, 12.02.2019 08:31 AM

Tory war: keeping score

So, back in the good old days, when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Jesus was a little fella, you were given a couple chances to become Prime Minister or Premier. That’s how it was done.

Nowadays, with a news cycle of 10 seconds, and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all that crap helping us to become crazier than usual, people have become more impatient. Political people especially. These days, you don’t get two shots at the big chair anymore. These days, you get one. That’s it.

Sometimes, partisan political people will want to get rid of you even when you’ve won! Seriously. For example, not long after Jean Chretien won a bigger majority in 2000 than he did in 1997 – his third majority in a row! – Paul Martin’s gang decided that they knew better than several million Canadians.

So, they got together at an airport hotel and resolved to remove Jean Chretien from power.

Chretien got back at them, though. He resigned, alright. But he resigned way after he’d been planning to. Take that, Team Juggernaut.

Anyway. Andrew Scheer is no Jean Chretien, but he is facing a similar problem. Even though he got more of the popular vote, even though he has representation in every part of Canada – unlike all the other party leaders – and even though he got the best result an opposition party has gotten, ever…well, lots of Harper and Bernier people are in the media saying they want him out. You can’t pick up a paper without one of them complaining about Andrew Scheer, who apparently is the anti-Christ now.

One of them, this week, even cited Scheer’s weight as a reason why he lost. I’m not making this up. This Ottawa area candidate – who lost, surprise surprise, and was last seen making videos with the She-wolf of the Clueless, Faith Goldy – said that Scheer needs to lose some weight if he wants to win.

Anyway. That’s how bad it is in the Conservative Party, now. They’ve lost their minds, basically. And they’ve returned to their proud tradition of resembling a circular firing squad.

Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, is maintaining what Brian Mulroney used to call “a courageous silence.” That is, he remembers what Napoleon (or one of those guys) said: when your opponent is destroying himself, don’t interrupt him.

There’s some things that Andrew Scheer and his at loyalists can do, but aren’t doing. They worked for us during Martin‘s attempted coup against a popular sitting Prime Minister, the aforementioned Chretien. I offer them as talking points, free of charge.

One: the judgement of several million Canadians should matter a lot more than that of a few backroom folks and bitter defeated candidates. That’s what I used to say back in the early 2000‘s – that more than 5 million people had voted for Jean Chretien, and they get the final word, in our system of government.

Number two: civil wars only benefit your opponent. In this case, Justin Trudeau.

Get out the smelling salts: I like the minority Justin Trudeau way more than the majority Justin Trudeau. He’s been showing a lot of maturity and restraint post-election. His Conservative opponents, meanwhile, are showing neither restraint nor maturity.

Minority Trudeau is a very very different guy than he used to be – or at least he’s portraying a different guy very well. Right now, the conservatives – whether they are for Scheer or against Scheer – are persuading lots and lots of people Trudeau and his Liberals are the better option. To wit: the Tories have magically transformed the Grit leader into a Prime Minister presiding over what is effectively a majority government. That’s hard to do, but they’ve done it.

Three: there are rules. For example, every party has a constitution. Every party provides for leadership reviews. In this case, Scheer is facing one in Toronto in just over four months. The chances of him resigning before that review takes place seem to be somewhere between slim and none.

So why don’t his critics work on recruiting an alternative, and work on winning that review in April? They’re not doing that. They’re just giving lots of interviews, to the media, who are lapping it up.  The media always prefer conservative car crashes to conservative happy endings.

Four, back when Martin‘s minions were attempting to drive Jean Chretien out, there was a certain brutal logic to it all. I hate to admit it, but there was.

That is, they were doing it for a reason we all understood: to install Paul Martin in power.

The Martinis at least had an alternative. In the conservative’s case, in the year 2019, it’s not clear who is the alternative to Andrew Scheer. Is it Erin O’Toole? Is it Peter MacKay? Is Rona Ambrose? Who is it?

Scheer’s loyalists are entitled to ask that question: namely, if our guy isn’t good enough, who do you have who would do better? No one‘s had the guts to step forward yet. Perhaps there that’s because they know you don’t ever want to be the one who kills the leader. You want to be the one who replaces the guy who killed the leader.

