, 09.21.2021 10:59 AM

My latest: ten reasons on the morning after

What happened?

Erin O’Toole looked like he was doing good. Justin Trudeau looked like he was doing badly.

What went wrong?

Well, as a public service, Yours Screwly put together a few random, linkless thoughts.

There are 10. Here they are:

1) As I opined in these pages mid-campaign, the assault weapon thing hurt O’Toole. It was in his platform, and it was therefore pretty hard to erase. When the Conservative leader realized it would hurt him with urban women, he tried to execute a pivot, but it was too little, too late. The assault weapon thing hurt him.

2) The unvaccinated candidates issue hurt O’Toole, too. Why? Well, the pandemic is the biggest economic, cultural and political event of our lifetimes. Eighty per cent of Canadians favour vaccines, masks and tough rules. O’Toole was offside on vaccines. People noticed.

3) But — if you are fair — you have to admit O’Toole otherwise ran a good campaign. He came across as decent and relatively centrist. He was positive, he wasn’t angry. The fact that he couldn’t improve his seat count means something important.

4) And what it means is this: There isn’t a Liberal media conspiracy. There isn’t even a political Liberal conspiracy. But there are Liberal voters in Canada — lots of them. As it becomes much more urban and diverse, Canada is much more Liberal. That presents a structural problem for the Tories.

5) A lot of Tories will think the solution to that is changing their leadership, yet again. But that’s superficial. That’s stupid and knee-jerk. That’s what they always do, and it never really works, does it? Their problems go a lot deeper than that, Virginia.

6) Consider this: Justin Trudeau was accused of groping a woman. He indulged in racist tropes, many times. As prime minister, he obstructed justice and leads a deeply corrupt administration. But he still clings to power. How?

7) The fact that a corrupt, allegedly groping, parlour-room racist could win again says more about us than it does about him. It says the country’s attachment to the Liberal brand is real and deep. It says Canadians are usually going to give Liberals (and a celebrity Liberal leader) the benefit of the doubt.

8) Lots of folks are saying that the election was about nothing. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. It confirmed something pretty big: The country has changed. And if you want to defeat Liberals, you need to change, too, Conservatives.

9) That means making no mistakes, at all. That means campaigns that are micro, not macro — fight in regions, inch by inch. That means getting life-and-death issues — guns, vaccines — right the first time. That means having the very best candidates and the very best policies and the very best strategy.

10) But here’s a final thought, folks: The sun is up, where I am. The birds are chirping. Prime ministers come and go, but the country always goes on. And it’s a pretty great country, Justin Trudeau notwithstanding. If you want to change it, do that. There’s no time like the present.

Yours sincerely,

Warren

— Warren Kinsella was Jean Chretien’s Special Assistant

76 Comments

  1. I would add this: we live in a democracy where most voters are not close to being well informed — no matter how they vote — and that gets you what it gets you. If a majority, or even a plurality, knew most of the ins and outs of the Liberal government’s mismanagement and corruption, they would have been toast. But most Canadians are no to low attention voters and that means this Prime Minister gets a pass, as much as he doesn’t deserve it. Yup, life goes on and yup, let’s get him where he lives politically in the next election.

    • Susan McDowell says:

      you are correct – a good lot of voters are not informed – they do not know the issues and are unaware of the history (in this case the Liberal party and Trudeau) – they think they are Liberal for whatever reason and so vote accordingly every time – Trudeau and the Liberals are depending on this type of voter and they get it – the Conservatives need to get their record and message out in a more consistent and strategic way

      • Gary says:

        I live in Alberta where if a fencepost is painted blue, Albertans will vote for it. My local do-nothing MP got elected for the fifth straight election. He will now disappear until the next vote as he has every time before. Low information, vote by wrote voters cut both ways!

    • Wayne says:

      That is where the 5th estate should be coming in, reporting the good and bad of all parties to inform the people. But year after year, we see the one sided bias. The party they like does something bad, it will get a day or two of coverage at most. The party they dislike, we will hear about it for months. This is portrayed as balanced reporting. People seam to have a short attention span. Just give just the facts, put your bias (which can be very hard for some) on hold, and report the news.

    • WestcoastJim says:

      What an ill-informed comment. If a voter disagrees with your opinion they are not well informed. Ridiculous.

      The media focused huge amounts of attention on the so-called “Scandals” and the well informed Canadian voter gave them the back of their hand which they deserved. I hope that you never live in a country with real scandal and corruption because you will be in for a terrible shock.

      By the way O’Toole’s friends Kenney and Moe in Alberta and Saskatchewan are killing people across Western Canada. O’Toole refused to acknowledge that or even answer questions on it. Why don’t you concentrate on a real scandal that is leading to thousands of Canadians suffering illness and death?

  2. Mike H says:

    First if all, thank you Warren. I know you don’t do this as a public service. But getting the perspective of someone who operated political war rooms is always is insightful for an average voter like me. Especially during an election.

