Conservative Party convention postponed until November 2020, Scheer to stay on in interim
The Conservative Party of Canada’s convention has been delayed until Nov. 2020 because of the announcement from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer that he was stepping down to spend more time with family after failing to defeat Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the Oct. election.
A Saturday news release from the CPC explained that the convention would be postponed until Nov. 14 and that the National Council made the decision by vote on Friday.
The former intermin Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose has officially announced that she will not be running in the Conservative leadership contest.
Ambrose, who was encouraged to run by Brad Wall and Jason Kenney, is a highly respected figure within the party with particularly deep roots in Western Canada.
In a statement published to Facebook, Ambrose stated that it was “humbling to be considered” for CPC leadership. “I love our party, I love the people in it and I love our country. I have really struggled with the decision to return to political life,” she added.
“I loved my 13 years in public service as an MP, minister and especially as leader of this great party. But right now, I am focused on making a difference through the private sector. Creating policy and advocating for our energy sector to create jobs … the truth is, I love being back in Alberta.”
This will come as a blow to many Conservative supporters across Western Canada who viewed Ambrose as the best chance of defeating Justin Trudeau. She also would have been a deeply competitive candidate in the leadership election.
As a result, Marilyn Gladu remains the only women who is competing in the leadership contest. This announcement will be celebrated by the veteran Tory candidates like Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, who risked having their vote share divided.
Jean Charest has announced that he will not be running in the Conservative leadership contest after weeks of speculation.
His announcement, however, has caused a great deal of confusion in the media, as the Quebec-based news publication La Presse first confirmed that Charest was running and then quickly delated it after more reports emerged minutes later contradicting this report.
Soon after this, the French-speaking arm of the CBC confirmed that Charest would not be running in a tweet, which the English anchor Rosemary Barton soon confirmed to the CBC’s English audience.
Much pressure has been placed on Charest by respected figures within the Conservative Party. Stephan Harper, for instance, reportedly resigned from the Tory’s fund board so that he could openly campaign against the former Quebec Liberal.
As well as this, MacKay and Charest were not intending to run against each other due to their long relationship in Conservative politics. MacKay, however, has consistently placed ahead of Charest in the polls, making any leadership attempt seemingly futile for the Quebecker.
What is notable about Charest’s decision, however, is that this may beckon in Vincenzo Guzzo’s leadership contest who previously stated to The Post Millennial that if Charest “doesn’t run I’ll run.”
Charest is currently under investigation for corruption during his time as premier. The investigation has been ongoing for six years, and so far, has not led to charges against anyone involved.
Jean Charest said in a statement that “After careful consideration, I will not be running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I am grateful to all those who called me, sent supportive messages and mobilized for my potential candidacy.”
“On environmental issues, the CPC must offer Canadians a credible and ambitious plan in regard to the management of our natural resources and the fight against climate change. One does not exclude the other!”
Editor’s note: This article was updated to include Conservative MP and leadership candidate Marilyn Gladu.
A whole month has now passed since Andrew Scheer resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, and now, the race to replace him is well underway. Some candidates, like Peter MacKay, foresaw the untenability of Scheer’s position, and reportedly began to organize their bid long before the first vote of the 2019 election had been counted.
Other candidates, like Erin O’Toole and Pierre Poilievre, have been more cautious—discreetly organizing a team that can defeat both their blue-blooded colleagues in June, and then a wobbly Justin Trudeau in the next election.
As Peter MacKay said after the disappointment of the last election, the Tories’ failure to beat Trudeau was “like having a breakaway on an open net and missing.” This most Canadian of analogies should remain pungent during the leadership contest: the next election should beckon a blue-wave across the country. If the Conservative Party again fails to win the keys to the PMO then one is perfectly within their right to expand upon MacKay’s analogy: It would be like failing to invade Poland; or, more sportingly, like losing a boxing match with an amputee. To put it simply, it is more likely than not that the victor of this leadership election will become the next prime minister of Canada.
Due to the sheer significance of this leadership contest, The Post Millennial has composed a handy guide. Here’s who is likely to compete in the leadership election and how they plan to win it.
MacKay has not had the easiest start to the leadership contest. After tersely declaring his bid on Twitter, the long-standing Tory MP, Scott Reid, hit back, throwing the former Harper minister’s loyalty into question. Nevertheless, MacKay is a respected figure in Canada’s Conservative movement. Through his role as the leader of the Progressive Conservatives, MacKay was vital to the formation of the modern Conservative Party.
