David Akin, writing in the Toronto Sun, introduces readers to Maxime Bernier. I like what David Akin quotes M Bernier as saying about himself: ““I want a freer and more prosperous country,” Bernier said. “And the way to do that is to have a limited government. I’m a real Conservative. I believe in freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect. That’s the four themes of my campaign. Every public policy will be based on these four themes.”” Those ~ “freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect” are themes behind which we Conservatives should all be able to unite.
I have some concerns about how well M Bernier will do against other potential leadership candidates (and I do not count Kevin O’Leary as a potential leader ~ not of my Conservative Party, anyway) …
… and, of course, if he becomes leader, how well he will do against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
M Bernier made a personal error in judgment, a rookie mistake, when he was first in cabinet as Minister of Foreign Affairs; that will be dredged up, again, and he needs to neutralize it quickly … but rookie mistakes are common: just look at Justin Trudeau and Mme Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Other potential CPC leadership candidates have baggage, too … remember “barbaric cultural practices?” All potential leaders need to “get out in front” of their own past errors, put the mistakes (publicly) behind them, and they need to not remind Canadians of one another’s mistakes … we need a “gentlemanly” campaign from the ladies and gentlemen who aspire to lead us; we can count on the media and the Liberals to remind us all of all past errors.
“Respect,” it seems to me, speaks to both “social moderation” and a tolerance for the view of others. I have said many, many times that we need to be a socially moderate party ~ one that accepts society and it is (and that includes the facts that abortion and gay marriage, just to name two “hot button” issues, are rights, and are defined as such by the Supreme Court) and also accepts that not all Conservatives hold moderate views. The government and the leader must accept, defend and promote social moderation, no matter what her or his personal, moral opinions might be, and, at the same time, tolerate some dissent from within the party. We need respect for the civil rights of all Canadians and for the moral opinions of our fellow Canadians, too. It’s a bit of a balancing act but nothing that is beyond a real leader.
Maxime Bernier has long been known as a proponent of economic freedom and property rights. His views on personal responsibility will, I suspect, be debated even by other Conservatives. There is a strong sense amongst many Conservatives that we cannot “roll back” social programmes, not even those that we think are misguided, and still hope to win elections … and we cannot lead the country in the right direction from the opposition benches. I expect that there are many “social libertarians” and “fiscal hawks,” like me (and M Bernier?), who, in our hearts, want to roll back many of the Trudeau, Père et Fils, programmes because we are certain that they are both unaffordable and socially destructive, but, as Jeff Hodgson said, in the C2C Journal, “The preponderance of historical evidence shows that most Canadians, in most circumstances, will vote for political parties that offer them the most. They will continue to vote for these political parties whether their promises are affordable or not. Eventually, when lenders slam the door, most Canadians will reluctantly vote for fiscally conservative measures or have austerity forced upon them by reluctant politicians. The measures will ultimately…painfully…prove effective, the problem will be corrected, and then the spending and borrowing will resume.” We, Conservatives, want (and Canada needs us) to be more than just a transitory “correction” mechanism that gets applied every 20 years or so. We, the “fiscal hawks” and “social libertarians” (including Maxime Bernier) may need to mix some water with our wine.
I repeat that I have yet to decide which leader I will support but I like what I hear and read about Maxime Bernier.