    Question if I may…

    Someone suggested to me, that we compare this election to the 2008 election called by Stephen Harper.

    In 2008, Harper called an election just two years after winning a minority government.

    He ended up with another (though slightly stronger) minority. Sounds familiar…

    We are in a historic time with the pandemic. Relative to 2008 at least, this election seem to make (slightly?) more sense – giving us a chance to have a say on the path out of the pandemic.

    In that context, the 2008 election seemed more “unnecessary” …but people didn’t seem to care back then.

    Two questions. What’s your take on comparing elections of 2008 to 2021? And do you think the opposition spent too much time focusing on the necessity of this election, which was a good sound bite, but perhaps not something that truly resonated with people?

  3. Nick M. says:

    This campaign was a re-structuring campaign for the Conservative to re-brand themselves for the future. And by that metric O’Toole succeeded.

    30 years of a constant barrage from opposition parties has engraved unflattering image of the Conservative party into many young and Women voters.

    For O’Toole it was to stop being the party with a grievance, and be a positive party.

    Talk to any Torontonian a year ago, when they think of a Conservative, they think of Racist, bigot, religious zealot. Even though generally untrue.

    O’Toole has worked to change that narrative. He has disarmed the progressive parties from labeling the Conservatives as wrong on Climate change, wrong on indigenous issues, being the party of the rich, etc.

    He failed on guns, and on vaccinations. But holy cow, he has disarmed most of the common attacks on Conservatives. The Conservatice membership shouldn’t be upset.

    • Miles Lunn says:

      Exactly. The negative brand image you don’t change overnight. Point is O’Toole is starting to do it and needs more time to complete the task. You don’t dig yourself out of a hole like that easily.

      • Miles,

        We all remember how well Harper did in 2004. And he got another kick at the can two years later. That might be how it goes for Erin as well. Caucus will have its say and then we’ll find out which way the wind is blowing.

        • WestcoasJim says:

          However Harper didn’t lie about the platform (assault weapons), ignore the party members electoral choice (environmental issues), make up the party platform on the fly (pro-choice), or stab the social conservatives in the back who elected him leader (Leslyn Lewis). It is these issues that will cause O’Toole grief given the electoral result.

        • WestcoastJim says:

          In 2004 Harper increased the number of Conservative seats from 72 to 99 – an increase of almost 30% . O’Toole lost 2 seats. The is a pretty significant difference.

    • I don’t agree. Mr. O’Toole asked the supporters of the Party to go along with a platform that was an anathema to many of them. The bargain was that he would win. Well, he lost. I don’t think he will be able to convince the majority of the membership to continue to support him as leader. But, they may decide to give him another chance. As Warren said, people had a chance to choose between Mr. O’Toole and Mr. Trudeau, and the choice was Mr. Trudeau. I don’t see why that will change in the future.

      • Ronald O'Dowd says:

        ER,

        Frankly, the choice is between O’Toole and O’Tooleish. Remember, we led this campaign for several weeks until they botched assault-style weapons and candidates’ vaccination. I think most of the party knows that Harper or Harperish couldn’t beat Trudeau in a month of Sundays. That’s the sad but stark reality for members in 2021. It’s either moderate or stay in opposition for at least another decade at minimum.

        • Phil in London says:

          Mr O’Dowd, In advance I apologize for I am going to be critical. It is nothing personal I am only responding to your comments.

          Like the current prime minister, members of the conservative community need to remember the election was not about Stephen Harper.

          It is simply not accurate to cast such dispersions on the western movement starting with Reform Party, that became the Canadian Alliance and later succeeded in reconciling with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

          I don’t deny that the western rebellion prolonged the agony for conservatives in Ontario who watched three successive elections where right of center voters split the vote and rewarded liberals.

          Feel free to say what you wish about Harper but without HIS leadership the conservative community would have continued that phenomenon of vote split TO THIS DAY.

          When a couple separates and reconciles it serves no one in the long run if the aggrieved party keeps dredging up the past indiscretions.

          TO BOTH Reform based wester conservatives and other more Progressive Conservatives, please remember Mulroney did great and not so great things, on the whole left the country a little better, just like Chretien did and just like Harper did. Western Conservatives, Ontario/Quebec Conservatives and Eastern Conservatives are not worth a warm piss without each other.

          GET OVER STEPHEN HARPER FOR FUCK’s SAKE and find ways to unite to remain a viable opponent to the liberals or get ready for the liberal dynasty to continue even if they run a broken popsicle stick as leader.

          Conservatives don’t need to rub each others face in previous piles of shit, they need to find the best smelling piece of shit and clean it up.