Five, follow the money. That’ll tell you who is behind this, and that will explain a lot of their motivation. The very people attacking Scheer in the media are the same people who would be kissing his ass if 15 Liberal seats are gone the other way.

That’s it. Fifteen seats. If the Tories had stolen away 15 seats from the Liberals, they would’ve won both the popular vote and the seat count. And Andrew Scheer would be perhaps having tea with the Governor General, talking about the government he intended to form. Fifteen seats.

Politics is crazy.

Anyway, what do I know. I merely worked for Jean Chretien, who won three majorities in a row, and Dalton McGuinty, who won three big election victories in a row. And I last year got to volunteer for that John Tory guy, who won with 70 per cent of the vote in Canada’s largest city. Oh, and I oversaw a mean, nasty campaign against  Maxime Bernier (who lost his seat), and his racist People’s Party (which didn’t win a single seat). What do I know.

So, keep doing what you’re doing, Tories.

Justin Trudeau thanks you.


  1. Greg Marshall says:

    Well said! And by the way,
    your work against Max deserves at least an Order of Canada, Mr. Kinsella, regardless of who paid for it. It was a public service.

  2. A. Voter says:

    Scheer has a few months to tie Trudeau in knots in a minority government. I doubt Scheer has the skill or intelligence to achieve anything. If he had political skills, all those BQ seats would have been Conservative seats and he’d be PM.

  3. Laura Silvers says:

    Not a chance. Quebec are separatists, nothing more. They have no desire to be a part of Canada…. all they want is the $$ from the western provinces – nothing more.

  4. Mary Timmer says:

    Thank you, Mr. Kinsella . . . All excellent points, in my opinion.

    And also, want to let you know you have had my support throughout all of the bs. Cheers!

  5. the real Sean says:

    SH 2004 and DM 2000 were in almost exactly the same situation.

    step 1 – pull the shit out of the grass roots vote and crush the hell out of the leadership review.

    step 2 – put the party on permanent election readiness footing. A prince should spend most of his time thinking about warfare. Keep the troops focused on the common enemy.

  6. Bonnie Turner says:

    Great. If you get a chance or curious could you read my column The Courier Press, columnist Bonnie Turner. I am an unpaid small town person who enjoys depressingly my view.

  7. It all boils down to a medium to long term bet: which is the most effective way for Conservatives to defeat Trudeau? Conventional political wisdom says keep Scheer and roll the dice. (That’s often right.) Thinking out-of- the-box says bring in a stronger leader, by means of a draft, and attempt to clean Trudeau’s clock. My money is on Option 2 with an Ambrose Draft.

    Like several in the PMO have admitted, they’d much rather have Rona sitting in the embassy in Washington, D.C. than facing Justin in the next campaign. Pretty much says it all, in my book.

    • Robert White says:

      Ambrose is an avowed Rand acolyte. Read her Wikipedia page.


      • Robert,

        So is Alan Greenspan. (Is that good or bad?)

        • Robert White says:

          I was raised by a CA tax man that was a Government of Canada Civil Servant. Ayn Rand & Dr. Greenspan did not believe in my father or the government he worked for. If we allowed Rand to have her way there would be no tax man. Heck, they would do away with government too.

          Libertarians don’t want to pay tax. They collectively dislike government.

          I like taxation & government.


        • The Doctor says:

          So is the rock band Rush. Is that good or bad? Well, on the “good” side, it gave us the album 2112 . . .

        • Martin says:

          Well, you know how the CBC will play it.

    • lyn says:

      R.O’D: If asked I believe Rona Ambrose would turn it down. Unless she thinks there could be a Western Separation then I believe she will run for the Conservative Party to keep Canada and the party together.

  8. robert duckham says:

    A wise political philosopher once said that you can’t beat someone with no one. This is the one key thing that the anti sheerites have forgotten. And they will pay dearly for that!

    • Robert,

      Respectfully, I somehow doubt that Kory, Jenni, et al. are quaking in their winter boots.

