… and concludes, correctly, in my opinion, that “Here’s the problem this presents for Conservative supporters, in a nutshell: The electoral topography of Canada hasn’t fundamentally changed. Liberal support in the aggregate remains at close to 44 per cent, according to poll aggregator ThreeHundredEight.com, with the New Democrats at just above 15 per cent … [and] … Even assuming the existing first-past-the-post system remains in place in 2019, the Conservatives will need to move from under 30 per cent, to close to 40 per cent, for a win. The quest for those votes will lead them directly back to the new Canadians in the GTA they so assiduously courted in 2010 and 2011, and whom Leitch and Blaney are casually tossing overboard right now … [and, while] … This may be the era of the Brexit and Trump. In Canada, electoral math is still electoral math.“
First ~ Values do matter ~ but Dr Leitch is not going anywhere near far enough. Immigrants aren’t the problem, many, I daresay most of them are here because they want to live in our society and adhere to our values; and
Second ~ The problem with values is that the Laurentian Elites and their anointed saviour don’t share them …
… well, as is so often case, Prime Minister Trudeau is wrong, in fact he’s totally “out to lunch.” There is a mainstream, and we, Conservatives, as Michael Den Tandt reminds us, need to remember “the important ideological shift Harper made on his road to lasting power. He not only learned French, but became fluent. He set aside Reform’s one-size-fits-all constitutionalism in favour of, in 2006, recognition of the Quebecois as a nation. Though reportedly an evangelical Christian himself, Harper repudiated any religious-conservative drift in the party, most notably tamping down efforts to revive the abortion debate. Excoriated by his critics as a warmonger, it was Harper who wound down the Canadian war effort in Afghanistan, beginning in 2010 … [and] … Most important, from an electoral standpoint, Harper and his “Minister of Curry-in-a-Hurry,” Jason Kenney, embraced new Canadians. That effort, chronicled by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson in their 2013 book The Big Shift, was critical to the party’s winning key Greater Toronto Area seats in 2011, delivering the majority. In that sense the party’s most controversial gambit of the 2015 election, an attempt to capitalize on resentment of the niqab, the veil worn by some Muslim women, was not only reckless and opportunistic, but out of character. In 2015, new Canadians in Ontario shifted en masse back to their old home in the Liberal party.”
We, Conservatives, have values. They are the values of Main Street, not Bay Street or the entertainment industry. Most of those values are shared, to a great degree, by the people who live in the suburbs around our larger cities ~ often recent immigrants who are trying to preserve some of their own, old country, cultural traditions even as they embrace our, Canadian values in their lives. Those people live in a dozen suburban ridings around Vancouver; in 15± more around Calgary and Edmonton, in a half dozen around Winnipeg, in 25± around Toronto and in 50± more in the so called Golden Horseshoe and in Southern Ontario and in another 10± around Ottawa, and in 25± more in suburbs East of the Ottawa River in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. That is 145+ ridings over and above the 50± rural and small town ridings that usually vote Conservative. It (rural and small town Canada and the suburbs) is enough, in fact, for a comfortable majority government.
I have also explained how we can NOT win elections. I believe that we crossed a couple of lines in 2015 with the “barbaric cultural practices” theme and by trying to exploit anti-Muslim racism in Quebec. Both backfired and many hundreds of thousands of people who had, in 2011, voted for the CPC, either stayed home or crossed over to the Liberals because they believed that we did not share their values and were just trying to exploit all immigrants to appease a few racists in Quebec. It was bad policy and it was bad politics: we paid a high price for it.
But that’s not the only reason we lost. I have also explained that Justin Trudeau is a nice, bright, friendly, media savvy young man who proved to be a formidable campaigner. Sure he made some gaffes, on the campaign trail and in government, but his campaign team and a celebrity obsessed media and electorate forgave him and appears likely to forgive him again. We need a nice, bright, friendly, media savvy young leader, too, but one who will make promises that will appeal to the suburban voters and that they will believe we will be willing and able to keep. We can win back some Quebec and Atlantic Canadian voters by promising to rebuild the Royal Canadian Navy using ships built in their yards, and to rebuild the Army, too, so that their sons and daughters can have good careers in the CF. We can win lots of seats in Ontario and the West by promising lower taxes and offer real, practical job creation projects and an end to fanatical green excess, while we still work for a clean, healthy natural environment. We can promise and deliver a generous fair shake for first nations … for those that agree to be open and accountable in their use of taxpayers’ money. We can promise to free provinces from the chains of the Canada Health Act so that they can bring in new money without bankrupting their education and transportation budgets. Good, popular policies don’t have to be through the roof expensive … Canadian voters, especially working families in the suburbs, want good, sound policies and lower taxes, too. They’ll listen to the right leader … but, so far, as Michael Den Tandt suggest, too much political “oxygen” has been, and is being consumed, by policies that will work against us and by “leaders” who will be unable to defeat Justin Trudeau.
My, personal, view is that Dr Leitch can still turn things around, but she has to get beyond values. I think that right now only two CPC leadership candidates are talking good policies and good politics …
… but I’m not persuaded that either can beat Prime Minister Trudeau in 2019. Some observers believe that potential leaders who can beat Justin Trudeau are waiting until after 2019 …
… because they think that Team Trudeau will manage to turn the Liberals’ battered political ship around, and because they need to broaden their base of support in the party and in the country and improve their language skills. Maybe that’s the smart move … I’m not sure it’s the best move for Canada or for the Conservative Party of Canada.
Some very conservative Conservatives, the sorts of people who elected leaders who lost election after election after election in Ontario to Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne will be content elect a ideologically “pure” leader and then wave their fists from the sidelines as the Liberals govern Canada for decades. I’m not one of them. I want a moderate Conservative leader who can regain power in 2019. I just the other day got my e-mail from CPC HQ telling me how to register my vote in May … I still haven’t decided who will get it.