Trans-Conservative: Not an oxymoron
By Blaine Badiuk “The TransConservative”
Many people look puzzled when I tell them I am a conservative. “How can you be a transwoman AND a conservative?” is the most common reply I get. While the vast majority of transgender people do support more left-leaning parties, we are not a monolithic group! There is a growing number of us who are not afraid to be proudly conservative. I want to use this first article as an opportunity to explain why my politics are the way they are.
Like many Canadians, I was inspired by the late Jack Layton, former NDP leader, believing that a better Canada was possible through the policies his party supported. I believe that no one should be homeless, no mom should have to choose between putting food on the table or a roof over their children’s heads, and no kid should have to come to school hungry. As I got older and the years went by, the parties I once supported no longer focused on the issues that mattered to me but instead on these pipedreams that were impossible or would severely harm our quality of life. My values never changed, but how I believe we get to that better Canada has changed. I believe conservatives have the best plan to create a better Canada. The following are my core beliefs and values, which partly explains why I am a conservative.
Freedom is central to what it means to be a conservative and to what I believe it means to be a Canadian. It should not matter who you are, who you love, to whom you pray, if you do at all, or what you believe in. You are a Canadian and you are welcomed here! The principle of freedom is vital to me. I had the freedom to transition, to embrace who I was and access life-saving medical care to become the woman I am today. Freedom to decide one’s own life, and especially free to make their own medical decisions, are vital human rights! That is what conservatives fight for and directly links to why we need limited government.
I believe in the role of government, that it can have a positive force in people’s lives. But it should not have undue interference in one’s life. Government must be there to maintain people’s freedoms. For example, in Alberta, if you can access a doctor, and one that will prescribe hormone-replacement therapy drugs, then you are free to do so without medical gatekeeping. In fact, you can change the gender marker on your ID with just a simple visit to a registry office, something that in other provinces still requires medical documentation! This is just one small example of where we should empower people to make their own decisions instead of the government making them for you. Smarter government leads to more freedom.
Maintain Safety and Well-Being
One of the crucial roles of government is to maintain public safety and protect people’s well-being. That is why the conservative vision of limited government includes national defence, police forces, and public services like healthcare. But this goes beyond just physical safety and people’s health.
Economic well-being is a particularly vital role for government to play. Allowing people the freedom to innovate, be entrepreneurs, to work hard and achieve success are what conservatives want. We need to unleash opportunities for hard-working people to succeed because that is what grows wealth for everyone. We grow the economy with targeted investments and less unnecessary government regulation, which leads to an improved quality of life.
Fiscal Responsibility and Low Taxes
As a student, I have to budget my money very well – so why should the government not have to do the same? Most people want to pay less taxes, but I also believe most are okay with paying their fair share of taxes when it is spent wisely. Government investments need to be about growing the economy, like childcare, which has an exceedingly high economic return.
It’s also about efficiency – how can we do the most with limited resources? That is why public healthcare and public education make sense and form part of my conservative identity. We just need to look down south to see the most expensive healthcare system in the world with terrible health outcomes. I do not believe in public healthcare despite being a conservative, but because of it!
We also cannot have never-ending deficits and growing debt that will need to be paid back by future generations. This is why fiscal responsibility is so important. We cannot tax our way out of a deficit, nor can we cut our way out of it. For the sake of our country, and especially the next generation, we must get out of deficits and start paying down debt. Smart decisions need to be made. I believe following these principles of growing the economy and ensuring public dollars are spent as efficiently as possible will get us on to a better path.
Those are a few of the main reasons why I am a conservative. These are the principles I believe in. I am not a conservative despite being trans. I am a conservative because I am trans. I hope these future columns provoke deep conversations about the big issues facing our country and province, and we start to talk over the ideological divide instead of only with like-minded individuals.