Conservative Party director ousted after Scheer private school scandal
The Executive Director of the Conservative Party of Canada, Dustin Van Vugt, has been removed from his position according to two sources within the party that spoke to The Post Millennial after allegations were brought forward this week that Andrew Scheer had used party funds to subsidize the cost of private school for his children.
Van Vugt as executive director publically commented after the release of the allegations that he had personally made the offer to cover costs of moving, including differential pricing in schooling.
Statement from the Conservative Party. Party President says he personally made the offer to Scheer to cover costs of moving his family from Regina to Ottawa and that it included costs associated with schooling. pic.twitter.com/dMXmk6C9FE— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) December 12, 2019
While some in the party argued that the fees were not important, The Post Millennial reported that private school perks were an internal matter forcing Scheer’s resignation before media leak.
Global News soon after reported that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in fact “very angry” about Scheer’s use of party funds for children’s private schooling.
Global News can report that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “very angry” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was using party funds to help pay for his children’s private school tuition. Source says Harper had no idea the funds were being used in that way #cdnpoli #CPC— Mercedes Stephenson (@MercedesGlobal) December 13, 2019
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
The Conservative leadership race increasingly appears to be a potential coronation for Peter MacKay.
Yet, even an easy win by MacKay would have significant risks for the party.
In particular, it risks leaving much of the Conservative base demoralized.
As many have pointed out before, the Conservative base has long been ignored by the establishment media, and in the rare instances it’s not ignored, it gets demonized and insulted.
On many issues, including immigration, the carbon tax, firearm owner rights, the justice system, and more, the views of the Conservative base represent the views of a majority of Canadians. Yet, the establishment press continually tells the Conservatives to abandon their core views on those issues, in order to be “electable.”
It’s a huge scam, but it often works, in large part because many of the elites in the Conservative Party seem to buy into it.
However, the scam is starting to break down. You can see it on social media, with people questioning the narratives pushed by the establishment media, and demanding someone who fights back with the truth. Most notably, Michelle Rempel Garner even pushed back on the elitist consensus surrounding “official bilingualism,” noting that it shuts many good people out of government.
Unfortunately, despite the growing breakdown of the scam, it remains to be seen whether the Conservative base will feel represented when the leadership race is over.
The hierarchy of the Conservative Party still appears locked into the old-narrative of distancing themselves from their own base to appeal to the mythical “electability factor,” something which is never really defined or explained.
For example, in 2011, Stephen Harper won a majority by combining dominance in Western Canada and strength in suburban Ontario, despite being nearly shutout in Quebec. Yet, we are constantly (and falsely) told that the next Conservative leader needs to win tons of seats in Quebec for them to have a chance to win.
A clear majority of Conservatives (and majority of Canadian voters overall) oppose Justin Trudeau’s huge immigration increases, and want to see stronger integration of newcomers. Yet, you rarely see the Conservative Party take a strong stand on immigration, and are often glad to just mouth some platitudes that don’t address the real issue.
Ironically, much of the People’s Party platform does more accurately reflect the Conservative Party base, yet due to the influence of partisanship, and people realizing that the PPC currently has no shot at defeating the Liberals, it remains mired at low levels of support. Those low levels of support have enabled the establishment media to dismiss the ideas of the Conservative base itself, despite the many millions of Canadians who hold those ideas.
The key for the Conservatives will be finding someone who can manage to truly represent the views of the party base, maintain control over the apparatus of the party, and have strong enough persuasive skills to win over enough Canadians to win.
Pierre Poilievre appeared to have that potential, but has chosen not to run.
That leaves the possibility of a coronation instead of a tough leadership race, and could mean the Conservatives end up with a leader that is disconnected from the party base.
Of course, this will done in the name of “electability,” but we all know that even if the Conservatives pick a “moderate centrist” leader, the biased Liberal media will demonize them as “far-right” once the election gets close. The only way to survive and defeat that demonization is to have the ironclad and enthusiastic support of the Conservative base, since that’s where the party funds, volunteers, and on-the-ground persuaders they need to fight the bias and win are located.
If the Conservative base ends up being demoralized, the party will struggle to fight back against an increasingly rigged system, and it won’t end well for the party or the country.