      • robert duckham says:

        Until you put a face to the discontent its all just a blob of amorphous crap. You can’t go into a review and expect to win it on the day. This is something that needs a lot of leg work to successfully pull off. Until someone has the cojones (loosely translated as guts) to get out front and LEAD Scheer will win. And the longer it takes for someone to throw his or her hat into the ring, the more likely Scheer will win.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:


          Logical. Refusing a shadow cabinet job is not enough. As you’ve said, you really have to put up, or shut up.

          But this is probably already doomed if most of the party membership’s mindset is that Scheer can win next time. My contention is that he’ll never beat Justin Trudeau. Maybe I’m full of shit but I don’t think so.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:


            I had forgotten the reaction to Belinda becoming a Martin Liberal. She had gone to a CPC event, in her riding, the day before her transformation and was as cool as a cucumber.

          • robert duckham says:

            If he couldn’t beat Trudeau with all the problems he had prior to and during the election he won’t beat him after hes had the chance to remake himself, whit the help of disaffected conservatives.

  9. Steve T says:

    The alleged “dissent” within the Tory caucus is a small spark at most. The media are desperately trying to pour fuel on that spark in the hopes it will ignite a massive pyre. That is what they do best – provoke people into fighting. As the saying goes, that’s what sells newspapers (or acts as click-bait, these days).
    The most boring news in the world would be “everything is OK today”. That causes fewer clicks, so the media groups need to stoke some dissent, whether real or fictional.
    Just like with Mr. Trump, the media realizes that if you say something often enough, a portion of the population will take it as truth – even if it is actually complete baloney.

    • The Doctor says:

      Those are some pretty senior Tories that have come out publicly against Scheer. I really don’t think this is some media-created mirage.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:


      What really counts is how much of the membership is riled up: some social Conservatives are, as are some economic Conservatives. But how many is that? Who knows for sure.

  10. Gilbert says:

    Mr. Scheer had a weak NDP that didn’t take too many votes from the Liberals, a very good research team for the Liberals (American citizenship), an unfriendly media and the PPC. He didn’t win, but he came close. I say he deserves a second chance.

    • Chris says:

      All true but I don’t see how Sheer can gain any more seats in Golden Horseshoe or Quebec. At best he might gain 1 or 2 Manitoba seats, and maybe another 3 or 4 in Atlantic Canada.

      The math just isn’t there. Sheer is a poor communicator, pours gasoline on every contentious issue and question put to him, has very weak French-language skills, and has been written-off in the seat-rich parts of the country.

      He should bow out gracefully, and seek to become a senior figure in a future Tory government, like Joe Clark did in Brian Mulroney’s Cabinet.

  11. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    What’s key here is pretty much every CPC member and his or her dog was positively scared shitless of Harper back in the day (2005).

    How many of those same party members are sweating bullets over taking on Scheer? Not too many, I’ll wager.

    • the real Sean says:


      There were almost weekly public demands for SH’s resignation leading right up to the drop of the writ in 2005. Remember Belindagate? It was impossible for someone to lose Belinda and continue on as the leader! Cooked. Dead man walking. Deceased. Bereft of life…;) The media dumping all over him for always trying to bring down the Government. He was seen as a madman searching for his own destruction. Then surprise, surprise he’s up by 5 points mid campaign and no one remembers a damn thing that happened before that.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:


        I distinctly remember the Jamieson cabal cause I was part of that effort. But Plett kept most of the party in line. At least that’s my recollection. Everyone in the Quebec party establishment told me I was fucking crazy to take on Harper.

        Belinda’s candidacy was another matter. Sure, most Quebec CPCs lined up behind her, including moi, but Harper already had it in the bag by a country mile.

  12. Douglas W says:

    Albany Club doesn’t want Sheer around. Which means, Sheer is a goner.

  13. PJH says:

    Where’s a Dalton Camp or a George Hees when you need one?….

  14. As long as Mr. Scheer keeps his nerve, he will be fine. The leadership review in April will decide his future. I fail to see what all of the public bellyaching by so called Conservatives (especially those who can’t wait to go on live nation wide television) will accomplish, other than providing the appearance of amateur hour at party HQ. Hardly a way to inspire confidence in the electorate.

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