Ottawa area MP Pierre Poilievre has something to complain about. After his carefully choreographed campaign for the conservative leadership has led the field, he is starting to see his basic error. He is puzzling about it. His campaign must have been based on the premise that he could win the leadership on the first ballot. His cockiness carried him off. He burnt his boats. He alternately alienated or ignored his opponents. He seems to have finally realized that he might have to have some second votes.
It was a classic mistake. I doubt very much that he has bothered to listen to his campaign team. He was fooled by those early rallies with his “convoy” friends. He thought their sign-ups would be all he needed.
But even if Poilievre actually signed up a thousand here and a thousand there, he must have realized by now that Patrick Brown is bringing in the new sign-ups by the tens of thousands. And even Brown could not swamp the federal membership as he did in Ontario. What Brown is doing is working as the stalking horse for Jean Charest. He is providing the balance for Charest to win on the third or fourth count of the ballots.
The reality is that Poilievre probably has, at most, 50 per cent of the 250,000 of the already qualified members of the conservative party of Canada. He does not have the same share of the new voters being signed up by June 3. The experts are forecasting that the final tally will be about 400,000 signed up members of the party.
From past experience with these affairs, we know that there will be 300,000 to 325,000 ballots to enter into the computers. Scott Aitchison and Roman Baber will be first and second off the count and nobody will gain enough second votes to go over the top. Assuming that the third person dropped is Leslyn Lewis, it leaves the field to Brown, Charest and Poilievre.
And here is where the Brown-Charest alliance comes into play. Charest’s efforts were concentrated in Quebec and east. Brown’s sign-ups are heavier in in Ontario and B.C. Poilievre might dominate in the Prairies but the treatment of all ridings as equal drops the leadership in Charest’s lap.
If it is any consolation to Pierre Poilievre, he might have won if all votes were equal. It will only be when the conservatives realize that not all ridings are equal, they will stop having an automatic leadership contest after every federal election.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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