Rosemary Barton has finally been demoted by the CBC after the public broadcaster announced last week that it was giving up on the disjointed and ratings-killing four-anchor format for its flagship show.
CBC’s The National was revamped a couple years ago when Peter Mansbridge retired, and it has been losing its small viewership ever since, losing nearly 25 percent (about 124,000 viewers abandoning the program) by the summer of last year, despite the CBC spending a lot in promotional ads to sell Canadians on the new anchors and format. As the viewership has declined, so too has the CBC’s ad revenue.
Rosemary Barton has been scrutinized many times in the past for having bias as a reporter. The Post Millennial takes a look back at the eight times (there are far more examples) Barton showed bias for the Liberals while feigning to be a nonpartisan journalist above reproach.
1. Coming to Justin Trudeau’s defence
In a conversation with colleague Andrew Nichols about the similarities of the personal beliefs on abortion between Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, Barton was quick to dismiss the fact that Trudeau said he was personally against abortion as well.
2. “So do deficits even matter these days? I don’t think so”
Trudeau and the Liberal government have come under fire for their spending and bringing the nation deeper and deeper into debt with massive deficits racking up tens of billions in red ink. While anchoring the nightly news, Barton gave her “objective” opinion that deficits aren’t really a thing Canadians should worry their pretty little heads about.
3. SNC-Lavalin scandal was so early 2019
During the fall 2019 election Rosemary Barton steered an on-air conversation away from the SNC-Lavalin scandal, suggesting that they had already covered it so much, essentially implying it was beating a dead horse.
She also dismissed the RCMP investigating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s involvement in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, in what could possibly be deemed attempted obstruction of justice, suggesting the RCMP were just “asking a few questions”.
4. Duffy expense scandal was totally Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fault and deserved to be covered extensively for years
Back before Rosemary Barton was promoted to being the host of CBC’s Power and Politics, which she hosted for a few years before being promoted yet again to anchor The National, she and her fellow Liberal partisan, Katie Simpson, were riveted by Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s expense scandal, both breathlessly reporting from the trial, in which Duffy was found innocent of all charges. But they did their best to try to pin it on Harper in the lead-up to 2015 election, despite the initial scandal breaking in 2012. One would imagine the expense scandal was quite minor in comparison to a sitting PM potentially corrupting the justice system, but not for Barton.
Never mind that Harper’s chief of staff paid the money back, and then resigned when the media found out, it was far more scandalous than the SNC-Lavalin affair!
5. Trudeau’s poor attendance record at Parliament isn’t a big deal “because democracy and stuff”
Rosemary Barton routinely downplays the flaws of PM Justin Trudeau and the Liberals not only on air, but via Twitter. When Trudeau decided campaigning for the Liberal Party of Canada in a by-election was more important than being in Ottawa governing the country she gave her biased “hot take” that by-elections are important.
It’s hard to believe she’d be so charitable to Harper or Andrew Scheer.
6. “It’s literally how the parliamentary system works”
When polls weren’t looking all that rosy for Justin Trudeau, Rosemary Barton claimed that Trudeau would be able to stay on as PM in a minority situation even if the Liberals won less seats than the Conservatives, something that would be essentially unprecedented in Canadian federal Parliament.
“It’s literally how the parliamentary system works,” Barton incorrectly expounded on Twitter.
7. Fan girl selfie and stroll
These ones speak for themselves.
8. Suing the Conservative Party of Canada during the 2019 election
For some reason the CBC thought it was a good idea to sue the Conservative Party of Canada for using clips of the public broadcaster’s footage in an attack ad. Despite all parties doing this, and it being something the CBC itself does regularly (in what is totally legal and called fair dealing), the CBC pulled the trigger on suing the CPC, which ended up spectacularly backfiring.
To top it all off, Rosemary Barton and another CBC journalist were named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, until the CBC eventually had the sense to remove them from the lawsuit. Barton never definitively cleared the air on whether she agreed to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
However, during the 2015 election, Peter Mansbridge in a documented email exchange had CBC execs take legal action against the CPC for using a clip of Justin Trudeau giving a very poor answer about the Boston Marathon terrorists. Mansbridge was Barton’s mentor, is it too far-fetched to believe she took a page out of his Liberal partisan playbook?
