Following on from about a week ago … Two of the Globe and Mail‘s Parliamentary Bureau reporters, Marieke Walsh and Daniel Leblanc say, in a recent article that “A former Conservative MP says Andrew Scheer shouldn’t stay on as leader after a second-place finish in last week’s federal election, and he’s hoping former Tory cabinet minister Peter MacKay will enter a possible leadership race … [and] … More Conservatives are also raising questions about Mr. Scheer’s leadership, but several other candidates said the Conservative Leader should stay on.” My own, personal view is that a leadership review ought to be a semi-automatic action after an election ~ on;y semi-automatic because it need not be triggered by a party IF it wins a majority government … in almost every other case it should be routine. The Globe and Mail reporters say that “The election result triggered a leadership review for Mr. Scheer. It’s set to take place at the party’s next convention, scheduled from April 16 to 18 in Toronto. He will have to win more than 50 per cent support from the delegates to avoid an automatic leadership race.“
The report notes that “it’s rare to oust a prime minister after just four years … [but] … Conservatives set high expectations in the election, saying they could beat Justin Trudeau. The Prime Minister found himself mired in several controversies during his tenure. Instead, the Liberals won a strong minority, 13 seats shy of a majority government … [and] … during the campaign [one (unsuccessful) candidate] said “not one voter ever said to me, ‘Gee, I really like your leader’ … [in fact] … many voters said various versions of the opposite.”” Conservatives must acknowledge that the Liberals ran a very successful, very negative, very dishonest campaign which painted a rather dull but fundamentally decent, middle-class family man as a right-wing religious fanatic who planned to roll back civil rights for many Canadians. One of the reasons the dirty, low, negative campaign worked so well was that Andrew Scheer seemed unable to convince Canadians that his own, deeply held, faith-based personal views would not set the agenda for a Conservative government. Canadians knew that the Liberals were being unfair, but they didn’t care because the Liberals confirmed one of their existing biases.
But in an editorial, the Globe and Mail also says that it is Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party that should be feeling the greatest sense of loss after last week because “they went into the election as one of only two teams with a chance of forming government, running against a Liberal Party that generated none of the enthusiasm of 2015 … [and while it’s true that] … the Tories slightly increased their share of the vote compared with the drubbing of four years ago … [and while] … they added to their seat count … those gains were meagre, especially considering how vulnerable the Liberals were.” The Conservatives lost to an intellectual lightweight who is guilty of serial ethics violations and who wore blackface. I’m not suggesting the 2019 election should have been a Conservative landslide but it is hard to fathom how Andrew Scheer could not send Justin Trudeau packing.
“In a time of opportunity,” the Globe and Mail‘s editorial board says, “failure revealed the Conservative Party’s limitations. The party that ran this fall is one that a majority of Canadians will not vote for, and will not even consider voting for.” That has to change or else Canada will never have good, socially moderate and fiscally prudent government at the national level.
That was what the CPC did not do in 2019. It did not convince Canadians, beyond its fairly firm base, that it is the government-in-waiting. I suspect that part of the problem was Andrew Scheer’s inability to shrug off the Liberals’ lies. Part of the reason was the Mr Scheer and his campaign team could not explain that hysteria and taxes are not a sensible response to climate change. But the problem is not marching in gay pride parades or failing to worship at Saint Greta Thinburg’s altar. The problem is that Canadians did not believe that the Conservative Party, in 2019, was their party ~ a party that shared their values and reflected their views. They believed that in 2011, but not in 2019.
The Conservatives are perceived by too many, I think, to no longer be a party of the centre. They did not change perceptions in 2019, that’s why the Liberals managed to win despite Justin Trudeau.
More to follow …