EXTRA, EXTRA: Reporter evokes Old Testament, asks Scheer if homosexuality a sin, belabouring non-issue
Politics in Canada and media’s coverage of it bear little resemblance to the real-world street these days, and Parliament Hill is a great example of this troubling and widening divide.
On Wednesday, rookie and returning Conservative MPs who voters sent to Ottawa gathered with senators for a caucus at West Block to discuss the federal party’s future and its leadership in the aftermath of a losing, Liberal minority government finish on Oct. 21.
During the Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday, the CPC Members of Parliament have chosen not to remove incumbent leader Andrew Scheer from his leadership position. The meeting started at 1:00 PM and lasted for well over three hours as the CPC caucus struggled to solve structural problems from within the party. One of the four questions the caucus had to answer was whether the MPs should give themselves the power to launch this leadership review.
The CPC MPs voted in favour of electing a caucus chair. They have also voted in favour of forming a method to kick MPs out of caucus. Finally, they then decided to vote against having choosing an interim leader due to their rejection of the leadership review.
Despite Conseravtive MPs rejecting to trigger a leadership review today, Scheer will still have to face a mandatory leadership review in Toronto this April.
According to well-connected figures within the party, both Erin O’Toole and Peter Mackay were preparing to leadership bids, with O’Toole eyeing up a possible no confidence challenge during the caucus meeting. For the confidence vote to be triggered, at least 25 MPs would have been needed to sign the notice.
When The Post Millennial approached Mackay with these rumors, the former Harper minister vehemently denied them. MacKay, however, did aggressively criticize Scheer, telling reporters that issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay added that Scheer’s failure to defeat Trudeau “was like having an open net and missing the net.”
In the Ottawa airport on Tuesday, Hamish Marshall, who is Scheer’s campaign manager, was confronted by CBC journalist Katie Simpson. When Simpson asked Marshall about the caucus meeting, Marshall responded that “it was none of her business.”
Disclosure: Yianni Macris formerly served as Parliamentary Assistant to CPC MP Ted Falk. He currently studies public relations.
I’ve kept rather too quiet with respect to my opinion on the election results, especially with how it turned out for the Conservative Party. Silent I can no longer be. Yes, the Conservatives won the popular vote. But I’d like to clear the air: winning the popular vote is virtually irrelevant; our electoral system is not designed like that.
Let’s take a step back for a second. Conservatives were freaking out when the Liberals had promised electoral reform, and move to proportional representation. Nobody wanted it. But now, Conservatives are harping on the fact that we won the popular vote.
Yes, if the Liberals had introduced their electoral reform, the Conservatives would’ve won more seats. But like many Tories, I’m still happy that electoral reform didn’t happen. As Conservatives, we support the preservation of our traditional parliamentary system which includes our electoral process. Conservatives need to drop the popular vote line and start working on how we will win the election in 18 to 24 months.
The result for the Conservative Party on Oct. 21 was devastating in every way possible.
While I certainly won’t go as far as to say that Andrew Scheer had the election handed to him, I will say that he was given the opportunity to wipe Justin Trudeau and his Liberal team away from forming a minority government.
First it was the Vice-Admiral Mark Norman Affair, then SNC-Lavalin, and to top it all off, brownface. That’s not even mentioning the prior scandals before 2019. In democracies similar to ours, this would result not only in the loss of an election, but an impeachment (or something similar), along with a possible prosecution.
Scheer failed to capitalize.
Credit to Mr. Scheer for wiping the Liberals out of Alberta and Saskatchewan, making gains in British Columbia and Manitoba, and picking up a few seats in the East Coast.
But it’s not enough. Not enough for the 6 million plus Canadians that voted for their local Conservative candidates. Canadians deserved better than Justin Trudeau.
There was only one problem. Andrew Scheer couldn’t give Canadians the better that they both wanted and deserved.
Peter MacKay said it best: “To use a good Canadian analogy, it was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”
He is right. Politics is no different than hockey. Our leaders are like captains. Our candidates and members are no different than the rest of the players, and our staff teams are like the coaches, managers, trainers — essential for everything to come together on game day. On every team, there is a diversity of individuals. Each and every one of them with different opinions, faiths, ethnicities, etc.
Andrew Scheer didn’t lose because of his personal beliefs. He didn’t lose because of his views on abortion or same-sex marriage. He just didn’t know how to respond in the right way when asked. He knew he would be asked about his views. The fact that he wasn’t prepared for it (or just had a bad plan, perhaps) is grounds for concern amongst party members and supporters.
He chose to dance around every question with “this is the law of the land and will not change…” until Oct. 3. He eventually said that his “personal position has always been open and consistent. I am personally pro-life but I’ve also made the commitment that as leader of this party it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not re-open this debate, that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians.”
