This, from Brian Gable in the Globe and Mail, is, I fear, going to be the Conservative Party of Canada’s reaction to 2015 …
… but that will be exactly the wrong reaction.
In the Army we were always taught to study and analyze defeats with more attention than we paid to victories because the lessons from defeats are what teach us how to win tomorrow. Learn from your mistakes, in other words.
And, fellow Conservatives, we made some mistakes …
First: we lost our own vision. I believe that Prime Minister Harper had a vision: he wanted to make many, many relatively small, incremental changes to how we are governed so that we, the “ordinary Canadians,” could keep more of our own money and make more of our own choices … it’s called liberty and we failed to convince Canadians that we are the liberal party in Canadian politics;
Second (and related): we allowed the opposition campaigns and some (by no means all) of the media to define us as mean, sneaky, secretive, anti-immigrant racists. They made some ~ too many ~ big dents in our armour. They weakened us; and
Third: we have failed to understand that Canadians have “decided,” in their own way, that they want to import even more American political practices and one of them is that the “chief executive,” our prime minister, gets something akin to a fixed, eight year term. Prime Minister Harper, despite being, head and shoulders, the best choice for national leader, was beyond his best before date.
I will not even mention the local, tactical blunders ~ like the dreadful “barbaric cultural practices” fiasco, except to say that Dr Kellie Leitch must do a really good imitation of Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney and get herself into hundreds of temples and mosques and synagogues and so on … wearing the “funny hats” and eating the “ethnic’ treats in order to explain that she, and we, didn’t mean what the words said. That was a major blunder and we, Conservatives, need to regain the trust of all the “ethnic” communities.
Let’s not be afraid to look back to 2015 with clear eyes … we can take some pride in what we have done but there are also many lessons to be learned. Let’s not be afraid to discuss them, openly and honestly.