The constipated Conservative contest.

Back on March 11 and 12, Babel-on-the-Bay published its morning line for the current Conservative Party of Canada leadership. We are somewhat surprised that nothing has changed. With two more months to go at the time, candidates’ teams needed to assess their strategy and make their changes for the home stretch. April is the home stretch in this race and half the candidates seem unaware.

With ballots being sent to all members of the party by the end of April, that will be the end of the game. The announcement of the winner will take place in Toronto at the end of May.

Of the possible winners, only the top seven will be of interest. They are the ‘possibles’ as described in the morning line:

Kevin O’Leary, no change at 20 to 1. He has proved himself short-tempered, apolitical and out of his depth. It is probably just as well that O’Leary is in the race. He is taking some of the publicity away from Kellie Leitch and that can only be a good thing. Even if he is number one on the first ballot because of name recognition, he is nobody’s second choice. And it is second and third choice votes that will count in this race.

Kellie Leitch, it is possible that her vote odds have dropped from 15 to 1 to 30 to 1. It hardly matters though as she is in the same boat as O’Leary with nowhere to grow.

Andrew Scheer, we gave him 12 to 1 because of his second vote possibilities. He is a safe candidate in the caucus’ opinion but he is no leader. Frankly, he might be the favourite of the Liberal’s in Ottawa because there is nowhere he will take the Conservative Party. He would be a stop-gap leader.

Maxime Bernier, is a mixed bag. His 10 to 1 odds reflect his rejection by the Quebec caucus. They see Bernier as a Libertarian who is hurting them in Quebec rather than helping. He has failed to convince the rest of the country that he is anything but a playboy. If money talks, it could win him a few second votes but not enough.

Erin O’Toole, at 9 to 1, might be the only candidate to have improved his odds. Peter MacKay’s endorsement will help solidify his strength in the Atlantic provinces. We are just not seeing the potential in Ontario and the West. He could be the sleeper.

Lisa Raitt, at 6 to 1, we still like Lisa Raitt’s chances. She has got to be second choice for lots of Conservative members. The rules are working for this lady. Given a lead out of Ontario, she can win with just second votes from the West.

Michael Chong, at 5 to 1, we are seeing the M.P. as a bit of an enigma. It all depends on how party members are perceiving his concerns about how the party functions. And the other factor is membership sales by his opponents. There are still questions to be answered.

Under the rules of this leadership race, no candidate can back out past this point in time. Does that rule out the stalking horse who can send his votes to another candidate? And would it be worth it?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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