The CPC Leadership Sweepstakes

Christina Blizzard, writing in the Toronto Sun, says:

“She’s beautiful, fluently bilingual and well-educated.

And she’s Justin Trudeau’s worst nightmare.

Caroline Mulroney Lapham, the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, is the best choice to be the new leader of the federal Conservative party, many Tory insiders believe.

Like Trudeau, she has an impeccable political pedigree and is glamorous. She’s also very smart.

The married mother of four graduated cum laude from Harvard and has a law degree from New York University.

This is a critical time for the Tories as they cast around for a new leader. They can’t ignore the new kind of star factor that Trudeau brings to politics.

If the Tories choose a leader who falls into the same-old middle-aged-white-guy model, they’ll languish in the political wilderness for a decade. Trudeau represents a generation shift in federal politics. The Tories must make their own changes to adjust.”

I don’t disagree with any of that, but …

There’s a always a “but,” isn’t there?

Despite also agreeing with Ms Blizzard when she says …

“It wasn’t so much the substance of Conservative policies that sank them in the Oct. 19 election — it was their style. Harper was an able leader who competently steered the country through tough economic times. It was his scorched earth tone, a certain meanness, that turned voters off.

The party has to find a leader who can unite the different factions — from the old-style Reformers to those who see the way forward as a kinder, gentler conservatism.

… I’m not so sure that brining in a rank amateur is a good idea.

My personal preference is for a social moderate/fiscal hawk. I understand that the fiscal hawk bit is hard to reconcile with my other preference for a strong, effective (and efficient) military that is used to give weight to a principled foreign policy. In order to find enough for defence ~ about 2% of GDP is about right, in my (not uninformed) opinion ~ and still reduce the government’s “fiscal footprint,” the national government would have to make deep, difficult, painful cuts elsewhere. It may well be that my preferences are politically unsustainable.

But, thanks Ms Blizzard, for energizing the debate.

Right now I see the main candidates as:

Rona Ambrose ~ I think, if necessary, the party can find a way to allow her to run

John Baird ~ and outside, but …

Maxime Bernier

Tony Clement ~ if Jason Kenney doesn’t run

Jason Kenney

Kellie Leitch

Peter MacKay ~ he said “no,” but …

Erin O’Toole

Lisa Raitt

Michel Rempel

Mark Strahl ~ possibly a sentimental “favourite son” for some

I’m a bit surprised, and pleased, to see so many women on that list (4/11) and so many relatively young people, too. Both facts speak well for the future of our party.

I’m not ready to declare my favourite, yet … but it is likely to be someone that I see as a “new conservative,” not breaking with prime Minister Harper’s main policy thrust, but letting Canadians see us as something other than manipulative, mean and secretive.

 

 

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