          • Phil,

            I hope you have the answer that escapes me. I can pontificate all I want about how the party should present policy in future elections. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. I don’t bring up Harper to shit on him. It’s only to illustrate the point as regards different philosophies held by a wide-range of CPC members. My contention is that the track we went down in 2015 effectively removed us from power. Again, I could be wrong, I could be right. Harper, to his credit, took immediate responsibility for the loss. So, after my longwinded paragraph, I return to the nexus of the problem: what are we supposed to be in the next campaign to be at minimum, thoroughly competitive or better yet, with the odds likely in our favour as the campaign gets underway?

            The problem as I see it is that most members not only do not agree but lots don’t want to agree. There are too bad camps: one says keep it like now or we lose and the other says go back to being more right-wing. I for one, have no idea how to effective reconcile both of those points of view. If you do, I’m all eyes. Thanks.

        • Nick M. says:

          I am gonna use your last few sentences on a future date. Thats nobel poetry.

          It’s not just moderating, but presenting Conservatism as being positive.

          Here is the problem:
          On progressivism, the Left Says vote for me because big government is way forward.
          The Right says dont vote for the left, they think big government is the path forward.

          The Conservitism, the right says vote for me because i think ideas and access to fulfill these ideas will bring prosperity.
          The left says, they are only for the rich.

          Conservitism needs to disarm the lefts ignorance. And O’Toole can do that.

          • Phil in London says:

            Nick if my prose gets you to a second date and later marriage and kids I do expect the first one to be named Phil whether male or female!

            I think right and left thinking is a big part of the problem. Conservatives tend to do well when they try to stick near the 60% that are in the middle. When they appeal to their fringe it tends to alienate some of that 60%.

        • The decision to cast aspersions against Stephen Harper (“We’re not your dad’s Conservative Party anymore”) rubbed many CPC members the wrong way. The decision to appear with Brian Mulroney was just appalling. The more I think about it, the more I believe that he should go. I doubt he will be able to grow the vote in any event, so the Party is merely postponing the inevitable by keeping him around. His main contribution so far seems to be helping the PPC increase its share of the electorate.

          • ER,

            OK, I will concede that point. Yes, it certainly was a bit classless to frame it in those terms. As for Mulroney, it’s more than obvious that Brian is at least ten moves ahead on the chessboard. He didn’t appear with Erin for Erin and this election. He likely appeared for future political considerations. Need I say more?

          • Actually, yes. To put it politely, Mr. Mulroney has a chequered past. I guess if you want to be accused of poor judgement, being associated with him would be fine. It would certainly make for some great political advertising in the next campaign (you know, for the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and the PPC).

      • lawboy says:

        People chose Trudeau? Well, enough chose Trudeau in Ontario to give him a higher seat count, but, like in 2019, more people chose the Conservative leader than the Liberal leader…

        • Ted Hamill says:

          Well to be accurate, more people may have voted Conservative than Liberal, but you can’t really say they won the popular vote because 60% of Canadians voted against conservative ideology, and that’s the problem Conservative ideology. Mr. O’Toole may have tried to moderate the Conservative image, but it’s hard to put lipstick on a pig.

        • lawboy,

          The House is always woefully and quite deliberately behind at cutting up ridings and re-districting, to use the American term. The Liberals have absolutely no advantage in doing this. And the Conservatives: well, we’ve got to get in power first to assign new ridings to the West and we lost, so there goes that one for 1-5 years.

  4. Robert White says:

    Conservative leader Erin O’Toole will be our next PM IMHO. He looked prime ministerial during all his interviews, and he does seem to be much more centrist than other possible contenders.

    If I were a Conservative Party member I’d be happy that O’Toole managed to seat the Conservatives as government in waiting as opposed to the NDP which will never likely get there.

    If O’Toole would dump the false rhetoric about ‘balancing the books’ I’d vote for him the next round.
    Unfortunately, Conservatives invariably shoot themselves in both feet no matter how much planning goes into their platforms.

    The Conservative base has to understand that O’Toole has no choice but to drag the Conservative Party membership kicking & screaming towards the center-left of our contemporary political spectrum.

    The whackjobs & nutbars can go fringe candidate populist proto-fascist, but they will never succeed.

    Structural fault lines are the obvious defunct ‘abortion debate’, guns & gun culture as Warren has aptly demonstrated, and ‘balancing the books’ which is just an old canard now that we are all Keynesians.