The CBC, being shamelessly biased, decided it was appropriate to keep Barton on The National, as a debate moderator, and the lead anchor for the election-night coverage despite this very glaring conflict of interest coming to light.
Yet, Rosemary Barton audaciously claims she can’t be partisan, it’s impossible. In an interview with Duncan McCue for CBC’s Cross Country Checkup she was asked about how many people feel she has a bias with her reporting she replied, “I don’t mind criticism of my work. We are the public broadcaster… I think it’s important to hold me to account,” she said. “That said, I really don’t have a horse in the race. I don’t have a partisan bone in my body. It’s not the way I was raised; it’s not who I am.”
With the above examples it’s rather hard to believe that’s not who she is.
You’re allowed to have a personal bias, it’s impossible not to, you just shouldn’t bring it into your work if you’re the lead anchor of the public broadcaster’s flagship news show and you are going to claim you’re fair to all political parties.
Barton being moved to CBC’s chief political correspondent is a far better fit, especially now that the public broadcaster irrevocably branded itself Liberal during the 2019 election cycle.
Sometimes Barton does tell it like it is.
Across the Western world, populism is on the rise.
After years of misrule by the elites, more and more people are waking up to how severely the system has been rigged against working class Canadians.
We can see it all around us.
In many nations, conservative parties are finding new success by embracing many elements of populism, particularly on issues like immigration, renewing the meaning of citizenship, and uniting people around patriotism, rather than identity politics.
Additionally, the most successful conservatives have combined a focus balancing budgets with an aspirational abundance mentality, giving people hope that a vote for a conservative candidate would give them the opportunity to achieve a new level of financial freedom and security in an increasingly uncertain world.
We hear many of the same forces propelling populism at work in Canada, with clear majorities of Canadians saying they feel the system is rigged against them, feel society is broken, and oppose the large immigration increases being brought in by the Trudeau Liberals.
With the rising power of alternative media, and a conservative base that is becoming more prominent among working class people, the potential is there for a political re-alignment in Canada.
And a leadership bid by Pierre Poilievre could have been a key part of turning that potential into reality.
Poilievre had managed to effectively win over much of the Conservative base with his tough, combative approach, while also not taking positions that would have rendered him unelectable. He was forging a new political style, someone who is resolutely conservative, opposes Trudeau, fights back against the biased media, utilizes social media effectively, while also ensuring the Conservative Party remains open to all Canadians.
It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but Poilievre was successfully walking it.
But now, with his announcement that he won’t run, his unique approach will be lost, at least this time around.
Of course, we can imagine that Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole will end up being able to walk the same tightrope effectively.
Yet, based on the reaction to Poilievre’s announcement, it’s clear that many people feel something significant has changed for the worse.
As we know, whoever the Conservatives run will get demonized as “far-right”. As I note in the Tweet below, they’re already starting up against MacKay:
The establishment press will let someone run as a “moderate conservative” until the actual election, then they’ll demonize the sh*t out of them.
That means any Conservative leader will end up having to fight back strong against the establishment media if they hope to win, and that also means they need the strong and resolute support of the Conservative base behind them.
Poilievre’s communication skills and tough approach showed that he could achieve that, and you can tell that many people worry that skill set has been lost with his departure from the race.
Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner confirmed on Twitter Wednesday night that former prime minister Stephen Harper will not be seeking Conservative leadership.
The announcement, Rempel says, was from Harper himself, after days of online murmurs and a thin field of Conservative candidates had many of the party’s supporters crossing their fingers that the former prime minister would return from his life away from the political centre stage.
The confirmation is yet another ding in the Tory leadership, as the number of strong potential Conservative candidates drops lower by the day.
For those keeping track, former interim leader Rona Ambrose announced that she had no intention of running. Jean Charest seemed up for the job for a hot second, though he too would steer clear, following some dramatics.
Though Conservative social media put their faith in Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, he too would decide to not run for leadership, citing his desire to spend time with his family.
With a number of candidates now officially out, Conservative members now face three viable contenders: Former Veteran Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, who also serves as the Conservative Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu, and former Harper minister Peter MacKay, who’s polling as the clear front runner.
Candidates will have until Feb. 27 to decide to enter the race. The votes will be counted and announced June 27.