There is much shrewd policy advice in Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution by Tasha Kheiriddin and Adam Daifallah. However, the overall plan of the work is fundamentally flawed. If Stephen Harper and his conservative advisers were to adopt the libertarian policy platform advocated in this book, they would consign the Conservative party of Canada to political oblivion.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah have been led into error by a misunderstanding of small-c conservatism. They describe it as “a political philosophy loosely based on the ideas of classical liberalism, as outlined in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith and more modern thinkers, such as Friedrich Hayek. It emphasizes free markets, individual rights over collective rights, limited government, private property rights and personal responsibility.”

Notably missing from this list is the core attribute of British, Canadian and American conservatism; namely, a due regard for the accumulated wisdom of our ancestors, especially as enshrined in the common law and the traditional principles of Judeo-Christian morality. In this sense, Locke, Smith and Hayek were all conservatives.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah are libertarians masquerading as conservatives. While they allow that, “Conservatives by definition respect tradition,” they have scant respect for the sanctity of human life and the traditional principles of sexual morality that uphold the natural family.

To the contrary, Kheiriddin and Daifallah favour a political agenda of gay “marriage” and legalized abortion on demand. They write: “Let’s be clear: An overtly socially conservative platform calling for implementing so-con ideas through legislative means – i.e., through laws restricting abortion, outlawing gay ‘marriage,’ etc. – will not resonate with the majority of Canadian voters. Unlike the United States, we are not a socially conservative, God-fearing nation.”

More’s the pity. We Canadians are also less apt than the people of the United States to esteem the rights of private property, to lobby for lower taxes and to demand frugality in government spending. Should we, therefore, throw our hands up in despair and forever resign ourselves to big-spending, high-taxing, property-despoiling Liberal governments?

Of course not. Kheiriddin and Daifallah admonish conservative Canadians to dig deeper into their pockets to support the Canadian equivalent of think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute that have been so successful over the past 25 years in educating Americans about the follies of tradition-bashing liberalism.

Consider the Heritage Foundation, in particular. It describes itself on its website as a research and educational institute – a think tank – whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defence.In conformity with these principles, the Heritage Foundation opposes gay “marriage,” favours laws restricting abortion and promotes abstinence-based sex education in the public schools.

There is, in Canada, no exact equivalent to the multipurpose Heritage Foundation. Instead, we have a variety of smaller, specialized think tanks. Some, like the Fraser Institute and the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, specialize in economic issues. Grassroots groups, such as Campaign Life Coalition and REAL Women of Canada, play a vital role in promoting policies based on the fundamental principles of traditional Judeo-Christian morality.

Kheiriddin and Daifallah suppose that the Conservative party can win power with a libertarian platform that combines economic conservatism with innovative liberal values. That’s a delusion. To rescue the right in Canada, libertarians and social conservatives must co-operate in supporting key policies that can win popular support.

To this end, Harper has promised that a Conservative government would allow a free vote in Parliament on contentious moral issues, such as reaffirming the traditional definition of marriage as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman. If Harper were to abandon this commitment by endorsing gay “marriage” as urged by Kheiriddin and Daifallah, he would destroy the Conservative party.

President Ronald Reagan put together an enduring coalition of libertarians and conservatives in the United States. Harper and his conservative advisers must do the same in Canada. Otherwise, they can have no hope of breaking the seemingly perpetual rule of the morally corrupt Liberals.