To My Fellow Conservatives,

I’ve always tried to avoid getting into scraps on my own side of the spectrum, but honestly, it’s time for me to vent some thoughts and feelings. Ever since the Conservative defeat in the October federal election, I’ve seen an escalation of sorts on the right. Extremists seem to have taken over our movement, and they’re even converting good people to their ways. I’ve seen so many people, many of whom I’ve greatly admired over the years, who have turned to spewing rhetoric, hate, exaggerations, and even bigotry. It sickens me that we’ve come to this.

Conservatism is about freedom and individual liberty. It’s about small government, low taxes, and your right to live your life whichever way you desire. As Ronald Reagan said, “The very heart of conservatism is libertarianism”. The above is all so very true. Why is it that so many so-called conservatives have now taken to attacking the way that others choose to live their lives? When we have issues like soaring provincial debt, the biggest deficit budget in Alberta’s 111 year history, a $30B federal budget deficit, a sinking resource industry and so many others, why are conservatives occupied with attacking LGBTQ children? No, Ezra Levant. Elementary school boys are not going to “pretend to be transgender” to go into girls’ change rooms and sexually assault young girls. Why are conservatives so pre-occupied with attacking minorities when the very heart of our movement is being blatantly attacked by the party of union domination and rapidly expanding government? These people are even attacking our own party. When interim CPC leader Rona Ambrose came out and took initiatives to modernize some of our party’s stances, and shift to some more libertarian viewpoints, some on the right lashed out at her. The words I read from some people are too vile for me to include in this column.

I’ve become somewhat ashamed to even call myself a conservative, as I do not want to be associated with people such as those that I’ve described in the above paragraph. I’ve already found myself growing closer and closer to the ideals of libertarianism on the whole, but with the conservative movement having been hijacked by extremists and socons, I’ve taken to calling myself a fusionist or conservatarian. I believe in individual liberty. I believe in freedom. I may not agree with every single lifestyle decision made by others, but I’ll fight to my last breath defending their right to live the lifestyles they live. Perhaps conservatism has changed. Perhaps it’s no longer about freedom and liberty. I hate to think that, but based on what we’re seeing in today’s political landscape, it really has become something entirely different.

This rising extremism on the right side of the spectrum isn’t contained to Canada either. Down south, in the land of the free, or “God’s Country”, as one Alaskan shop owner welcomed me to back in 2013, a fascist is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan, hijacked by a man who’s pulled policies straight out of the Nazi party handbook, and has been endorsed by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Never before have I seen such hatred fuel a political campaign at any level. This man has mocked prisoners of war, Holocaust victims, a disabled reporter, women, minorities, immigrants, etc. If you can name a group that isn’t exclusively made up of extremely wealthy white men, Donald Trump has been sure to attack them. What truly terrifies me is that I’ve seen Canadians tooting Trump’s horn here at home. In a nation built on diversity, some on the right are embracing a bigoted demagogue who believes in everything that Canada was built against. It both saddens and disgusts me in ways I cannot explain in words.

Yeah, left wing social justice warriors have gone too far. Yes, feminism has become a plague spreading lies, hatred and victimhood. That said, what do we gain by allowing extremists to take control of our movement? “The left does it, so we can too!” is a horrid argument. Why stoop to that level? Why are the Ezra Levants, Ann Coulters, Donald Trumps and Kevin O’Learys (the latter two not even being actual conservatives) being allowed to commandeer the movement of Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, John A. MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and John Diefenbaker? I suppose things have changed. I have tried not to leave conservatism, but perhaps conservatism has left me.

Where do we go from here? Well, I’m sure that half of my audience will throw hate at me for writing this, but I’m certain that the other half will give me a golf clap. To the latter half, I invite you to work with me to restore the conservative movement. Yes, I’m one 25 year old tradesman who really isn’t important (at all) in the political landscape, but what if a great number of us worked together? What if we told the right that we’re sick of the negative, hateful, divisive rhetoric, and that we must return to our core values? Honestly, I’m not sure that many would listen, but I think it might be worth a try.

If you’ve read to this point, I’d like to thank you. This was all born out of what I’ve witnessed over the past few months. I’ve made my criticisms of others on my side of the spectrum, but never quite like this. I wrote an article in opposition to Ezra Levant and his Rebel hate machine that resulted in me losing 50-100 followers on Twitter, many of whom had followed me for 2-3 years. When I spoke out against Donald Trump’s brand of fascism, I lost another 50 or so followers. This is all immaterial. These are people I can do without. I must speak for what I believe in. I refuse to allow extremists to be the most prominent voices of the right. If I’m shouting into an empty space, I’ll continue shouting. This I promise you. I could lose all 1460 (approximately, as of March 7, 2016) Twitter followers, and I’d still keep tweeting. I have big plans for the future. I’m looking ahead to 2017 hoping to attend both CPAC and the Manning Centre Conference. I hope to speak to as many others as I can about the current state as well as the future of conservatism.

Let’s fight for the right’s future,

Trevor Norris