I actually don’t see anything wrong with that. Even Prime Minister Trudeau used to hold that same belief, as do many Liberal MPs.
Unfortunately, he missed out on one of the golden rules of politics: define yourself before your opponent defines you.
He was late to that battle, despite plenty of advance notice. And his weak response to the media didn’t help either.
He did a fine job of defining Trudeau prior to and going into the election, yet he flopped at defining himself.
There was the narrative that Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives were coming to take your right to abortion and gay marriage. Any individual with a good understanding of politics would understand that this was bunk.
But you can’t expect to change a narrative at the eleventh hour and hope for the best. That’s extremely irresponsible.
His team didn’t follow the playbook. When the team loses, the responsibility falls on the captain and head coach. A loss this devastating would result in a new captain and a new coach in any sport, especially with so much riding on the game.
It has been suggested by some Conservatives that we need a new leader. I believe we do, but not because of the personal beliefs that Andrew Scheer holds.
If that was the case, then that would ultimately disqualify the majority of former Prime Ministers from ever running for office today. The notion that an individual must conform to certain views in order to be deemed “qualified” for higher office, a political equivalent of a chilling effect is created. It inherently punishes someone for views that they are entitled to not just as individuals, but as Canadians.
That chilling effect is detrimental to our democracy and to diversity of public opinion.
Conservatives who believe that we need a new leader who holds certain personal views should try to see it this way.
Yes, a new leader should be picked, but for the right reasons. What is clear is that we need someone who has a much better communications strategy. A team that has everything planned out. A team that creates a playbook, and makes necessary adaptations should things go wrong. Someone who will define himself before their opponent defines them.
Disclosure: James Bezan is the Conservative Shadow Minister for National Defence and MP of Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman in Manitoba.
If you turn on the news, it is clear that the world is changing and global peace and security are becoming more uncertain. Alliances that have lasted a generation are shifting. Countries such as Russia and China are challenging the international world order. And terrorist groups around the world are growing in strength. In order to tackle these issues Canada needs a bold response from a government willing to take action and stand on principle.
Unfortunately, what this past election showed is that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are not up to this task, and never were.
During the election campaign the Liberals failed to take the issue of defence and foreign affairs seriously. Trudeau skipped the Munk Foreign Affairs Policy Debate because he didn’t want to defend his disastrous record, his platform commitments on these defence and foreign affairs were almost nowhere to be seen, and he did not spend a single day in the campaign talking about these important issues.
Overall, this was shameful.
In contrast, Andrew Scheer and Canada’s Conservatives made a strong, thoughtful and articulate announcement on defence and foreign affairs, committed to the Munk debate, and put forward a serious plan on these critical issues.
Our commitment to these issues were clearly laid out in our platform.
Canada’s Conservatives promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reopen the Office of Religious Freedom, provide military defensive aid to Ukraine, reprioritize foreign aid, combat terrorist fundraising and planning, punish terrorists that travel overseas, depoliticize military procurement, begin discussions with the U.S. on joining the ballistic missile defence shield, quickly replace our CF-18’s, build a second interim supply ship, and begin the process of replacing our submarines.
In an ever-evolving and growing world with threats to Canada, our country needs a strong vison for what role we can play in the defence of our values at home and abroad. The fact is that under Justin Trudeau, Canada was never back and we are falling further behind under his weak leadership. This election campaign proved that the Liberals are not interested in talking about the major issues that will shape the world for future generations. Instead, they spent their time talking about spending money on camping trips.
Canada’s Conservatives will never stop fighting for the things that matter. We will continue to stand up for our military heroes. We will support bold ideas that protect our home and native land. We will demonstrate that strength abroad is the only true course for Canada. And when we re-establish our reputation on the world stage, Canadians are more prosperous and secure.
We will continue to stand up for these things–because that is what Canadians expect us to do.
Former Harper minister Peter MacKay has told reporters that he is not organizing a leadership bid. On Twitter, MacKay posted that he supported Andrew Scheer and that his recent comments only had to do with addressing Conservative policy rather than the party’s leadership.
Rumours of a MacKay leadership bid began to swirl within Conservative circles when he criticized Scheer’s stance on social conservatism, suggesting issues like abortion and immigration “hung round [Scheer’s] neck like a stinking albatross.” MacKay went on to say that, “it was like having an open net and missing the net.”
Ex-Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Partick Brown and former Prime Minister Kim Campbell have also criticized Scheer for failing to win a perceived winnable election. As well as this, a Scheer Must Go website has been created by Conservative advocate, Anthony Koch, however, it has failed to gain much of a following, with less than 300 followers on Twitter.
Scheer will have to face a leadership review next year in Toronto, and although there is plenty of time left for dissent to fester. The Post Millennial reported on Thursday the caucus might have a confidence vote on Scheer’s leadership next Wednesday.