    RW

  5. Lee Hill says:

    Observing the Canadian Election (and voting by overseas ballot) from Airstrip One/Children of Men Country aka the (not so) United Kingdom, I was struck by many of the same things from previous campaigns. Canada is, despite its domestic challenges, regional divides, respective social inequities and historic injustices, still a country where sense triumphs over sensibility. Yes, Jason Kenney, who may want to join the Gen X nihilists in Number 10, has made me nostalgic for the banality of the Don Getty years and Maxine Bernier might be more useful as comic relief in the writer’s room of an X Files reboot, the majority of Canadians not only hope for the best, but want the best for each other and their country and voted as such. I wish the NDP had done better, I wish Conservatives actually wanted to conserve things like they used to and that the Greens were concerned about getting their Green agenda pushed rather than pushing good candidates out the door and that Justin really was the reincarnation of his father and not a kind of goofball, but all things considered, Canadian voters did their duty and voted in surprising numbers for positivity and getting things done for the greater good. When you spend too much time in a foreign clime whose byzantine class system, right wing dominated media, fondness for gun running and “bagman” business practices, pandering to America regardless of common sense and xenophobic cheerleading post-Brexit – did I leave anything out ?- have overridden its groovy cultural achievements and other good things (like easy access to Europe, NHS, civil service and scientific establishment) – then yes, even a dysfunctional and intellectually dishonest Liberal Party du jour looks very attractive indeed.

  6. Gary says:

    Contenders for next CPC Leader – my picks

    Deltell
    Pros: Beloved by the Tory base, socially liberal, extremely courageous, highly media savvy, has serious odds of increasing seat count in Quebec. A brilliant speaker in both official languages, he routinely castrates Trudeau in house debates and had him near tears more than once. Lots of experience, very knowledgable. I’ve met him a few times and found him to be very funny, engaging and witty. Great head of hair.
    Cons: not well known nationally. Used to lead an Autonomist party in QC. Seemed nonplussed at the prospect of running when I spoke to him. He could clean up his English a bit but I personally think he speaks very well.

    Poilievre
    Pros: Considered to be a heroic figure by the conservative base. He is a brilliant, brutal debater. It is commonly believed by conservative voters that Trudeau is intimidated by Poilievre and will refuse to debate him. Has a keen policy mind and is full of ideas, almost all of them original, which he shares freely with those close to him, including solutions to the indigenous housing crisis and municipal debt. Has evolved into a bit of a Jack Kemp type of figure policy-wise. Is explicitly pro-marrige equality.
    Cons: Is a walking, talking, CBC hit job waiting to be aired. Lots of incriminating footage of him from his days as the garbage-man under Harper could easily be taken out of context by dumb voters. Has been conspired against by the Butts-Telford Press Cabal since day one. Not popular outside the Tory base.

    Melissa Lantsman
    Newly elected, fresh face, no baggage AT ALL. Sharp as a tack, marketable, and representative of a new generation ready to take the reins. The narrative writes itself: a woman running against a Liberal party defined by its tolerance of sexual violence, an out lesbian running against a Prime Minister who feels the need to closet himself.
    Cons: Can be a bit abrasive. French skills are entirely unknown.

    Chong:
    Pros: A visionary and a brilliant thinker. Fluently billingual. A real patriot who seems to have a sense of Canada’s historic mission. Very electable. He performed outstandingly as Foreign Affairs critic.
    Cons: Libeled by losers and knuckledraggers among the CPC membership and will have to InstaTory his way to victory. A bit too soft on crime by conservative standards.

    Raquel Dancho:
    Pros: Young, glamorous, very good speaker, and only elected in 2019. Fluently billingual. Would have the “new generation seizing the reins” thing down pat. Her seeking leadership would turn heads and get serious media attention. She’s got the wow factor for sure.
    Cons: Could be better known among existing members. Would need a large number of caucus endorsements or a great deal of membership sales to make it over the masses An unknown on several key issues. Will undoubtedly face sexist attacks by Liberal shitstains.

    Any thoughts? I’d love to hear everyone’s take.

    • Douglas W says:

      Lantsman or Dancho: either has the capacity to return the party to power.

      Another name to consider: Dominique Vien. Political powerhouse.

      • Gary says:

        I don’t know if Vien speaks any English. Plus she’s hardly marketable, sad that we have to factor that in but this is a cruel world.

        Why not Deltell or Chong?

  7. Joe Calgary says:

    I think it shows quite clearly that there are three distinct nations within one, not withstanding the First Nations. Simply put, the west, the east, and the French aren’t in the same camp, haven’t been in the same camp, and likely won’t be in the same camp any time in the near future. Our priorities are different, our vision is different, and our hopes and dreams within this nation are different, and we’ve a bunch of spurious politicians who work very hard to exasperate our differences to their benefit all in the name of power.

    We need a visionary leader, capable of uniting both sides of the spectrum in the middle. Niether overtly liberal, nor overtly conservative. We need a leader who can put something forward that all Canadians, regardless of political stripe, can get behind.

    Maybe a national railway… Oops, did that one. Maybe a high-speed national railway, or perhaps a national freeway system… Oops, did that one already as well, and it sucks. Oh wait, we could plant a couple of billion tree’s that we don’t actually have space for and have to wait at least a decade to plant… Oops doing that one supposedly already. Oh, national pharmacare… Nope, most people don’t care about that because they have a plan through work. Oh wait, how about a national dental plan. We can block the light from all those pearly white smiles while we line up for hours at voting booths, basking in the knowledge that we’ve scared away all the foriegn investment to our nation by being dickheads who can’t agree on anything. We could maybe reform the military so that it’s actually good for something long term… No, that wouldn’t work, takes us almost two decades just to not decide on what jets to buy or ships to build, and why do something right when we can just lease leftovers from Germany, and buy shit subs from Britain that no one wants.

