Following on from a couple of days ago … Almost four years ago I said that:
- The next Conservative leader should have been like a long-dead Liberal ~ I was, as regular readers will know, speaking about Louis St Laurent who, if he was alive today would not, I am certain, recognize the modern Liberal Party. Prime Minister St Laurent grew up when Canada was led by Sir Wilfred Laurier and he, St Laurent, although a life-long Liberal eschewed partisan politics until, in the 1940s, he was called to “serve” because Mackenzie-King’s war policies were diving the country; and
- As is the case, today, “The media is full of, mostly useless, advice for the Conservative Party of Canada.”
We are now obsessed with whether or not Andrew Scheer is even allowed to hold deeply personal, social-conservative values … his refusal to participate in gay pride parades became a serious election issue and now makes some people doubt his leadership. Equally, we are told, it is essential that any Conservative leader must worship at the altar of young Greta Thunberg’s children’s crusade against climate change ~ I don’t dispute that the climate is being damaged by the greenhouse gasses that humans generate but, I actually thought that Andrew Scheer’s proposals to develop technologies that will mitigate the impact is at least as helpful as imposing taxes that are unlikely to change our, human behaviours because they will not “bite” enough.
I believe that the Conservative Party must hold on to its (relatively large) base AND win in the suburbs around Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. I also believe that voters, everywhere, are by and large: socially moderate, concerned about climate change and worried about their own and Canada’s finances.
In a post-election editorial, the Globe and Mail says, correctly, in my opinion, that “Once upon a time, there were lots of voters who were prepared to swing, from election to election, between the country’s two major parties … [and] … Those two parties were the Liberals and the then-Progressive Conservatives and, although one leaned a bit more to the left and the other a bit more to the right, both aimed to find the middle, the electoral golden mean … [but, while] … That is still mostly true for the Liberals. It is less so for the Conservatives … [because] … a lot of voters in the centre no longer see them as a party they can swing to. They don’t see them as a desirable alternative.” I think that is because the Conservatives are perceived to not be “for” the things that most Canadians are “for.”
Back in November of 2015 I offered a little list of things that I believed then still believe, now, offer a path towards electoral victory. Conservatives, I said, need to be:
- “For Main Street, rather than Bay Street;
- For prudent saving rather than reckless spending;
- For helping those in real need rather than those who are just ‘entitled;’
- For working families rather than special interests;
- For steady, honest jobs rather than handouts;
- For equality rather than queue jumping;
- For equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes and quotas;
- For honesty and integrity rather than cronyism;
- For a foreign policy based on Canada’s vital interests, not those of various “old countries;” and
- For a suitable, efficient and effective military rather than for using the defence budget as a job creation tool.“
The CPC needs to add “For sensible climate change policies” and “For equal rights for ALL,” to that list.
The Liberal Party of Canada ran a low, mean, dishonest and dirty campaign … and it worked. Andrew Scheer was unable to tell Canadians that his own, personal view on social issues would not animate a government he led. Andrew Scheer was, also, unable to tell Canadians that his environmental policy was just as sound as Justin Trudeau’s or Elizabeth May’s.
Maybe, I don’t, personally, believe this, but maybe Andrew Scheer could not tell Canadians what they needed to hear because he is a committed social conservative and does want to roll back civil right for some Canadians ~ if that’s true he should not have been the CPC leader. Maybe Andrew Scheer really is a climate change denier ~ if that’s the case then, again, he should not be leading the Conservative Party. I think it is more likely that the CPC campaign simpy didn’t recognize how deeply the Liberal lies about Mr Scheer really hurt. Whatever the reason, Andrew Scher could not defeat a badly wounded Justin Trudeau … he could not beat a prime minister led a party that only ⅓ of Canadians supported. He could not get the job done. I suspect that the reservations that too many Canadians have about Andrew Scheer and Conservatives will persist so long as he remains the leader.