, 02.05.2022 12:43 PM

My latest: the Tories head for the ditch


Because, when you strip away all of the finery and the rhetoric, that is always the prime objective in democratic politics. Winning.

Winning, so that you get power. And when you have power, you have the ability to get things done. And that’s when you can turn your ideas into reality — when, one hopes, you can better people’s lives, and create a better future for all.

That’s what it’s all about: Winning. Simple.

To win in Canada, you need to attract the support of a majority. That’s how it is in any democracy. Majority rules.

So, these are the things we know about the Canadian majority — things that have been irrefutably, indisputably, inarguably shown to be true in election after election after election. Six things.

One: The majority in Canada dislike extremism. When given the choice, Canadian voters will always favor the middle path, between the extremes on the Left and the Right. That may be a bit less exciting, but that’s where you will always find them: in the unexciting middle.

Two: The majority of voters in this country don’t like ideology at the expense of common sense. Unlike America, where bumper-sticker politics increasingly dominates, Canadian voters still prefer moderation. And they intensely dislike doctrinaire ideologues and polemicists.

Three: The majority of Canadians do not hate government. During the pandemic, they have accepted the notion that no other entity — not the private sector, not organized labor, not wealthy individuals — can acquire vaccines and PPE better than governments, or organize society to survive a deadly global pandemic. God knows the governments are imperfect, but Canadians just don’t object to government in the way that Americans do. The results are shown in our respective COVID body counts.

Four: The majority of voters in this country are not fussed about social issues. Not anymore. After same-sex marriages happened, after women won the right to control their own bodies, voters noted that society did not collapse. We did not descend into anarchy. Life went on.

Five: The Canadian majority favors tolerance and diversity — for the simple reason that we are now a much more diverse country. We are no longer the white, Anglo-Saxon redoubt that we were mere decades ago. The majority of Canadians prefer political leaders who are like them — diverse, and favoring diversity.

Sixth and final point: The majority of Canadian voters will always vote for the common good over dominance by the rich and powerful. They do not venerate billionaires in the way that Americans do. They believe in the wisdom and the durability of everyday people, not mega-rich blowhards who have never had to worry about paying the rent or mortgage.

Now, some of you may not like what the majority prefers. That’s fine. In a democracy, nobody wins every argument.

But if you’re a sentient being, you know that it’s the truth. You know what the reality is in Canadian politics, too. The majority rules, and the majority favor driving in the middle of the road, not in the ditches. You don’t get far when you’re in the ditch.

You also know where I’m going with all this, so some of you are already readying yourselves to say the predictable stuff: That Conservatives shouldn’t ever listen to Jean Chretien‘s former special assistant. That, if we get a real conservative as leader, we’ll win.

Listen to me or don’t. That’s up to you. But I’m actually motivated by the same thing you are: We both believe Canadian democracy needs the Conservative Party of Canada to get its damn act together. Here’s why.

At the present time, our federal government is led by a man who has engaged in casual corruption, more than once. We are led by a man who has repeatedly engaged in parlor-room racism. A man who professes to be a feminist, and then was credibly accused of sexual assault, by a victim whose allegations have never been refuted. Any one of those things is disqualifying, to me.

This writer may have worked on many Liberal campaigns in the past, but I believe that the Trudeau Liberal Party is tired and old and venal. They need some time in opposition to reform and renew. Desperately.

That won’t ever happen until the Conservative Party gets its act together. And that particularly won’t happen if the Conservative Party continues to embrace leaders and policies who are opposed by the majority of Canadians.

And that won’t happen as long as Conservatives put hard-right ideology ahead of winning elections, either.

Because, you know, there’s a name for those who favor ideology over anything else. Those who prefer purity over compromise. Those who favor confrontation over consensus.

We call them losers.


  1. PJH says:

    I often send your columns to my SoCon Con MP,(who is fine fellow, and the best MP my riding has ever had) with the heading “suggested reading”. I am going to send this column to him under the heading “required reading”…You speak the truth…..Thank-you.

  2. Fact Check says:

    “To win in Canada, you need to attract the support of a majority.”

    Not true: the last two federal elections prove otherwise.

    • Sean says:

      Actually – technically speaking – I believe there have only been two elections in the last 70 years or so in which one party achieved the majority of votes… and both were for middle of the road conservatives – Mulroney and Diefenbaker.

      The last two elections are even more instructive – you don’t even need a plurality to win in this country.

      In Canada, 33% of the votes, sprinkled in just the right places = 110% of the power.

      • Phil in London says:

        Further to the numbers – the only winner to cross the 40% threshold since Mulroney was Jean Chretien who managed the feat twice. The last two majorities of Harper and the child prince were just under that number.