    We also need to reform government, make it more reflective of the nation, more balanced representationally and more inclusive for First Nations, and the Senate and appointed positions have to go. Elected Senate all the way with equal representation to each province.

    But none of that will ever happen, because there’s too much vested interest in the fucked up, disfunctional, disproportionate, dishonest, and dastardly make-up of the political system we have now.

    Oh well, I’ll be dead long before it matters to me, I don’t have kids, and if the teaming mass’ want to continue to vote for lying, cheating, only interested in themselves politicians who have no motivation, desire, or simply honorable intention to lead and govern properly, and can’t keep the simple promises, who am I to stop the destruction.

    I’m just happy I lived through a golden age, no major wars, and now that I’m getting older the politicians will spend more effort and money trying to buy my vote because seniors will be the biggest voting block in the nation in the next 20 years, so I’ll live happily ever after and everyone elses kids and grandkids can pay for it, including your children, grand-children, and great grand-children…

    So I’ll just say thank-you now, and laugh my ass off when the Yanks come invading for our water just as I’m about to go sing the choir eternal.

    Canadians = Dumb fucking bunnies.

  8. The Doctor says:

    With respect, I disagree with Warren’s point #3. I don’t think the Tories ran a good campaign. I think they ran a lousy campaign. It had no coherent message. It vacillated between these mostly unmemorable spending announcements (money for this! More money for that!) and attacking the Liberals.

    The innumerable scattershot spending announcements meant that no single announcement really stuck or resonated. It all turned into white noise. And it came across as no different in the eyes of the average voter from the same shit that the Liberals and NDP were doing. Where was the differentiation? The result was predictable.

    And BTW while I’m at it, there is no excuse for the Conservatives to be utterly uncompetitive in Vancouver Quadra (especially) and Vancouver Granville when you look at the demographics there. The Conservative result in Greater Vancouver overall was a massive fail.

  9. Pedant says:

    I think it has in large part to do with this, Warren:

    Atlantic Canada : 2.3 million people, 32 seats
    Alberta : 4.3 million people, 34 seats

    Seem fair to you?

    The Canadian federation increasingly looks like one giant gerrymandering exercise for the Liberal Party.

    And I don’t know what you think the Conservatives can possibly do to win over cultists who vote for known sexual predators as long as they have an “L” to their name. The Liberal/independent guy in Spadina-Fort York won.

  10. Miles Lunn says:

    I agree with all those. I would also add brand is not something that changes overnight. Its not just good Liberal brand, Tories have a real bad brand name in metropolitan areas. And five weeks of being moderate on campaign trail is not enough time to change that. It takes much longer. But if party stays close to centre, over time brand will improve, but it is going to take time and party needs to patient.

    That being said urban/rural divide is getting bigger and I think it is incumbent upon both parties to not push further polarization but try to lessen it. Trudeau is never going to win many rural ridings, but he does need to listen to their anger and take their concerns into consideration. And O’Toole needs to find a way to appeal to metro areas. Tories will never win all or most seats there, but they need to win some. Their rural base is a good foundation, but its not enough alone.

    I also noticed, the ridings O’Toole went backwards in tended to be the most diverse. Due to some on right being racist, naturally many in ethnic communities are wary of Tories even if they lean right on most issues. They want to get to know leader better before willing to mark their vote for them, whereas despite Trudeau’s past racism, many trust Liberals as being tolerant due to brand. It can be done, after all Doug Ford became premier in big part by doing well here. And likewise Stephen Harper did too although not on his first or even second try.

    I think GTA is very tough to win, but it can be done at least in 905 belt. More importantly 905 always prefers Tories over NDP so if Liberals crash bad enough, it will go their way. Its more Lower Mainland suburbs I am less confident on. A decade ago, BC Liberals dominated them provincially (they are for those who don’t know really conservative) and Tories federally did. Now its mostly NDP provincially and Liberal federally. It used to be Tories won almost every riding outside city of Vancouver proper. Now they only have one riding west of Langley. Since 905 went PC provincially, I am more confident a path exists, but since Lower Mainland suburbs haven’t voted for a centre-right party at either level for almost a decade, I am a bit less confident.

    And finally looking at Quebec results, it seems Tories won big in their stronghold while got clobbered in other rural ridings where BQ won big while Liberals did horrible throughout so I suspect a lot of rural Quebec strategically voted against Liberals and went for whichever party could best achieve that.

