There is a report in the Hill Times which says that “Seven Conservative MPs are facing nomination challenges for the 2019 election, but there is widespread speculation the party’s leadership is behind at least some of those challenges, which the party strongly denies … [and] … “There were some OLO staffers last fall who were overheard musing about the need to organize challenges against a handful of incumbent MPs, and the four were Brad Trost, Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier, and Cheryl Gallant,” said Joseph Ben-Ami, former campaign manager for Conservative MP Brad Trost’s (Saskatoon-University, Sask.) unsuccessful leadership campaign. “Three of them, for sure, are facing challenges.”“
Now, I hope, the leader isn’t orchestrating these challenges without telling the incumbents. I believe the leader has a right to organize such challenges, I just think that the honourable way to do it is to tell the incumbents that he, the leader, doesn’t think they fit well within his caucus and he hopes that someone more suitable will emerge as the candidate in Upper Overshoe, SK or wherever.
I have been critical of some of the candidates named in the story and I, personally, would not be sorry to see a CPC caucus without e.g. Cheryl Gallant and Brad Trost because their views on many issues are far away from mine … that doesn’t make them bad Conservatives, just not my kind of Conservatives. Perhaps Andrew Scheer feels the same way, I don’t know.
What I do know, at least what I am 99.9% certain about, is that a party that has an open, fair nomination process is likely to be stronger than one which hand-picks candidates and “parachutes” them into safe ridings. Further, I don’t think any person, not even the leader himself or herself, should ever be “free” from a challenge. But I also believe that the Conservative Party should have a public manifesto, updated annually, after each policy convention, with each prospective Conservative candidate must agree and sign that manifesto, as a solemn promise to support it, before entering his or her name for consideration as a candidate. In other words, I believe that each candidate must sign on to a statement of Conservative principles and plans and promises before being considered as a Conservative candidate. I would hope that manifesto would, at the very least, not even mention some of the “hot button’ issues that bedevil Conservatives or, better, actually come out and say that the Party will not seek to reopen settled social policy issues like abortion or same sex marriage or adoption.
But, for now, I am happy that Conservative nominations will not be guaranteed for sitting members and I trust the leader’s office when officials there say that the leader is not privately organizing campaigns to dump sitting members.
I note that Dr Kellie Leitch will not be seeking renomination … I disagreed with the details of her leadership campaign promise to screen prospective immigrants for Canadian values but not with the notion behind it. I share her concern about some of the attitudes that some immigrants bring with them from the “old county.” Some of those attitudes have no place in a civilized society.
There is no doubt that her decision will make matters a wee tiny bit simpler for Andrew Scheer. Both “barbaric cultural practices” and “Canadian values” should be off the table, so to speak.
I believe that Dr Leitch is more of a real feminist than any member of Team Trudeau and more than most of the members of the CPC and NDP caucuses ~ she may have had some trouble expressing her views but, at bottom, I believe that she wants, desperately, to protect women and girls from some dangerous and offensive attitudes and practices. I wish her well and I thank her for her service to Canada in our parliament.