        This is exactly what makes the Conservative party so frustratingly inept.

        They don’t even understand that they won the last two elections if you go by popular vote.

        They lost because too many party members spent most of the last two elections already fighting over whether to build a guillotine or a gallows to dispose of their leader.

        We always hear about Red Tories, I come from a long line of what I am going to call Blue Liberals.

        Red Tories and Blue Liberals simply must find enough common ground to unite under the middle ground party of Canada. The logo needs to be predominantly beige and feature blue water on one side and a red maple leaf on the other side of an evenly balanced scale.

        This would be the party that Joe Clark, Bill Davis, John Manley and Paul Martin (the finance minister not the prime minister) could support.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Bingo. We remain right of centre and we’re at least competitive to win next time. If we choose the right crossover type of leader, we’ll likely win. But that decision rests in the hearts of the membership and our elected representatives. We can choose to blow it, even before getting out of the gate, or we can choose to focus like a laser beam on only one thing: W-I-N-N-I-N-G! It’s your choice.

  4. whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    If the Laurentian elites think the yahoos are mad now, just wait a few months. The mad yahoos will multiply like tribbles.

    Persistent secular inflation is here. The Trudeau government and the Bank of Canada have already blown their wad ($500 billion) and cannot do it again.

    Inflation will crush and middle and working classes, and will balloon the cost of obligations to the poor, to the aged, and to the health care system.

    ESG and Green New Deal is inflationary. Deglobalization and the nearshoring, reshoring of manufacturing from China is inflationary. The cold-medium-hot war with Russia and China will be inflationary.

    The times-they-are-a-changin.

    Trudeau has been sowing division since he entered politics. Neo-liberal internationalist Freeland and the green central banker Carney are not really viable alternatives to the blackface groper Dauphin when ordinary people are being crushed by inflation.

    Things are going to get much worse before they get better. We are beyond mere political strategy. The old rules and assumptions do not apply.

    Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
    Going to the candidates debate
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    When you’ve got to choose
    Every way you look at this, you lose

    Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio…er…Bobby Orr?

    • PJH says:

      It comes down to three cities, Toronto, Montreal, and to a lesser extent Vancouver…..if you think the urban voter is going to come out in the streets with torches, pitchforks and hay rakes in protest, I have some swampland to sell you, cheap….It may not be fair, but it is the reality…..

      • The Doctor says:

        That’s the thing — in the US, the Republicans have the structural advantages because of where their supporters are and the way the US electoral and political system is set up – notably the electoral college, the Senate and state governorships (which determine the right to draw districts).

        In Canada it’s totally the opposite — the Liberal vote is much more efficiently distributed and this has been the case going back at least as far as the days of Pierre Trudeau.

        • PJH says:

          True indeed, but I am also old enough to remember that major urban ridings, like Vancouver Centre,,,,,were Tory Blue for 13 years….Under moderate Progressive Conservative Prime Ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Traditionally a Liberal seat, the Liberal successor to MP Hedy Fry will have to pry it from her cold dead hands. I digress, we have had success in major urban centres in the past, but if we elect the likes of Pierre Poilievre as Leader, a Conservative running in major urban ridings chances of winning will be slim and none…..

      • Derek Pearce says:

        Ok fine so quit the whining and get down to brass tacks: Conservatives need to win 38-39% of the votes to win. Why again are they pissing around not going about that? Ohhhh right, because they don’t have any coherent strategy to win, they’re just waiting waiting waiting for Canadians to exhaust themselves of the Liberals. Awesome strategy, very clutch.

  5. Derek Pearce says:

    Well said WK. Sigh,I can just picture the election advertising the Liberals will run in the next campaign. (Because I also believe the trucker clusterfuck is sadly going to end in violence.)

    “Pierre Poilievre– he stood with the anti-science, anti-healthcare worker convoy. He’s out of touch with Canadians. He cares more about his own fundraising than your health. Paid for by the Liberal Party of Canada.”

    • PJH says:

      Spot on…I have warned my Con MP (closet supporter of the “Freedom Convoy”) that the Liberal attack ads are writing themselves as we speak…..He seems unconcerned….He thinks himself invincible….what he doesnt realize that my riding is a swing riding, and with the right candidate, and a strong campaign….my riding could just as easily go NDP or Liberal, and he’ll be out on his ass…..Pride goeth before the fall as they say….

  6. Sean says:

    I’ve got no problem with Candice Bergen as long as her introduction of the new leader is the last f%&king thing we ever hear from her.

  7. Sean says:

    The new Conservative Leader must take a very diplomatic and nuanced approach to the fake trucker riot / occupation…. Such as “GO THE FUCK HOME AND GET YOUR GD SHOT AND STFU ALREADY!!!”

