05.16.2016 12:40 PM

Michael Chong

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I’ve met this guy, talked to him, listened to him.  He’s the only Conservative Party leadership candidate who could hurt Justin Trudeau, full stop.

There may be candidates-to-be who could do that, but he’s the only one so far.  Watch this guy.

 

33 Comments

  1. Charlie K says:

    There are two candidates that I, as a Liberal, would consider a possibly formidable opponent for Trudeau in 2019: Lisa Raitt and Michael Chong.

    But here’s why they likely won’t win leadership next year:

    1) The Conservative party base is still very much wrapped up in deep reminiscence of the Harper years and will be drawn to a leader that most closely resembles the previous PM. Jason Kenney is Stephen Harper circa 2005; with all the anger, resentment and socially conservative values, he’s already got a leg up on any of the other candidates barring Peter MacKay or Kevin O’Leary run (which I highly doubt).

    2) The Conservative party is still very much a white-male dominated party both in numerical terms and in mentality; this is going to be a hurtle for both Lisa and Michael, unfortunately. For all the “we need a woman as leader” talk by prominent Conservatives, its possible that the base doesn’t feel as strongly on the matter.

    3) Michael Chong is not considered a team player by other Conservatives. He was an independent thinker as a backbench MP which turned off many Conservatives.

    4) French: its pretty self-explanatory. And going back to point 1, Kenney has a leg another leg up.

    5) Baggage due to being around for so long. Lisa is a former Harper cabinet minister is going to have to answer for a lot. Like how Kellie Leitch is getting raked over the coals for her past actions, Lisa is going to face questions about her past stances on issues like MMIW and climate change.

    6) Do they really even want the leadership? If, hypothetically, Chong wins leadership and goes into 2019 as leader then ends up losing the election and possibly losing a seat or two, will the party base have the patience to keep him on? Increasingly, Canadian politics is becoming a “one shot and done” situation. If you can’t make a tangible net gain your party could want change. Its possible that Chong is doing this for name recognition looking ahead to 2023.

    • ottawacon says:

      I think you are underestimating how catastrophic the 2015 election was for Kenney. He is joined at the hip with the strategy to cultivate support in culturally conservative ethnic communities which utterly collapsed. It simply did not deliver enough support, and then a disastrously poor campaign alienated much of that support in several key communities. Kenney wears the first failing among the traditional base, and some of the blame for the second failing.

      • Charlie K says:

        You know what, you’re absolutely right.

        I know there’s no chance in hell Kenney would ever become PM if he lead the CPC because of the 2015 disaster he was very much a culpable participant of, but I guess I hadn’t considered how disappointed his base would be with failure to deliver.

        But, Jason Kenney is the kind of moron that spends years cultivating a facade to try and woo voters (like minorities) only to spit in their face during an election then go back to these communities looking for support for leadership without grasping the irony. So, theres still a chance that he runs and convinces enough xenophobes to support him if Max Bernier, Michael Chong and Kellie Leitch are the only alternatives.

  2. Cory says:

    I like him too but his carbon tax stance is going to kill him with the base. Conservatives might like the idea of using a carbon tax to lower income taxes but they don’t trust successive governments to not raise income taxes back to where they were.

    IMO only way conservatives would accept a carbon tax from one of their own is to replace the GST with it.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      Had me right up until the carbon tax crap.

      If the CPC, under its new leader, jumps on the climate change bandwagon, I’ll be staying home on election day.

      I choked it back when Harper et al paid lip service to that filthy, corrupt scam.

      No more. Had enough of the Big Lie, full stop.

      Show me a leader with this kind of honesty on climate change, he’s got my vote…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpexAe4rpMI

      Until then, I’m done with all of it, I can’t stomach any more of the bullshit.

    • Charlie K says:

      How exactly would replacing the GST with a carbon tax work? — I’m genuinely asking.

