It is a matter of wills. Is Pierre Poilievre the boss of the conservatives? Or is he not? Maybe, he needs to make it clear to all the factions of the conservative party. Especially in an electoral district such as Oxford in Ontario.
Oxford has a special place in the hearts of conservatives. It should have road signs as you enter the county saying: No liberals allowed. I remember driving somewhere with Bob Nixon when he was leader of the Ontario liberals at Queen’s Park. I picked him up at his farm near Paris, Ontario and this time he wanted to drive. I knew better but I let him. Bob always has been a pedal-to-the-metal driver whether it was a tractor on the farm or his car. We were driving on potholed roads for some time and then, suddenly the roads were well paved and could handle his speed. “Welcome to Oxford County,” he said. “These roads are the first to be repaved and first to be plowed when it snows.”
Oxford riding, which usually includes all of Oxford County and parts of Brant county, had, at that time, been voting conservative since 1935. They have been voting conservative so often, even the farmers refer to it as a ‘yellow-dog riding.’ It votes conservative. It also has a solid base of social conservative voters. It also spells trouble for Pierre Poilievre. Social conservatives are not his kind of people. He hardly wants them in his caucus.
Despite running in an Ontario riding, it is important to recognize that Poilievre is a westerner. He hails from Calgary. He has all those Petroleum Club interests at heart. His kind of conservative doesn’t worry about abortions. Or, come to think of it, does his kind of conservative give a damn about climate change or pollution.
The problem is that Poilievre has already picked his candidate for Oxford. He is Arpan Kahanna who worked on Poilievre’s leadership campaign but has no connection to Oxford.
By removing Gerrit Van Dorland, favoured by the Right Now organization, Poilievre has opened the age-old argument for ridings having the rights to choose their own candidate. The battle looks good on him.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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