The conservative party’s current leadership contest is muddying the question of where the party sits in the political spectrum. The party has tried right of centre with Andrew Scheer, somewhere in the muddy middle with Erin O’Toole and just where it is headed with the current batch of candidates is a good question. Maybe it should be an important question for candidates to address in the upcoming leadership debates.
Frankly, I have never been satisfied with the picture of Canada’s major political parties posing as ‘big tent’ parties. It is really more of a copout than a workable political solution. I joined the liberal party back when it was running under the banner of Medicare. It came as a shock to me to find that there were opponents to Medicare still in the party.
And then when Paul Martin Junior practically destroyed Medicare running out of control as Jean Chrétien’s right-finance minister, I was left wondering what was a passionate progressive’s position. Like many caring progressives, I could find no alternative.
Confusion was complete in my mind when Tom Mulcair backed the new democrats into the crowded middle ground in 2015. It led to his downfall as leader two years later and his departure from politics. Mind you, in comparison to Jagmeet Singh, Mulcair at least knew where he wanted to go.
With both Patrick Brown and Jean Charest heading for the muddy middle in this year’s conservative leadership, you can understand why Pierre Poilievre is making good use of a populist approach. He is spouting right-of-centre dogma of limited government and lower taxes. Whether he would actually do that would be a matter of conjecture. He can ridicule Brown and Charest as light liberals, all he likes, but there is a strong faction within the conservative party that despised the truckers’ convoy and did not approve of Poilievre embracing the participants.
Despite the mistake he might be making, if I was on Pierre Poilievre’s team, I would argue strongly to stay with the present tack. It is beginning to look like his only chance is to win on the first ballot. He is burning his boats for second choice votes.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: