10.26.2015 07:11 AM

Highly-scientific poll on Conservative Party leadership race (updated)

The Conservative Party’s leadership race is underway, whether official or not.

Because I am a student of politics, and because I am unselfishly devoted to my readers and the greater good, I have helpfully put together a Conservative Party leadership poll, below.  It is accurate 19 times out twiddley, which is about how accurate most of the real polling agencies are, these days.

Personally, I do not see the Conservative Party dead, at all.  They remain a threat, and smart Liberals won’t forget that.  In 2015, the CPC dropped just 50,000 votes from their 2011 total – which represents less than one percentage point.  They have representation in every region except the Atlantic, and they will likely have effective performers in the House of Commons.

The current anonymous sniping in the morning papers (social conservatives vs. progressive conservatives, West vs. East, everyone vs. Jenni Byrne, blah blah blah) isn’t something that should worry them.  In fact, as one wag put it, Conservatives should be worried if the sniping wasn’t happening.  You only ever learn how to win by first losing.

Thus, this here poll.  Whether you are a Conservative or not, you should pretend – however briefly – that you are, and you are a delegate to their convention.  Which of the folks below – listed alphabetically, and with the home province and most-recent portfolio indicated – do you think can win against the Trudeau Government™? (Mea culpa: I forgot Maxime Bernier – I see from today’s Hill Times that John Reynolds wants him. I’ve now added him. My sincere apologies to the Beauce chapter of the Hells Angels for my lack of diligence. Oh, and I also forgot Tony Clement. There’s a message, there. Those who have explicitly and clearly said no thanks – Messrs. Wall and Charest – are being taken at their word.)

Vote now, vote often! Politicos do, whenever they can get away with it!

UPDATE: Baird has issued a press release to explicitly rule out running! I guess we should consider him only a “maybe.” Or, not. Took him off.


  1. James Bow says:

    What about Brad Wall?

    • Warren says:

      He said no. Read the frigging paper, why don’t you.

      • James Bow says:

        Sure, he says ‘no’, now. He has to, to prevent himself from becoming a lame duck. But he’s been premier of Saskatchewan for eight years, and reaching that point when people start saying disturbing things like, “maybe it’s time for a change”. With the Saskatchewan election due in April 2016, wouldn’t it be a perfect time to hand things over to the next generation of the party and walk away with your head held high and your aura of invulnerability intact? He would be a formidable candidate, and he knows that.

        • Warren says:

          Sorry, but if someone says “no,” I’m going to go with that. I don’t read minds, however much I’d like to.

        • Jon Adams says:

          He also knows that he’s the Sask Party’s number one asset, and staying a big fish in a little pond, rather than potentially getting his head caved in on the federal level. It’s a big step from college to the pros.

          I’ve also heard some personal details (rumours really) that I’m not at liberty to discuss.

        • Mike says:

          There is a reason that you don’t often see provincial premiers leading national parties. If memory serves me correctly you have to go back 40 years to Robert Stanfield. They aren’t often successful , again see Stanfield and the job sucks in comparison to what you were doing.

          Why would anyone in their right mind go from being the head of a government to at least 4 and more likely 8 years of opposition. Years of traveling the country eating a lot of rubber chicken, pressing the flesh with the party faithful, all the while having no real power of any sort.

          Much better to get yourself appointed to some corporate boards. Less work, more money.

        • Elisabeth Lindsay says:

          As far as I know, no Provincial Premier has ever run for Federal politics.

          As Premier Lougheed once said, “why would I want to be Prime Minister of Canada when I can be Premier of Alberta?” Or something like that.

          I`m sure Brad Wall feels the same about his province.

          Also…..no French.

          • Serge says:

            A number of premiers have run federally (as MPs or for leadership). Robert Stanfield was probably the best known as he ran directly for the leadership of the Conservative Party… and then against a Trudeau (Pierre Elliott). Didn’t serve him well. Remained in opposition for years.

          • Ron says:

            To the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers, simply repeat the following:

            ‘George Drew knew my father

            Father knew George Drew’


    • Cory says:

      Plus he’s not bilingual

  2. SD says:

    Where’s Pete Poilievre and Tiny Clement?

  3. Reality.Bites says:

    I see you gave the prospect of a Doug Ford candidacy all the serious consideration it merits.

    Tony Clement? Well sure, I guess if they think the problem was that Stephen Harper had too much charisma.

    • Bluegreenblogger says:

      you shouldn’t dismiss him too quickly. Depending upon the actual voting mechanism, the Fords can bring an enormous number of new members in. If it is a matter of winning over complete ridings, they are pooched. If there is a one member, one vote contest, they can probably pull in a few hundred thousand members. enough to decide who is the next leader.

  4. If they stand any chance of renewal and winning, the new leader will have to come from Ontario, Quebec, or Eastern Canada, but will also have to have either pre-Reform history or sufficient distance from the godawful just-repudiated fear-campaign/West-Wants-In crowd. Any of the Raitt/Rona/Rempel/Leitch continuum of bids would be nice to see for the optics of change, but all four of them are still too closely tied to Harper election ugliness. So on this list, I’d give a grudging edge to John Baird and Peter MacKay with a strong caveat that they’d both need to find a way back in through risky by-elections in “safe” ridings that probably wouldn’t welcome either of them.

    • Mike says:

      Yes, because Baird and McKay have no association whatsoever with Harper. Please note tongue firmly planted in cheek.

      And as Patrick Brown proved, it doesn’t matter who should win or who would be best to lead the party in the next election. It is all about organization and signing up members, and then getting those members vote out to vote for you. In that area Kenney has a huge head start on anyone in the party. Kenney is also a huge fundraiser. Year after year he has raised more money for the party than Harper. He has sent a lot of money to various riding associations across the country. Those IOUs are all going to be cashed in during the leadership run

  5. It’s Baird’s to win easily, unless Brad Wall throws his hat in….

  6. Brent Crofts says:

    Any chance Bernard Lord might be interested? I could certainly support someone like him.

    • Eddie says:

      Bernie Lord? Sets up an interesting Mulroney vs Harper background fight for leadership of party.

      • Marc-André Chiasson says:

        As a New Brunswicker, I can say that Lord is a nice enough guy and is truly bilingual. However, he was the most indecisive NB Premier in memory. Chronic waffler.

  7. gyor says:

    I think Rempel would rock social media, even Megan Leslie of the NDP likes her and is friends with her,so I take that seriously.

  8. Maps Onburt says:

    Mad Max, definitely… that would make lots of prog heads explode. Actually, I think Laureen Harper would be a shoe in. I voted for Lisa Raitt in her place. Actually, actually, I don’t think anyone can win without speaking at least some French and I’m not sure on this list who does… Baird is from Ottawa so probably does. I know Michelle Rempel does but she might be a tad young and inexperienced (although that didn’t hurt Trudeau – she’s also a hell of a lot less likely to have Bozo Eruptions). Maybe I’ll wait until they come out with their suggested policy changes.

  9. Mike says:

    Head of capital equity markets at National Bank Mark Mulroney.

    Who among us wouldn’t love to see Trudeau v Mulroney.

  10. Elsie Marley says:

    Guilty as charged, silent & complicit, while Harper’s race baiting bigotry, attacks on the Constitution, Parliament & democracy were slapped repeatedly across Canada’s face for almost a decade.

    I cannot forget the cream of this particular Conservative crop rises to the bottom.

  11. Lee Hill says:

    Art Bergmann…a write-in candidate, but I think he would provide a kind of Iggy Pop “I’m A Conservative” vibe that could work wonders for the blue machine.

  12. BlueGritr says:

    What about Jean Charest? He hasn’t lost his appetite for politics, and he could raise a lot of money fast (through his McCarthy Tetrault LLP connections) if he were to enter the ring.

    • Vancouverois says:

      I believe he’s already said he isn’t interested.

      Besides, I doubt the party would accept him.

      • Bluegreenblogger says:

        i dunno about that! See how quickly the stars re-align if he muses publicly in the next month or two… But it is probable that train left the station 15 years ago.

