Taking StockrnThe Rise of a Canadian Third Partyrnby Kevin Michael GracernSir John A. Macdonald, the first prime minister of Canada,rnwas a Conservative. He is remembered chiefly for his lovernof alcohol and his hatred of free trade. Brian Mulroney, the lastrnelected Conservative prime minister, foreswore alcohol whenrnhe reckoned (correcfly) that he could surmount the greasy polern(just like George W. Bush) and embraced free trade when hernreckoned (again, correctly) that this tactic would split the oppositionrnand ensure his re-election. Mulroney was the only Conservativernto win two consecutive majorities in the 20th century,rnbut in so doing, he transformed his party into a mirror image ofrnits great rival, the Liberals—and thereby shattered it. And afterrna decade-long false start, the Conservative base has found a newrnhome — in the Canadian Alliance.rnThe virtual collapse of the Conservatives in 1993 ensuredrnconsecutive majority governments for Jean Chretien’s LiberalrnParty. Chretien—like Mulroney and Chretien’s mentor, PierrernTrudeau —is committed to the New Canada myth of thern”proposition nation”: Canada as a wholly materialist entity, withrnno unique culture nor any traditions worth preserving, its valuernbased entirely on the judgment of foreigners.rnFor the seventh year in a row, Canada has ranked first in fliernKevin Michael Grace is a senior editor of the Reportrnnewsmagazine, pubUshed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.rnU.N. Development Program’s quality-of-life index. It is amusingrnto think of Canadians responding with shouts of “We’re No.rnl! In your face, USA!” —and depressing to admit this is preciselyrnwhat has happened. Although there is not a person alivernwho can explain the U.N.’s methodology, this has not stoppedrnPrime Minister Chretien from boasting at every conceivablernopportunity that Canada is “the best country in the world.”rn(That is, when he is not regaling us with accounts of his imaginaryrnconversations with the homeless or with “ordinar)’ Canadians”rnin pubs and donut shops he has never visited.)rnCanadians are divided linguistically, ethnically, and geographically,rnbut the most important distinction is between thosernwho believe Canada is the best country in the world because thernUnited Nations says so and those who do not. T’hose in the firstrngroup are the natural, perhaps only, supporters of the LiberalrnParty (which is not so much a political party as a governing institution,rnlike Mexico’s PRI). Those in the second group are thernnatural supporters of Stockwell Day’s Canadian Alliance.rnDay, until recently Alberta’s finance minister, is the firstrnavowedly conservative leader of a major national Canadian partyrnin living memory. He is not only a “fiscal” conservative—wernare all fiscal conservatives now—but a “social” conservative asrnwell: pro-life and anti-gay rights. He has made a direct appeal tornwhat might be called (after Sam Francis) “Middle Canadians,”rnNOVEMBER 2000/21rnrnrn