    So yes Tories didn’t have a great night, but winning an election as a Conservative in Canada has never been easy. There is a big reason Harper wanted Liberals wiped out; he knew beating NDP much easier than Liberals.

    • The Doctor says:

      Winning as a Conservative has never been easy but the Tory-Reform split in the 90s and merger in early 2000s left lasting damage. IMO it’s more difficult now than it was prior to 1993. The universe of potential Tory voters is smaller now than it was prior to 1993. And that’s on shitheads like Preston Manning and Harper. Thanks guys.

      The old PC Party actually won seats in Vancouver (see Kim Campbell, Pat Carney) and the middle of Toronto (see David Crombie, David MacDonald, Michael Wilson). What a concept.

      • Dear Doc: Don’t thank Mr. Manning and former PM Harper. Thank Brian Mulroney. He was the impetus for the split.

        • ER,

          Again, it’s back to what really counts, two majorities under Mulroney, or one and two minorities under Harper? Each party member has to weigh that one for him or herself. Tall order in the best of times, so maybe, just maybe, we will eventually have to split. Lots more will head to the PPC and the right will be split once again. And if 85-90% of the CPC membership CAN’T EVER AGREE, then that’s how it should be. You can’t keep supporting a party that you no longer agree with. So, those that choose to go, go.

          • My friend, Mr. Mulroney’s leadership bequeathed us the Bloc, the Reform and 2 PC seats in the 1993 election. Yes, we had two back to back majorities. The cost was the destruction of a political party that had existed for 60 years. I remember those days quite well. So, if you have standards that include honesty and integrity, then maybe you have to demand that the political party wants your support also has those standards. Just my 2 cents….

        • The Doctor says:

          I realize Mulroney made a very unwise decision with that award of the CF-18 contract to Montreal over Winnipeg, but that was no reason to blow up/destroy a political party and hand the Liberals guaranteed majority governments for over a decade — which was really all that that dumb fuck Manning accomplished at the end of the day IMO. Oh yeah, and he permanently made the successor party toxic in our largest cities. Thanks again guys.

          • Dear Doctor, have you read Ms. Cameron’s book “On The Take”? There was a reason Mr. Manning became so popular. Millions of people had a choice on whether or not to vote PC, and they chose not to.

          • The Doctor says:

            I read On the Take. I was no Mulroney fanboy, but Cameron’s book was idiotic and extremely biased and sensationalistic. What that book really revealed, if you paid attention, was that politics in Quebec and the Maritimes is full of graft. Which occurs under both federal Liberal and Conservative governments (see Sponsorship Scandal, SNC Lavalin etc. etc.).

            Go count the examples of corruption in that book. Almost none are from the West or Ontario. It’s one example after another of Quebec or Maritime graft. Because they have been historically the regions that depend the most on federal largesse, for one thing.

            The other point is that whether or not Mulroney was corrupt (or really, to the point, any more corrupt than any other PM we’ve had) had fuck all to do with the rise of Reform IMO. The main points Manning whined about were Western Alienation, too many immigrants and a bunch of direct democracy crap. And the aforementioned CF-18 contract, which I agree was a bad move by Mulroney and undoubtedly revealed his pro-Quebec bias (he being a Quebecer and all).

  11. Peter Varley says:

    Hi Warren. And another thing:

    Obviously no one asked me about this “unnecessary election” thing. But if they had, I would have advised the following: “STOP saying that. Flip it on its head, as in, “I completely disagree. This is an URGENTLY NEEDED election. Canadians have had it with the damage done by Justin Trudeau’s (insert rap sheet here). It’s their chance to get rid of this terrible government once and for all.”

  12. Obvious Sock Puppet #12 says:

    As a CPC Riding Board whatsis, and suchlike, for a long time, but also a Red Tory, or as we used to call then, a Progressive Conservative, going back, Lo! these past 25 years or whatever heinous amount of years it is, I wish to thank Warren especially for making points #4 and #5 — this, oh so very much this.

    And as we all know, there are endless Albertards and their ilk out there, clamouring to feed Erin O’Toole into the wood-chipper for mulch, because “We Weren’t Conservative Enough”, by which they mean, IIUC, that we in the CPC weren’t, and aren’t, Leave-it-to-Beaver-whoopin’-slaves-and-pickin’-cotton enough. Or something. Something with fewer d@mn Injuns; more d@mn guns; fewer of them d@mn furriners comin’ here from away, dangnabbit; more women barefoot & pregnant in the kitchens; and why in the h3ll doesn’t d@mn Kwaybeck just d@mn leave, d@mn it … — and so on. That sort of “or something”.

    Speaking to them directly: you @$$holes are the reason why we lose. Videlicet: You Are Losers.

    Kindly GTFO and go join Mad Max or something.