MacKay served in numerous cabinet positions throughout the Harper era and remains a favourite in the leadership contest. Despite the shaky start, polls have made it clear that the Nova Scotian is in a top position to win.
Like MacKay, O’Toole is another party grandee who commands a great deal of respect from within the caucus. O’Toole, rather exotically these days, served in the military. If he is elected, he would be the first Conservative leader in over 60 years with military experience.
Most recently, O’Toole has served as the Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs. O’Toole is not new to leadership contests, finishing third in the 2017 leadership election behind Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer.
I had the opportunity to meet Poilievre at a fundraiser. Immediately, he stood out as an effective speaker and as someone who could pose a serious challenge to the other candidates.
Poilievre is a career politician who, through his role as Scheer’s attack dog, has managed to garner wide support amongst the Conservative base. Poilievre has recruited the admired John Baird and the formidable Jenni Byrne, who is an accomplished operative who ran Harper’s 2015 campaign.
Gladu is, so far, the only female to enter the competition. Despite being a social Conservative, Gladu quickly made it clear that she would not re-open the abortion debate, and that she would happily march in a gay pride parade.
Before entering politics, Gladu worked as an engineer for Dow Chemical for over two decades. She was first elected in 2015 and served as a chair of the Standing Committee on Status of Women.
There are, of course, other candidates who are spending their time plotting for the leadership. However, for the sake of longevity, and the fact that Guzzo hasn’t received much media coverage, it seems only fair to discuss the Dragon’s Den star.
When The Post Millennial spoke to Guzzo a few weeks ago, he seemed uncertain whether he would throw his hat in the ring—stating that if the Quebec-based Jean Charest didn’t run, then he would be 75 percent sure that he would indeed run. Now, with the recent reports that Charest isn’t likely going to run, Guzzo’s ambition has solidified, telling me,”Yes. If [Charest] doesn’t run, I’ll run.”
Despite attempts to shrug off the comparison, Guzzo’s strategy has similarities to that of Kevin O’Leary’s leadership attempt in 2017. The most overt difference, however, is that Guzzo is Quebec-oriented. With the right-wing CAQ romping to victory in the 2018 provincial election, perhaps Guzzo is on to something. La Belle province is rich with seats, and if the Conservatives can persuade the fickle Quebecois, then Trudeau’s future as PM is in grave danger.
One of the tactics the Liberals have used with much success against the Conservatives is to lock the Conservatives into defending scarcity.
The Liberals repeatedly pledge to outspend the Conservatives, then demand to know what the Conservatives will “cut,” putting the Conservatives on the defensive.
And since many elections become bidding contests where parties compete to offer more to voters, the Liberals benefit to the detriment of the Conservatives.
Now, the answer to this problem isn’t for the Conservatives to just outspend the Liberals, since that wouldn’t be too consistent with the Conservative brand and value system.
However, the Conservatives can achieve success by reframing the issue.
All too often, the Conservatives end up playing within the Liberal (and establishment media) frame, which traps the Conservatives into defending what seems like scarcity and tough times ahead.
Notably, the two most successful centre-right candidates in the Anglosphere recently have won by avoiding being locked into the scarcity frame, and instead campaigned from an abundance frame or abundance mentality.
Both Boris Johnson and Donald Trump ran campaigns that featured much more positivity than they get credit for. While Johnson and Trump spent lots of time demonizing their opponents (as their opponents demonized them right back), both of them shared a message of abundance, repeatedly discussing how their policies and approach would lead to greater wealth and opportunity for the country.
Instead of constantly defending “cuts,” they constantly spoke about “wealth,” “prosperity,” “opportunity,” “job creation,” and sold themselves as being strongly on the side of those who wish to get richer, achieve financial independence and financial freedom, and elevate their status in life.
It was an aspirational message, based on an understanding that free Western societies have an unlimited potential for technological innovation, wealth creation, and opportunity, so long as people are free to succeed and prosper.
That abundance mindset is increasingly essential, especially as economic pessimism and fear spreads. With Canadians increasingly burdened by debt, unaffordable housing, higher taxes, and a rising cost of living, there’s a feeling of malaise across much of the nation.
Most ominously, Canadians believe the next generation will be worse off, and that kind of loss of hope can be devastating to our society and our nation.
So, by shifting towards an abundance mindset and refusing to be stuck in the Liberal scarcity frame, the Conservatives have the potential both to win the upcoming election and unleash the true power and potential of the Canadian people.