  13. Eddie says:

    Which confirmed bachelor is more electable: Jason Kenney or John Baird? I suppose Wynne won as premier of Ontario.

    • Reality.Bites says:

      Wynne is OPENLY lesbian and has been throughout her political career.

      Baird is not open, but has consistently supported LGBT rights.

      Kenney has bragged about how he was worked to suppress LGBT rights both in Canada and in the United States. He has voted against equality in every possible way at every possible opportunity throughout his career.

      Three distinctly different personal styles and records and two VERY different parties – the Liberal party officially supports marriage equality. The Conservative party explicitly opposes it, even while the Harper government recognized the issue is dead. You simply can’t compared Wynne to the other two.

      • Nicole says:

        Baird is not going to give up the money… and I believe I recall Matt stating that Baird left abruptly because Harper told him he had to. That means he probably has some serious skeletons that he doesn’t want out there, and the glass closet is the least of them.

        While I think Raitt and Rempel would be the best choices, and Michael Chong a good third, I don’t see this group being open to any of them, similar to the Ontario PC situation. Christine Elliott should have become leader because she can get centrists to vote for her. Patrick Brown sided with creationists and has no work resume to speak of. How can he support private business interests when he has never worked for anyone but the government.

  14. Eddie says:

    Predition: proportional representation would cause disintegration of current Conservative party into its two constituent elements. West based conservatives and Ontario based red Tories.

    • godot10 says:

      The Ontario-based Red Tories haven’t won an election since Bill Davis. Red Toryism is dead and buried and should remain so.

      Mulroney only won an election because western conservatives were not fed up with “Red Toryism” yet. Western Convervatives, Quebec nationalists, with the normally losing Ontario Red Tories made a large enough plurality to win a couple of elections.

      The Conservative Party has to be a clear centre right party, focused on fiscal conservatism, which is pro-new Canadian, who are naturally conservative. Harper’s party without the hyper-partisanship and with Harper’s hyper-control-freak centralization.

      There are women MP’s from across the country who should/hopefully will take prominent critics roles in the caucus.

  15. Russ says:

    If I was a real Tory it would be Raitt – but I’m not, so I hope for Poillievre 😉

  16. Maps Onburt says:

    Baird just took himself off the list. Says he’s enjoying private sector after a long life in politics. I believe him. He’s also smart enough to know that voters saw him as PM Harper’s attack dog and would associate him with PM Harper’s worst tendencies. With Wall, McKay, Baird, Charest taking themselves off the table, it’s looking like it might be someone relatively fresh. Warren said it a year ago… Moore, Raitt, Remple…

  17. Mark says:

    Michael Chong is possibly the only sitting Conservative MP who is relatively untainted by the Harper debacle. He has acted honourably at least since stepping down from Cabinet over the Quebec Nation issue and the fact the PM didn’t bother to consult him on it – even though he was Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs… Chong is someone who would bring me into the Conservative Party if the Liberals falter on key promises or prove untrustworthy. If Conservative Party members have any scruples, they will be done with current members of the Cabinet and recently-departed ones. Chong would serve them well, as would a leader from more eastern parts of Canada. Just my $0.02.

    • Brammer says:

      I believe Chong also championed the Caucus’s “right to dump the leader” bill à la UK and Australia.

      That must have led to some uncomfortable conversations with the boys in the short pants…

  18. Karl says:

    Kellie Leitch disgraced herself with the Barbaric Cultural Practices snitch line. Aside from how repugnant it is as a policy, it also caused embarrassment to her party and became a laugh line.

    It’s always hard to identify single moves during a campaign that cost seats but this one likely didn’t do any favours to a bunch of Leitch’s former colleagues. And that sort of instinct for one’s own jugular isn’t the stuff of which leaders are made.

    • Warren says:

      Totally agree. And they’re all identifying that “hotline” as the point where everything went into the shitter.

      • Bluegreenblogger says:

        As well they should. It was a watershed moment for me too. When dislike turned to contempt and disgust. I can never forgive them.

