The Conservatives will have to decide whether they’re a pro-establishment or anti-establishment party
It’s pretty clear that the Conservative base is strongly anti-establishment.
Just look at the response to any story about SNC-Lavalin, or China’s abuse of Canadian Citizens, illegal immigration, and the weak state of our armed forces.
At every step of the way, the Conservative base is completely at odds with Canada’s political elites.
And that speaks well of the Conservative base since Canada’s political elites have been getting it wrong for decades.
Our nation was once strong and influential in the world, particularly in the aftermath of World War Two.
But since then, our military and economic influence has waned, and while the elites masked our growing weakness for a while by pretending we had diplomatic “soft power,” that myth is being shattered as it’s now impossible to hide how weak our nation truly is.
Nobody takes us seriously, nobody fears us, nobody respects us, and nobody has any real reason to listen to us.
On the big issues, the common-sense of the Conservative base—made up of hardworking Canadians who are the backbone of our country—has been 100% right.
The problem is that the Conservative Party itself—due in large part to how much power the Canadian corporate establishment holds over our political parties – has often been afraid to truly push against the establishment consensus.
Even on issues where the majority of Canadians are on their side, like immigration, pushing back on China, standing up for ourselves in the world, being more independently strong and capable, the Conservatives are tentative and ultra-careful.
For example, while the Conservatives advocated for a tougher approach on China in the last election campaign, they also pushed for more trade with China in certain economic areas and slammed the Liberals for the restrictions China imposed on our exports.
In that hypocrisy, you can see the two pressures facing the Conservatives. On the one hand, the Conservative base wants us to distance ourselves from China, reduce our reliance on them, and stand up against the communist state. But the corporate establishment wants more trade with China and is willing to sell out our values to do it, and the Conservatives were afraid of totally defying them.
SNC-Lavalin is another example. The Conservatives channelled the justified anger of their base when they slammed the deferred prosecution agreement the Trudeau Liberals tried giving to the politically-connected company, yet also refused to say whether they would rescind the deferred prosecution agreement tool if they took office.
This leaves the Conservatives in a position where the enthusiasm of their anti-establishment base is often dampened, while many Canadians who could potentially be open to the Conservatives see the party as too pro-establishment and too corporate.
The fact is that the corporate establishment is increasingly international in outlook, seeking opportunities outside of Canada, and supporting policies that often hurt working-class and middle-class Canadians.
Instead of trying to out-corporate the Liberals, the Conservatives need to realize that there is more potential growth from shifting towards a more populist, economic nationalist, anti-establishment message and platform.
Sooner or later, the Conservatives will have to decide whether they’re a pro-establishment or anti-establishment party.
Peter MacKay has announced that he intends to march in the Pride parade in Toronto. The Conservative leadership candidate mentioned that he applied to organizers of the parade asking to join.
If MacKay is successful in gaining permission to join the parade and is able to win the conservative leadership, he will become the first and only permanent federal leader of the Conservatives to be a part of the LGBTQ rights parade.
“Pride parades are important,” he said.
“We live in a world where sexual orientation and gender identity are still used by tyrants and bigots to belittle and oppress. In Canada we are lucky to have a society that has grown more tolerant, more accepting and more understanding, but there is still more work to be done,” CBC reported MacKay saying.
MacKay is considered the front runner in the leadership race, according to recent polls.
In the past, MacKay has been more welcoming to same-sex marriage than other Conservatives. He voted against a Conservative resolution to define marriage as it was traditionally defined in a 2006 vote.
MacKay assumed he would be criticized by some conservatives for the decision.
In a statement he said, “The fact that some will condemn this statement speaks louder than any argument I could make about the importance for the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada to follow in the footsteps of Rona Ambrose, and march in support of pride.”
Andrew Scheer did not participate in any of these types of events during the time he spent in the party.
Mackay referred to this saying that Scheer could not “deftly deal” with these types of issues.
He said that issues such as same-sex marriage “hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly.”
Among the provincial Conservatives who have participated in such events is Ontario Premier Doug Ford. He marched in the York Region Pride Parade.
Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole have officially announced their bids to become the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Erin O’Toole who announced his bid on Monday in Alberta. In his announcement, O’Toole pitched himself as a “true blue” Conservative who could fight for jobs and “defend our history, our institutions against attacks from cancel culture and the radical left.”
On Saturday, Erin O’Toole’s main competitor Peter MacKay also officially announced his candidacy in Nova Scotia where he made the case for a united Canada. He also had a rally in Ottawa with over 400 in attendance.
During the event, MacKay told his audience, “We’ve all lived through the realities of what can happen when Conservatives are not united. We know firsthand how important it is that we do our part not to divide ourselves, our party or our nation.”
“If divided, we falter, we fail. And I’ve done my part and I’ve played my part in uniting the Conservative family into one big blue tent,” he added.
MacKay retired from federal politics in 2015 after a long ministerial career under Harper’s government. The native Nova-Scotian served as the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is MacKay’s first run for the modern Conservative Party, although he previously served as leader of the Progressive Conservatives.
O’Toole, on the other hand, is not a newcomer to leadership contests. In 2017, the Durham MP finished in third position behind Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer—finishing with around 20 percent of the vote on the final ballot.
Before entering politics, O’Toole served in the Canadian military and as a lawyer in the private sector. He currently serves as the Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs where he criticized Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy blunders.
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.
Candice Bergen is seriously considering a leadership bid after multiple big-name Conservative candidates chose not to run last week, according to the National Post.
Bergen is the Member of Parliment for Portage-Lisgar in Manitoba—having been first elected in 2008. Bergen is an accomplished politician, serving as the minister of state for social development under Harper’s spell in the PMO.
Earlier this year, Bergen told reporters that she wouldn’t run in the leadership contest due to her role as Opposition House Leader—a particularly difficult role during a minority government. She seems, however, to have changed her mind after Jean Charest, Rona Ambrose, and Pierre Poilievre announced that they would not be taking the leadership on.
Due to these announcements, the leadership race has effectively become a three-way race between Marilyn Gladu, Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole. This, perhaps unreasonably, has left many western Canadians disenfranchised from the CPC race—especially after Poilievre and Ambrose made their departure from the competition.
After the tumult of last week, Bergen is reconsidering her options, and as a Manitoban, believes she could resonate with many alienated Western-Canadians. Bergen, however, is not bilingual, which could pose a challenge during the French-langauge debates.