ofMulticulturalism in Canada. Scarborough, Ont.:Nelson Canada, 1992.Gairdner, William. The Trouble With Canada. Toronto: GeneralPaperbacks, 1991.Globe and Mail, September-October 1993.Hicks, J.D. The Populist Revolt. Lincoln, Neb.: University ofNebraska Press, 1961.Hofstadter, Richard. The Progressive Movement 1900-1915. Englewood70Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Ltd., 1963.Howse, John. “The Man and His Mission.” Maclean’s29 October 1990: 30.Laycock, David. Populism and Democratic Thought in the CanadianPrairies, 1910 to 1945. Toronto: University ofToronto Press, 1990.Link, Arthur S., and Richard McCormick. Progressivism.Arlington Heights: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1983.Lipset, S.M. Agrarian Socialism. Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1967.Lipset, S.M., and Earl Raab. The Politics of Unreason. New York:Harper and Row, Publishers, 1970.Macpherson, C.B. Democracy in Alberta. Toronto: University ofToronto Press, 1953.Manning, E.C. Political Realignment: A Chal1ene to ThoughtfulCanadians. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1967.Manning, Preston. The New Canada. Toronto: Macmillan Canada, 1992.McCormick, Peter. “The Reform Party of Canada: New Beginning orDead End?” Party Politics in Canada. Sixth Edition.Ed. Hugh Thorburn. Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall,1992.Morton, W.L. “Direct Legislation and the Origins of the ProgressiveMovement.” Canadian Historical Review vol.25, no.2,(1944), pp. 278-88.Morton, W.L. The Progressive Party in Canada. Toronto: Universityof Toronto Press, 1950.Newman, Peter C. “Preston Manning’s Contradictory Vision.”Maclean’s 24 June 1991: 43.O’Neill, Terry. Act of Faith. Vancouver: B.C. Report Books, 1991.Patten, Steve. “Populist Politics? A Critical Re-Examination of‘Populism’ and the Character of the Reform Party’sPopulist Politics.” A paper prepared for presentationto the Annual Meeting of the Canadian PoliticalScience Association, Ottawa, June 1993.Pearson, Ian. “Thou Shalt Not Ignore the West.” Saturday NightDecember 1990: 36-43, 74-5.Question Period. CTV. 12 September 1993.Radwanski, George. Trudeau. Scarborough, Ont.: Macmillan, 1978.71Reform Party of Canada. Blue Sheet. Principles, Policies andElection Platform. Reform Fund Canada, 1993.Reform Party of Canada. Principles and Policies: The Blue Book,1991. Reform Fund Canada, 1991.Reform Party of Canada. So You Don’t Trust Politicians. NeitherDo We. Reform Fund Canada, 1993.Reform Party of Canada. Zero in Three. Reform Fund Canada, 1993.Schoen, Douglas E. Enoch Powell and the Powellites. London:Macmillan Press Ltd., 1977.Sharp, Paul. The Agrarian Revolt in Western Canada. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota Press, 1949.Sigurdson, Richard. “Preston Manning and the Politics of Post-Modernism.” A paper prepared for presentation to theAnnual Meeting of the Canadian Political ScienceAssociation, Ottawa, June 1993.Stasiulis, Daiva. “Symbolic Representation and the Numbers Game:Tory Policies on ‘Race’ and Visible Minorities.”How Ottawa Spends. Ed. Frances Abele. Ottawa: CarletonUniversity Press, 1991.Vancouver Province, September-October, 1993.Vancouver Sun, September-October 1993.Wilson-Smith, Anthony. “Reform on a Roll.” Maclean’s 11 October1993: 16.Young, Walter D. Democracy and Discontent. Toronto: McGraw-HillRyerson Ltd., 1978.72


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items