  8. I don’t think the current Conservative Party is that concerned with trying to broaden their appeal. I think they will double down and hope that enough people get so pissed off at the Liberal regime that the electorate will decide to vote Justin (or his successor) out of office. I watched it happen with David Miller in Toronto when Rob Ford got elected. Don’t forget, we almost got Patrick Brown here in Ontario when people had their fill of Kathleen Wynne. As Thucydides said “Men naturally despise those who court them, but respect those who do not give way to them”. The current protests seem to be gathering steam, not the other way around. The next election could be another Liberal romp, or it could be a watershed moment for the nation. We shall see.

  9. Gilbert says:

    The key to victory is simple. Do we want government in every aspect of our lives or not? Do we want a social credit rating, climate lockdowns and massive censorship? Do we want a PM who is a globalist puppet? If the answer is no, don’t vote Liberal.

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Pierre is in. Well, that didn’t take long. Black must be doing cartwheels.

    • Douglas W says:

      Sensing a coronation.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        Could be. IMHO, the only way to avoid that is for other potential candidates to get in fast — otherwise they risk being labelled as the new Ms. & Mr. Dithers by the Poilièvre campaign.

    • Sean says:

      There is no hope at all that Poilievre would even do as well as Scheer or O’Toole and he would obviously drive the party further into the ground.

      He will forever be branded with the fake trucker riots. The attack ads are already in the can and his leadership will probably move 30-50 seats to the Liberals.

      I think he’s a fabulous opposition M.P. when it comes to serious issues. But that is the apex of his career. He’s not a broad tent / builder type of guy.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        You could be right but to me it’s way beyond interesting how Freeland tops Trudeau by 7% in the NANOS poll. Take Trudeau out of the mix and put a new unproven CPC leader up against an unproven LPC leader and then life potentially gets interesting.

      • Douglas W says:


        The response to attack ads is easy.

        Conservatives counter with effective attack ads.

        Fight fire with fire.

        PMJT has given Conservatives plenty of material to work with.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      I won’t be shitting on any of the actual or potential candidates but here’s my question for Pierre: how do you square your strong support for truckers while at the same time respecting the wishes of the good people of Carleton? I can seriously envision a scenario where he goes full bore behind the truckers and then much to his astonishment, loses his seat in the next election. Not a risk I’d want to take. Might be a good idea for him to put his Ottawa-area constituents’ wishes in the driver’s seat, rather than those of the truckers.

      • Sean says:

        ROD… Supporting the racist riots happening in Ottawa has nothing to do with supporting the clear majority of hard working truckers who have already got their shots and are busy providing groceries to Canadians right now.

        If Poilievre wants to support truckers and bue collar Canadians, he should tell the racist rioters in Ottawa to STFU and go home… and that they have no place in a valid political party. He won’t do that because his campaign is all about scamming people out of donations for a failed / broken cause.

      • PJH says:

        Quite frankly, I dont think he is politically astute enough to do that….remember, he’s the fellow that made these comments on the eve of Mr. Harper delivering a formal public apology to residential school victims…Poilievre had come under heavy criticism for telling CFRA News Talk Radio that he wasn’t sure Canada was “getting value for all of this money” being spent to compensate former students of federally financed residential schools.

        “My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self-reliance. That’s the solution in the long run — more money will not solve it,” Poilievre said.

        To his credit, he did apologize, but in the words of the late, great Maya Angelou…..“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

  11. Phil in London says:

    Right again WK.

    Conservatives should really understand this formula – unite + moderate = win. It’s about as obvious as should you get a vaccine against Covid?

    If you look at it through the same lens, it’s a principle thing. “I’ll be damned if any government will tell me to get a shot” is kind of like “I will be damned if any electorate is going to tell me what they’ll support.

    Maybe we should admire conservatives for putting principles ahead of success.

    Just look at the NDP – so full of principle they have never formed a federal government. Never realized before but ironically it could be argued they were the New Democratic PartieS until they became so principled they could never support a conservative minority of any kind over providing shoe shines for liberal ministers.

    The liberal party is a cesspool but it’s not ideologically bound to any principles that enough of us object to.

  12. Phil in London says:

    I forgot to point out the headline is about the only thing not accurate in your assessment, the conservatives are not headed for the ditch, they are in the ditch, buried up to the axles and they only seem to think spinning the tires more and more will somehow help

  13. Robert White says:

    Cons are always in the ditch with a busted axel & four flat tires due to their collective arrogance as ideologues of fiscal prudence when none can be found throughout all OECD nations.

    The old cannard of ‘balanced budgets’ was their only selling feature for the masses of fiscally conservative Canadians. And now that Canadians will never see a ‘balanced budget’ ever again in their collective lifetimes the Cons have to find a new method of bringing in the sheep aside from singing the song.