      I think the carbon pricing issue is going to be a good litmus test for where the party sits on the ideological front. The new Manitoba PC government will be introducing some sort of carbon taxing system as indicated by their Throne Speech on Monday; Patrick Brown supports putting a price on carbon; BC also has a carbon levy system.

      So it would be awkward for the federal Conservatives to be out of step with their provincial counterparts.

      • Cory says:

        Both are forms of consumption tax so you just have to ensure that the revenue generated by the carbon tax is reduced on the GST side. I’ll leave it to the wonks to figure out.

        My point however is that the GST/PST/HST is the only tax that politicians are very afraid to raise.

        Many conservatives against a carbon tax because they don’t trust the government to reduce income taxes by the amount the carbon tax raises, or if they do they don’t trust successive govs not to raise income taxes back up. Reducing or replacing the GST however would likely be permanent or longterm.

        Also, I don’t think having provinces bringing in a carbon tax would be awkward for federal conservatives. If anything they could just claim that a federal carbon tax is not necessary since there are provincial ones. And BTW, the PS membership is VERY upset with Patrick Brown for proposing a carbon tax.

        • Charlie K says:

          You make a good point on politicians and the fear of raising taxes; its never really worked out for anyone in Canada.

          But, going back to a carbon tax replacing the GST, I still don’t know how that would work. You’re right in saying they’re both consumption taxes, but the GST is tax on a far, far broader base. A price on carbon would be measured on intrinsic value which could only be properly monitored on larger scale. For a carbon tax replacing the GST to work, it would have to be a flat rate which would essentially defeat the purpose of carbon pricing because it wouldn’t be effective in the sectors it should be intended to. Simply put, renaming the GST a “Carbon Sales Tax” would achieve the exact same thing as replacing it — which leaves us where we started. Similarly, for a carbon tax to be counter balanced with a GST reduction, the carbon tax would have to be so insanely high to compensate for the fluctuation of the revenues generated by GST at different states of our economy.

          Again, I sort of get what you’re saying, fundamentally, but I think the implantation would be unfeasible.

          I understand that some Conservatives might not be comfortable with the idea of a carbon tax but its becoming a political measurement for forward progress on tackling climate issues. I think its very telling that conservatives across Canada have several prominent figures who are in favour of some sort of pricing mechanism. I mean, Brian Pallister didn’t even campaign on carbon pricing but it still showed up in his Throne Speech. I think conservatives (big and small c) are understanding that its not politically viable to be so vehemently opposed to the notion of carbon pricing — especially in today’s political environment. While I do agree with you regarding the possibility of the CPC insisting no need for a federally imposed price on carbon because provincial leadership on the matter. However, if the Liberals implement a pricing system (which they definitely will), it would be counter-intuitive for the Conservatives to campaign to remove something that would 1) put a significant dent in government coffers and 2) appear to be a step backwards in climate issues.

          Purely speculation on my part, as I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of where the CPC base’s thinking is. I do understand elections though and I think if the CPC is looking towards 2019 or even 2023, then the party might need to open up to new ideas.

          • Cory says:

            Well, if JT brings in a carbon pricing scheme, then it becomes a non-issue for the conservatives. Nobody has to promise to bring in it.

            Secondly, I wouldn’t be too certain if JT is going to bring it in. I would imagine that some provinces would challenge it in court as imposing on provincial jurisdiction (Sask, possibly NS, NL and QC on principle), just as AB successfully challenged the NEP in court on similar grounds.

  3. Greyapple says:

    Yup, likeable, moderate, reformist, and principled. It’s not often someone walks away from a Cabinet position on principle. It also gives him suitable distance from the stench of Harper. I’d never consider voting for a Conservative party lead by Jason Kenny or Max Bernier, but I would consider voting for one headed by Chong. He’s a man to watch.