    Or, better, kindly GTFO of the country altogether and move to Alabama. Nineteen-fifties Alabama. You’ll feel right at home there.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      OSP,

      Under Harper, the Alliance controlled the party. Absolutely no doubt about that. Not this time. This is 2021 and an Alliance-style platform will never wash enough to win government even if we blew it this time. That’s reality, what should be an uncontested fact. It’s either stay the course or consign the party to semi-permanent opposition. But hey, if most of the membership wants to commit collective political suicide, then by all means, be my guest. I think they are too smart to do that.

    • The Doctor says:

      Anyone who thinks the CPC can win a federal election by going full Trumpist is drooling idiot, full stop. There is absolutely zero evidence for that.

      What the CPC can do is run a better campaign. This time out, it ran a shitty campaign. Harper won by running a good campaign, despite all of his obvious liabilities as a candidate. I once heard a smart guy named WK say that campaigns matter.

    • Pedant says:

      What is the difference between a Liberal and a Red Tory? I’ve posed the question for years and still don’t have a clear answer. I’m not talking about random policy differences, but rather differences in overarching philosophy or guiding principles.

      • Pedant,

        Not all of us but most tend to be at least somewhat fiscally conservative. We’re not adverse to government acting as a force for good but there’s no way that most of us would get onboard with monetary policy as currently practiced by The Bank of Canada. That’s pie in the sky monetary insanity that will only make the crash worse ten-fold when it comes. We like eventual balanced budgets in a non-crisis environment. On social issues, we’re either moderate or liberally-inclined. In my case, I’m very much live and let live but not libertarian. If I was the latter, I would support a COVID-19 vaccine choice to vaccinate or not and I’ll NEVER do that. Those people don’t give a shit if they asymptomatically infect third parties, OR catch it themselves and then infect third parties. In my book, libertarianism must have its limits, especially in a health crisis or pandemic. Blue Tories, on the other hand, would be less liberal on social issues but not necessarily in line with social conservatives. Lots of bona fide Red Tories now call themselves Blue Tories for politically expedient reasons these days. Hint, hint. LOL.

      • The Doctor says:

        Pedant, I agree that there’s obviously a point in the spectrum where Red Tory meets Blue Liberal. Duh. Not a huge amount of difference between a Perrin Beatty and a John Manley, or between a Michael Wilson and a Paul Martin.

        That said, there’s a reason Red Tories are Tories, and if I may speak for them for a moment, I think Red Tories are congenitally more fiscally responsible than Liberals, think that deficits matter and that taxes should be kept as low as possible within a framework of responsible government.

        What makes many Red Tories uncomfortable with Liberals (and why I have never joined the Liberal Party) is that there are too many Liberals out there who never met a government spending program they didn’t like. Selfie Boy is Exhibit A.

  13. RKJ says:

    Further to Peter and “The Doctor”, I agree O’Toole showed limitations. If I may “unload”, please note:

    Erin O’Toole: Observations & Comments:

    • Tone Deaf signs:
    o assault rifle copy comments – had a good image and was gaining popular support then insisted on a bewildering noncommittal support for their ownership – showed no ability or willingness to explain his position, then finally retreated when had already badly damaged his image and message;
    o C-19 vaccines – refused to indicate the number of his candidates who were vaccinated nor did he offer any kind of lucid comment regarding maintaining safe work environments – no comment through campaign on requiring daily testing (may have commented at start) but at end of campaign would just clam up;
    • Did not act like a National leader – in final days spent all his time in the GTA, Ontario – no National tour;
    • Radio ads spent lots of time saying JT called an unnecessary election – did not continue by saying he and his party were “eager to form a government and lead Canada forward…..” – almost made sound like he didn’t want to lead;
    • In the Conservative leadership race claimed he knew the GTA, Ontario – don’t think he really does understand this region, nor does he really understand Canadian history and the nuances of the various provinces;
    • A bewildering inability to express his own qualifications for leadership or to speak about his own background, other than in the most superficial ways;
    • Was able to speak at length about his numerous policies but did not then explain their big picture value – as if all voters simply are looking for another tax credit or whatever;
    • In his leadership campaign, missed an opportunity with Derek Sloan to strongly voice his opposition to Sloan’s ridiculous comments about chief medical officer of Canada being potentially disloyal since was born in Hong Kong – instead, tried to play both ends off against the middle and voted to have him remain in the Conservative caucus, against the wishes of his fellow Ontario conservative members. A strong leader candidate would have relished the opportunity to state his/her position and indicate “this is not our Canada…….” – seemed to be lost on O’Toole millions of Canadians are immigrants and Sloan’s comments implied all immigrants are potentially disloyal – not a bridge building opportunity to these communities;
    • Is a former military officer but wonder/doubt that he is actually a fighter;
    • Maintained share of national popular vote but this was more a plebiscite on the incumbent, JT, than a vote for O’Toole’s skills – does not show ability to draw people to him – so many Canadians want a change but the alternatives also have to show their ability to be better than the incumbent – a very low bar;
    • The skills needed to win the Conservative leadership (don’t offend anyone, keep your head down, placate different groups etc.) are not the same skills needed to lead a Party and a Country

    • RKJ,

      I’m purposely limiting myself in this debate post-mortem but I will say this because I said it while the leadership race was on: when a candidate claims to be True Blue in the race and quite deliberately does not define precisely what that is, you’re courting trouble in an election when you take on tinges of Red or Blue Tories. Some members felt misled in the leadership race after the fact. So, that suggests doubt about who that leader really is by the time the election call comes. Some surely said, well if the leader says he’s X in the leadership but is Y in the election, then who is to know what he really is, or will be, when he takes office as prime minister? A reasonable question, to say the very least.

