I have been saying, for well over a year now, that Andrew Scheer can win in 2019 if he leads and works with a good team. Nearly three weeks ago, writing in the Toronto Sun, Liberal strategist Jim Warren ~ making year end predictions as many in the commentariat are wont to do ~ warned that “Andrew Scheer will have caucus problems in 2019 … [because] … The Conservative caucus is filled with former cabinet ministers …[and as] … The saying goes “idle hands are the devil’s tools.” Scheer … [Mr Warren writes] … is not giving his caucus enough work to do, especially the former cabinet ministers. These former ministers are used to being important and very involved … [therefore] … Scheer needs to involve more of his team and get them to buy in to the winning strategy.“
In a piece written in January 2018 (second link, above) I said that “To win in 2019 the Conservatives need to ignore my issues ~ a grand strategy for Canada, a strong, well funded national defence and carefully managed pruning of the social safety net ~ instead … they need to think boldly and to think big … [and] … Conservatives need to believe, in the very fibre of their being, and affirm, over and over again, that ALL Canadians, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation or status are equal … absolutely equal at and under the law, governors and governed alike. The rules that apply to a political insider in Ottawa or a tycoon on Bay Street must apply, equally, to a shop clerk or labourer in Saanich, Swift Current, Shawinigan or St. John’s. Conservatives should stand against hyphenated Canadianism ~ it’s fine to honour our various and sundry heritages at folk festivals but not in official government programmes. That means that Conservatives must put their reservations about some “hot button” issues behind them. Canadians who happen to be homosexual or single parents or Rastafarian are still Canadians … and that’s all they should be to the party and the government it will form … [further, I said] … The party needs to enunciate a principled, even selfish foreign policy that doesn’t seek to make any enemies but is willing to treat everyone ~ America, Britain and China all the way through to Zambia and Zimbabwe ~ as fair and friendly trading partners. We should, always, favour liberal democracies over tyrannical kleptocracies but we should not interfere in the internal affairs of others unless and until we are ready to fight … [and, finally] … The Conservative Party‘s most important principle should be that Canadians know best how to use their own money for their own benefit and for the health and welfare of their communities. While some government is aways necessary the Conservatives should, always, be committed to the notion and must promise that taxes will be kept as low as is humanly possible to meet the government’s proper (and limited) obligations to its citizens, its creditors and the world.” I stand by all of that a year later. My main beef with the Conservative Party in 2018 was that it kept telling us what it is against ~ almost everything Justin Trudeau does and says ~ but, soon, it needs to start telling us what it’s for.
I concluded, nearly a year ago, that:
“The Trudeau led Liberals are, indeed, still “the odds-on favourite to win in 2019,” but … “a successful 2018 for either opposition party could change that.” It seems to me that a “successful 2018” for the Conservative Party of Canada means:
- First, playing to its acknowledged strengths –
- Lower taxes,
- Family-friendly policies, and
- A pragmatic but fiscally responsible plan for the environment;
- Second, developing innovative, exciting and popular policies that will be hard for the Liberals to either criticize, effectively, or trump, politically; and
- Third, focus on a team that can connect with ALL Canadians, not just on un-sexy Andrew Scheer.”
I still think that’s true, too. Jim Warren, in the Sun, predicts a Liberal minority in 2019. I tend to agree as we enter the year; Trudeau can get a minority in 2019, but not because he’s a good leader, he’s quite clearly not fit for the job; Trudeau can plan for a new minority government, but not because of his policies, which many Canadians clearly reject; Trudeau can win in 2019 for two reasons: a) a (even further) collapse of the NDP, and b) lack of either caucus unity or of a clear, attractive, even compelling platform from the CPC.
There is time for Andrew Scheer to turn things around … to do that he needs to use the clearly first rate team that he has to appeal to more and more Canadians. It cannot be a one-man-band … not if Canadians are going to have the Conservative government so many want in 2019.