  4. davie says:

    I agree …I think he would be a solid opposition leader and would be a clear, viable choice for a lot of voters.
    Given his private member’s bill to spread power a bit to MP’s, it would be interesting to see what 2 years’ leadership of his caucus would look like.
    He seems to me (and maybe a few others) a politician with integrity. That can be significant plus for any politician. But it can be especially a plus when the Liberals look so much like they are frittering away their image with backroom looking behaviours.

  5. PJH says:

    I’d never heard the man speak before, and he’s left me with a positive first impression……

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Charlie K is bang on re: points 3 and 4. There was no palace revolt to get him back in cabinet. In short, the base was glad to see him go. Waiting for his re-admit card since 2006. A long time. Plus the québécois as a nation is now etched in stone. You simply can’t take that one back.

  7. Dan Calda says:

    No sir…he cannot.
    Never mind the fact that the old boys will never allow it…re team player…

    There is nobody that can hurt Trudeau in the short term…and as the new fires rage…only those that take the climate file seriously….may stand a chance.

  8. cynical says:

    Does he have the cojones to tamp down the redneck/reform element long enough to get elected. For all his faults, Harper kept them under wraps for most of his mandate.
    I like him, which I suspect means he is doomed.

    • Michael Bluth says:

      I suspect whoever wins will tamp down the redneck/reform element.

      It is clear for anyone in the Conservative Party that this element of the party is death in a general election. That was a major component of the losses for the party from 1993 to 2004.

      People don’t have memories that short.

  9. monkey says:

    Definitely the strongest so far and while there may be other possibilities if they are serious about winning or at least winning more seats I would go for him. Yes he may anger some in the base, but I think the party needs to realize the base is a huge turnoff for most Canadians and the more they pander to them the tougher it is to win a general election. The one thing where he could get an upset is every riding is weighted equally and this weakens the base as they are heavily concentrated in Rural Ontario, Prairies, and BC Interior which is where most of the party membership resides but is only a minority of ridings. Also a lot will depend on how many new members he can sign up. That is how Patrick Brown who was a total outsider pulled off the upset of the Ontario PCs and while Brown doesn’t have quite the good qualities he does, it does show an outsider can win. As for him only getting one chance, I think as long as the next leader increases their share of the popular vote and seat count, they would get a second shot and unless he does something stupid like John Tory did with religious schools, there is no reason he cannot do this. For all the talk of the base hating him, the base is loud and noisy, but much smaller than many think they are. In BC, when the BC Liberals chose Christy Clark, many claimed her federal Liberal association would cause much of the party’s base to move over to the BC Conservatives yet that never materialized. If you look at the three centre-right premiers in power now (Christy Clark, Brad Wall, and Brian Pallister) they’ve all generally stayed clear of pandering to the base unlike Harper and it didn’t cost them. In fact Hudak in Ontario and Danielle Smith in Alberta who tried to pander to them lost because of it.

  10. Ed Hominem says:

    Cons will never choose someone not 100% white with the last name Chong.

  11. davie says:

    I read here and there that the Conservatives were smashed in the last election, that they are in trouble, and so on.
    But I think they did well in the last election.
    They had been governing a decade, had a lot of baggage to evade and fib about, people wanted a big change, yet they came up with over 30% of the vote, and elected about 100 MP’s.
    I see the next leader as taking the reins of a party in pretty good shape.

    …plus, they have a few bucks…

    • Kelly says:

      And 30% is as much as they will ever get. They ever only got power because of vote splitting. They are the second choice of hardly anyone and their base doesn’t have any second choices. They really are a fringe party, its just that with our phony electoral system they get more seats than they would otherwise — and thus this country has been damaged by 10 years of moronic policy.

      Happily our electoral system is going to be modernized and then the cons can vote for any leader they want. But if they ever hope to form government again, they will have to moderate their policies and ditch the toxic mix of Ayn Rand and John Wayne.

  12. Maps Onburt says:

    Michelle Rempel. Smart, young, bilingual and photogenic. She and aching and Bernier will make for an interesting race.

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