Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
Some days, it sure seems that way. Monday's Alberta election was a contest between a conservative party and a far-right conservative party. The left-of-centre options didn't count for much. All of them were much more focused on getting their deposits back than on forming government.
Next door in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the right rules the roost. BC Premier Christy Clark is Liberal in name only, and is surrounded by former advisers to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. In Saskatchewan, Premier Brad Wall has been associated with conservative causes and parties for his entire life.
Quebec's Jean Charest, while theoretically a Liberal, was a card-carrying Conservative for decades. In the Atlantic, Conservatives govern in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.
And federally, of course, Harper united the right in 2004, and went on to defeat the once-mighty Liberal Party thereafter, and now governs with a comfortable majority.
Meanwhile, the trade union movement is in decline, and governments everywhere - even non-conservative ones - are pushing tough austerity measures. Conservative voices control Canada's newsrooms: Only one English-language newspaper, for instance, didn't endorse Harper in the 2011 federal general election.
But things are not nearly as conservative as conservatives would have us believe.
In Ontario, a legislative vote will be taking place today to determine if another election will be held, just a few months after the last one. Polling I have seen shows that, if an election had been forced today, Dalton McGuinty's Liberals would have won a third majority, and Ontario New Democrats would form the Opposition. The Conservatives would have slipped to third place. But a deal was reached, and an election has been averted - for now.
Out west, BC New Democrats are widely expected to win a substantial majority whenever an election takes place. In Manitoba, a New Democrat government that had been considered as good as gone came back to win a huge majority in last fall's provincial election. Liberals and New Democrats comfortably govern in PEI and Nova Scotia.
It's premature to declare that progressive politics are dead and dying in Canada. Nationally, polls consistently show that two-thirds of us opposed Harper's Conservatives in last year's election - and, if an election were to be held now, there is an excellent chance he'd lose his majority, or more, to the surging New Democrats.
Politically, a significant number of Canadians remain independent - they shift their votes between the competing parties, and resist being labelled as "conservative" or "liberal."
But that's just politics. When Canadians are probed about their attitudes and identities - the deep-down, emotional stuff that doesn't easily lend itself to words, but which drives political choices - conservatives increasingly dominate.
Following the lead of U.S. conservatives in the 1960s, the Canadian right has become far better at communicating (thus its near-total dominance of editorial voices), and it has become much better at promoting conservative values (thus its ability to convince average folks to vote against their economic interests).
Canadian conservatives don't run everything - yet. But like their U.S. counterparts, Canadian right-wingers have methodically sought to dominate at the level of words and values. They know that if they can capture voters' hearts and minds, winning elections will be a piece of cake.
What matters most isn't party affiliation. What matters is an emotional connection - and, right now, it's conservatives who've got it.