    Poilievere is an excellent finance opposition critic and that the only selling feature the party has to rally around given that structural inflation is an issue for all Canadians no matter their wealth accumulation to date.

    I’m most upset at Jagmeet Singh for little in the way of opposition criticism of Trudeau & Freeland. Both Trudeau & Freeland have introduced far too much inflation via not managing our housing stock efficiently whilst buyers compete against Hedge Funds for market share and prices get bid up via blind bidding.

    Poilievre has the smarts to do the job so that all know that he instills confidence in all that follow him as Finance Critic as shaddow governance.

    Freeland is by no means a good Fin Min so that a loss for the Liberals is going to be an assured win for Canadians.

    Poilievre will give the Cons a boost in numbers. And the Liberals know he is going to be their prime opposition target as does the NDP as well.

    Most days I get the impression that the Cons are just marking time and throwing whatever at the wall to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

    This always reminds me of the movie The Odd Couple where Oscar Maddison throws linguini at the wall in the kitchen as Felix drives him nuts as his room mate always cooking & cleaning.

    Bottom line is that the Cons have too much baggage for majority interests. Canadians also know that Freeland has introduced far too much inflation via BofC printing.

    Mangement now has to be all things to all Canadians which is a tall order to fill for any party or politician.


    • Phil in London says:

      well said, and coming from someone that all too often disagrees with you.

      As for Jagmeet Singh disappointing you, there is only one Jack Layton and he himself did not ever influence a standing government THROUGH a mandate.

      The NDP to the left is what the Conservative party is tripping itself to be on the right, an unelectable conscience to government. The NDP has just gotten it right more often.

      Currently, the NDP is not the opposition, it is the liberal farm team. Hoping the odd call-up can play a role in a big game.

      Singh was the true loser in the last election but fortunately the members building his guillotine are working at a civil service union pace.

  14. A. Voter says:

    “the Liberal vote is much more efficiently distributed and this has been the case going back at least as far as the days of Pierre Trudeau.”
    We currently have a corrupt, gerry-mandered system of voting. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have one million more people than the Atlantic provinces, but those two western provinces have four less seats than Atlantic Canada. Alberta has two million more people than the Atlantic provinces, but only two more seats. It’s easy for Justin Trudeau to keep power with 33 percent of the vote under this system.

  15. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    I likely won’t be giving this leadership a pass. Why? Because since SNC, I have only one true goal in life: do better. Don’t settle for all our efforts that reduced Trudeau to minorities. Move entities in the universe so that the door hits Trudeau on the backside on his way out of power. HimselfTM can count on me. I’ll be there, along with plenty of others, to show him the door in the next election.

  16. Miles Lunn says:

    #1 and #2 are no brainers and its big reason why we have never had an NDP government federally. Its also why in provinces where successful, they are more centrist, see Horgan & Notley. Yes you can find odd exception like Dave Barrett on left or Mike Harris on right but such governments are far and few and they don’t tend to last long and often damage party brand enough they take years to recover.

    #3 This is probably toughest for Conservatives as Conservatives are about smaller government unlike Liberals and NDP who are for bigger. But they need to learn from successful ones like Mulroney & Harper who yes reduced size of government, but reduced its excesses, not radically downsized it. Canada will not elect our own version of Thatcher or Reagan. Otherwise argue for reducing government back to what it was in 2015, sure. But trying to have our own version of Thatcher or Reagan is a dead end.

    #4 This is obvious and real problem here is groups like RightNow and Wilberforce Project are more about pushing their agenda and use slanted poll numbers to show social conservatism is popular when it is not. Harper was a social conservative at heart, but he stayed far away from such issues as knew they were political suicide.

    #5 50% of Canadians live in the ten largest urban areas. And those tend to be very diverse. Being intolerant won’t just cost you minority voters, it will cost you many WASP voters too since asides from racism being just plain wrong, most white Anglo-Saxon people have immigrant and visible minority friends, neighbours, and co-workers and don’t want to associate with a party that is hostile to them. Its why in US, Trump did poorly amongst suburban whites as they saw his racism as an attack on their fellow colleagues.

    #6 This is probably the least problem for Tories as unlike GOP in US who love to suck up to rich and still play idea if we help rich, it will trickle down; conservatives here have largely avoided this in recent times. That is largely thanks to Chretien’s finance bill that took big money out of politics thus no advantage to this. Sure top marginal rates over 50% in 8 of 10 provinces may be bad economic policy, but asides those impacted, only others who might have a problem with this are some economist, not your joe and jane front porch. As long as high tax rates are on people making significantly more than them and they have no realistic hope of making that kind of income they won’t care.

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