Earlier this month, the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Ottawa played host to two consecutive conferences, a small one by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada followed by a big one by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. Both were well attended by current and former ministers, employees and strategists of the Harper government. Both drew energetic crowds of activists and ordinary people. Both gave free rein to an unabashed social conservatism that is rarely mentioned, and even less frequently championed, by even prominent fiscal conservatives in the big papers and magazines. And the mood at both gatherings was overwhelmingly optimistic, because the kind of conservatism that appeals to these organizations is demonstrably on the march in Ottawa and across Canada.
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