Lest we forget, Charest.

It is likely to be a frosty Friday when Canada’s conservatives turn to former Quebec premier Jean Charest. They are just not that desperate, yet. It will be a while before the full field of candidates emerges for the race to replace Chuckles Scheer.

Canada’s conservatives want a winner to lead their party. Scheer brought them to more seats in the house of commons, he brought them to winning the popular vote across Canada, he reduced the autocratic Trudeau liberals to a minority and it still was not good enough for his party. He was torn from office like by a pack of wolves. He was culled from the herd as though he was found wanting.

But can Charest be that winner? The former conservative, former liberal, is penned in at the gate, ready to rumble in the rodeo.

He brings strengths and knowledge and backers. He is not the new kid in town. He was the wunderkinder from Sherbrook of the Mulroney conservatives of 1984. In two years, he was in Mulroney’s cabinet. When the conservatives where left with two seats after the rout of 1993, Charest was leader of the progressive conservative party. He fought the independence referendum in Quebec as an official of the ‘No’ side. The slim win for the ‘No’ convinced many of Quebec’s major business concerns to look for someone to take on the ruling Parti Québécois. The pressure was put on Charest to move to provincial politics as leader of the Quebec liberals.

And, if you have ever wondered, the conservatives of Quebec are mainly members of the Quebec liberal party. The party there spans the middle ground of politics. It was an easy move for Charest and he took it. He made the move in 1998 but it took him until 2003 to win a majority government for the liberals. He left provincial politics after his liberals were defeated in 2012.

Charest is not going to win followers in the West with his strong stand on environmental issues and his support for Quebec’s special status. And, quite honestly, I think the former wunderkinder, in his 60s, looks tired.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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