    • Ted H says:

      Kellie Leitch is a doctor, so first of all, I would have expected her to have too much built in compassion, humanity and intelligence to even be a member of the Conservative Party. But given that, whatever her reasons, I would have expected her to have too much compassion, humanity and intelligence to be part of that absolutely ludicrous “Barbaric Practices announcement with the already disgraced Mr. Alexander.

  19. Terence Quinn says:

    That the cons are far from dead is true. The Libs are good for 8 years at least and by that time a new process will replace FPTP current voting method. The Cons will then divide themselves in two because they will not be able to build a competitive base with just their reform roots.

    • BlueGritr says:

      We can be looking easily at a 20-year run with the Liberals — shades of the King + St. Laurent years (1921 – 1957) with one 5-year exception. Longtime Liberal success has always been about winning big in Ontario + Quebec, and it looks like they are once again on solid footing in these two provinces that have 199 seats in a 338-seat Parliament. The Natural Governing Party must be feeling quite comfortable right now, and so they should be.

      • Mike says:

        Every time a party wins a majority the pundits start writing about how that party has crafted the unbeatable formula and we can look forward to it in government for an extended run. The phrase natural governing party gets trotted out.

        It happened after Mulroney won. It happened after Chretien won, and only 4 short years ago it was being said about Harper. Oh how quickly we forget.

        I never believed it before, and as much as I’d like to believe it now for partisan reasons, I don’t.

        • Reality.Bites says:

          Not only is the “NGP” theory not correct, as you mention, but a party can come back from near total destruction to win a majority government. The 2011 election proved (in Quebec at least) that having no people or organization to GOTV doesn’t matter when the voters are motivated. It’s really not about 300+ local elections anymore. It’s about who people want (or don’t want) as prime minister.

  20. Vancouverois says:

    What about Maxime Bernier? He hasn’t declared himself out of the running, has he?

    There is that scandal from a few years ago, and the atrocious jingle he used during this past campaign. Aside from that, though, isn’t he a reasonably strong candidate?

    • BlueGritr says:

      The ten other recently elected Quebec Conservatives certainly will line-up behind Bernier. He most likely will be their best bet to ensure they get re-elected. Otherwise, they’re toast if it’s someone from the West. Question becomes: who will the business community support? The front runners will have to have a war chest to secure the right handlers and build the proper nationwide network. I see Raitt and Bernier as being the top two potential candidates to garner serious financial backing. Thoughts, anyone?

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      You are a charitable soul.

  21. MF says:

    Andre marin? 🙂

  22. UFP Ambassador says:

    I would like to see a leader from Quebec this time around, just because.

  23. PJ says:

    I had forgotten about Tony Clement….. Can’t forgive him for the $50 million that he diverted to his own electoral district, money that was ear-marked for border security in the lead up to the 2010 G8 summit. Pork barrelling taken to a newer and higher level…..

    • Karl says:

      I hear some scuttlebut that even Tony Clement’s close friends are trying to dissuade him, having gone though the experience with him in 2003. In the last outing, he won less than 1/10th of the votes overall and less than 1/6th of the votes in his home province.

      He might offer a parking spot for those trying to figure out if Kenney has it in the bag (sorry Jason, have to do it, close friends, home province, with you on the next round, yadda, yadda) or whether someone else will emerge out of Quebec, the West or even closer to home like Lisa Raitt.

    • doconnor says:

      Why do many people make a bigger deal about some selfishly directed G20 spending over the massive and blatant civil abuses have happened during the G20.

    • Wayne says:

      Cough***gas plants***cough

  24. Aongasha says:

    You kind of have to laugh at those predictions of a 20 year Liberal run. If the history of that party teaches us anything, it is that sooner or later, they’ll find themselves a scandal while diddling the taxpayers.

    • aggo says:

      Yeah, I love how some people are pretending it’s 1993 all over again and we’re back to the LPC “golden age” and the good ol’ Canada we used to know and love.

  25. Kev says:

    Bernard Lord is also a no.

