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UBC Theses and Dissertations

New right, old Canada : an analysis of the political thought and activities of selected contemporary right-wing organizations Foster, Bruce Wayne

Abstract

This thesis is an examination of a moral, cultural and political movement referred to as the New Right. Its specific focus is on three Canadian right-wing organizations, each of which exhibits particular characteristics while at the same time sharing the basic ideological assumptions of the others. These organizations and their particular characteristics are: i) the prolife/profamily REAL Women of Canada and moral conservatism, ii) the anti-bilingualism and anti-Charter Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada (APEC) and cultural conservatism, and iii) what was arguably the dominant New Right organization during its time — and as I show, among the weaker links in the New Right chain — the Reform Party of Canada and conservative populism. Though Reform was a relatively successful federal political party and the other two are pressure groups, the members in each nevertheless conceive of their respective organizations as vehicles for the authentic views of "the people." In other words, of these organizations see themselves as the true representatives of the majprity of citizens in English-speaking Canada who, they allege, have been deliberately denied political influence commensurate with their numbers since the era of left-leaning, "special interest" politics, policies and moral-cultural values took hold beginning in the late 1960s. By analyzing the New Right phenomenon in general and the three Canadian groups in particular, this project seeks to a) understand the ideological perspective of the movement; b) assess whatever tension, be it normative, policy-driven or strategic, existed between the groups examined herein; and c) determine whether or not such tension was indicative of a fundamental wealkness in the Canadian New Right. I also draw upon three basic questions to frame the analysis presented herein: 1. Is the Canadian New Right ideologically coherent? 2. What explains the New Right's relative lack of success in Canadian politics? 3. Is there a future for the New Right in Canadian politics? I keep these questions in mind throughout the thesis and reconsider them specifically in the concluding chapter.

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