  26. Tony says:

    Maxime Bernier’s name comes up, and for good reason. He understands Quebec and quite frankly Quebec voters choose the Quebecker whenever given the change. He isn’t a Westerner so the Red Tories won’t work against him, but at the same time he can ideologically bridge that gap. That, and his brand of Conservatism would be popular on Bay Street and Southern Ontario in general.

  27. Cory says:

    Ben Mulroney!

    • Reality.Bites says:

      Hey, Brian’s only 76 – only 8 years older than Hillary Clinton. When I saw him interviewed on election night he looked healthy and, well, after 10 years of Harper I don’t dislike him 1/100th as much as I used to, so he’s electable!

      OK, I don’t see it happening, but something devilish in me makes me think that the only thing more humiliating to Harper than being defeated by Justin Trudeau is being succeeded as leader by Brian Mulroney.

      • Don Wilson says:

        Sorry Reality, We can’t have Brian Mulroney because Ezra Levant says Mulroney is not a real Conservative. So I hereby nominate Ezra Levant for the job. Ezra’s candidacy would guarantee a schism in the CPC that would last for generations, thereby letting the rest of us get on with the national building we have been missing for 9 years.

  28. jack D says:

    Matters little, really. The party can elect whoever they want for leadership but the result of the 2019 election is already predetermined if the party apparatus isn’t immediately refreshed.

    Personally, I think Jason Kenney has the support and the infrastructure within the CPC to squeeze out a win. He’s been defacto campaigning since 2013 for his succession to Harper and the quicker the leadership-race trigger is pulled, the better chances Kenney has of winning. Which is exactly why if I were one of the PCers of the party, I’d take my time in building support to mount an effective leadership-bid after Kenney inevitably crashes. I would not jump into that role in the immediate aftermath of election 42 because thats not enough time for adequate soul searching for the party and receptiveness to new ideas.

    Now putting CPC aside, can we all just take a moment and acknowledge the downward spiralling the NDP is going through right now? I mean, instead of introspection they’re finding just about every reason to blame others for their loss; strategic voting, Conservatives, Liberals and the electorate are apparently all culpable for the NDP’s devastation. I know we’ve effectively written them off at this point as that good-ol’ rump socialist party of parliament but I’m amazed at how brazen their denial/anger is given that voters considered giving them a minority government just months ago.

  29. Luke says:

    I chonlse Raitt, but were I a conservative probably I’d say Chong or Rempell at this point. Based on very little.

  30. Bluegreenblogger says:

    After the interim leader, does anybody know who the electorate is, and how they will vote? Will there be riding delegates, delegates at large? Will they be selected by one member one vote? There is seriously no point in guessing at who will win when the party hasn’t decided who to favour yet, lol.

  31. smelter rat says:

    I’d vote for David Orchard

  32. MS from Durham says:

    Question – Is Erin O’tool not included because he is talking about the interim job, not the long-term. If he were to run, I think he would be far from a heavy weight, but have as good a chance as some listed (eg. Michael Chong).

  33. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Michael Chong for his intelligence, guts and reform instincts. Plus he is the most innoculated from the serious Harper baggage.

  34. Scotian says:

    My thoughts on this are more a wait and see for a bit before seriously evaluating anyone within the CPC caucus past and present for the slot. I say that because I suspect the most likely place for the new leader to come from will be within the current CPC caucus or someone that was in it before as opposed to someone totally outside the CPC/Harper circles. Personally, I don’t think that is the best thing for a bunch of reasons, but at the moment it is how I would bet on it going given what we’ve seen so far. For that reason I would actually like to take a couple of months or so and see how the various CPC MPs mentioned will show themselves once they are no longer under the Harper Cone of Silence/Domination and can show themselves for who and what they really are in terms of policies, abilities, and personal magnetism. We are already seeing some significant personality changes in people that have served in the Harper cabinet now that they are free to be themselves, and I think it might be a good idea to wait to get better reads on these people and their potential leadership skills fit in terms of ability and in terms of being best suited to go up against PM Trudeau for 2019.

    As to Warren’s comments on how far from out of it the CPC are, all I can say to that is I agree with him as strongly on this point and need to always keep it in mind as I did disagree with him about how well suited and likely Justin Trudeau was to win this election and to have a shot at a majority government, which is to say I feel fairly strongly about it indeed. It would be incredibly dangerous to underestimate the possible return of the CPC given the right combination of circumstances even in one cycle (although I honestly expect it to be at least two, the damage Harper did was that extensive and the fact that just by undoing much of it will make Trudeau look like a real promise keeper and worthy re-election choice in 2019 I suspect), as the Liberals themselves have just proven. Every election cycle resets the score to zero, and anyone that fails to recognize that and always keep it in the back of their minds is just asking for trouble. Just ask those NDPers that claimed in the campaign because they only needed 35 seats to form a minority they were far better able and likely to remove Harper from office unlike those way distant from any form of government Liberals.

    I will close with a couple of thoughts, one not too detailed, but the other alas as is my norm is. One, a former CPC MP not on the list that I respect and think could make a good leader in the new world for the CPC because of his long standing understanding and pioneering in Canadian political circles the use of internet media (and indeed was sacked by Harper because he refused to give it up which also removes nearly all the Harper taint clinging to all the others) is Garth Turner, although whether he would ever consider it I have no idea, although I would tend to suspect not but that is purely gut feeling not based on anything else.

    I also believe that the CPC in electing a new leader effectively will not have to worry about how that leader can fight the NDP, because unless the NDP starts showing signs of waking up to reality they will not be a serious threat for some time to come. As Jack D notes in his comment at 1:23 PM Oct 26 2015 it seems the NDP is looking everywhere but at itself to explain why it lost. The concept that their own campaign and their own leader’s style of campaigning might have had anything to do with it seems to be heresy, nay blasphemy of the darkest sort and therefore not to be allowed.

    I’m also not impressed that Mulcair on election night sounded like he was giving a victory speech for at least a minority situation instead of presiding over the worst defeat in NDP history. Then his hiding in his own closet ever since, including not showing up for the first anniversary memorial of the Parliament Hill shootings, which was IMHO a very bad call on both moral/ethical/manners grounds but also political grounds given the traditional NDP image/perception weakness on security issues. Mulcair wants to stay on as leader yet isn’t doing the hard work a leader in his shoes should be doing, in his shoes given the loss he just took I would be doing all I could to prove I should still be staying on as leader, which means showing up for important events like this one, and doing the hard work of transitioning instead of getting Dewar to do it for me. Mulcair is looking really bad in all of this to me and to others I’ve noticed, and yet Dippers still rally right behind him and make excuses for him and his clearly hurt fee fees while he claims to be ready to lead for the long haul.

    So either the NDP are going to keep Mulcair, who is not going to be much threat come 2019 given what he showed this time out, or they are going to enter a new leadership race, but this time also needing to decide again what their party stands for since the great centralizing move policy of Layton’s that Mulcair continued with the clear intent of replacing the Libs as the alternative choice to the Cons has been destroyed means they will likely not be a serious threat/factor in the next election for government. As a possible spoiler and such sure, but as a real contender for government again, no I think they urinated that chance away hard in this cycle and I suspect the long term impact of that will be beyond this one cycle too. Which means the CPC has mainly to consider how they face down Trudeau, and what would be the best kind of leader to do so with, and that is why I say they only need to really worry on one front in this regard, not two. It is also why I think we need to take some time to see who the real CPC MPS are who are possible contenders when they are not serving solely as Harper’s handmaids/men.

    That is my first take on who the next CPC leader should be, I know, not very decisive, but I have said why I’m not lining up with any at the moment and I believe that line of reasoning to have merit.

    • Ron says:

      Harper is still an MP and where else would he sit other than the opposition front bench ?

      As long as he is there, the CPC won’t win no matter how much lipstick they apply.

  35. Dork in East York says:

    Michael Chong on paper would be the best. But his maverick, independent streak has won him no favours in the party.

    He hasn’t held a cabinet post since 2006. That says it all.

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