      • RKJ says:

        Thanks Ronald. I expect leaders to change their spots – happens frequently. Regardless, on issues like Sloan, there is presented an opportunity to define oneself as inclusive and welcoming of immigrants. We can only wish for votes that went the other way this past Monday that might have been courted with more intelligent and inclusive messaging to these communities.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          RKJ,

          Isn’t it ironic though how Harper and Kenney did far more than commendable work on that file when we were in government. It’s like Sloan was in the twilight zone during those ten years.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            And then we could build bridges while at the same time unite the party to a greater degree by having Erin choose Leslyn Lewis as Deputy Party Leader. She’s a social conservative and a uniter by nature and she listens far more than she speaks. A natural fit and a good one with O’Toole.

  14. Gilbert says:

    Canadians didn’t punish JT for the early election. No one should be happy, though, with two minority governments and a loss of the popular vote.

    Since the position on guns proved to be controversial, it should have never been in the conservative platform. Removing it halfway through the campaign made the Conservatives look unsure of themselves. By then the damage was done.

    I think Erin O’Toole ran a good campaign, but he needed to show more of the Conservative team: Pierre Poilievre, Ed Fast and Michelle Ferreri are just a few.

    On the topic of vaccines, there was no need to be defensive. It was enough to say that we believe in the slogan “my body, my choice”. If it’s true for abortion, it’s true for the new vaccines.

    I’m not sure it was wise to say this wasn’t your grandfather’s conservative party while bringing out Brian Mulroney. He definitely brings back memories of the past. It was probably better to just say we’re a new conservative party with great ideas. While I’m disappointed with the result, I’m glad the Liberals didn’t get a majority.

    • Robert White says:

      Feminist-in-chief Trudeau will spin the minority stand of Liberals into a fake majority mandate. He is already saying that Canadian voters gave the Liberal Party a new mandate to vaccinate and institute vaccination passports.

      The WEF reset will proceed with or without a majority Liberal mandate. And Trudeau can spin lemons into lemon-aid.

      I should have gone to Drama school like he did. Heck, I’d be making $368k CDN if I had only attended Drama classes. STEM disciplines don’t have the financial yield that Theater & Drama classes can fetch on the open market.

      RW

      • RW,

        Yes, but your knowledge and training makes you theoretically both an offensive and defensive colossus. Mighty handy in this 2021 universe. They could really use you in Winnipeg. Hope you come out of retirement for your country’s sake.

    • Gilbert,

      Please tell me if I’m crazy or what but my recollection is that more than once Harper chose not to implement or even pay heed to the platform before facing the voters. If that’s accurate, as I recall and suspect, then why in God’s name did O’Toole not simply choose to follow Harper’s precedent and proceed accordingly? It boggles the mind, that is, if I have it right.

    • Gilbert,

      Respectfully, when you say “my body, my choice” on abortion, you have no chance of physically transmitting your abortion position to third-parties by taking that position and acting accordingly. Not so with the non-vaccinated. They are, at minimum, a public health risk and in some cases, an actual danger to other individual’s health.

    • O’Toole also used not your father’s Conservative Party.

  15. Brahmabull says:

    Isn’t it as simple as this – the country is broken. An historian may point out that we’ve always been a country whose politics has had to walk a tightrope of balancing competing regional interests because of our being wed to an idea of a strong federal government, but it begs the question – was that ever a sustainable model? It’s been unravelling for decades and just like a rope that starts to unwind, it begins slowly and then near the end it accelerates and ultimately snaps and Justin Trudeau is not reattaching any threads that once held us together. It’s time for the west to separate, Quebec to finally walk the talk, the Maritimes to stand on their own. We could have a common currency union, free trade and a common defence pact. And we’d all be much happier.

    • Brahmabull,

      My God. We could start off this debate going all the way back to discuss whether the Founders really wanted a confederation or not. There’s no question that we became a federation under P-E-T, for good, ill or both. Of course, much of the provincial order of government want a decentralized Canada, while others either want special status or the feds opting out of some of their own jurisdictions and passing on those powers to the provinces. In short, one hell of a mess in 2021. P.S. Nice picture of Ronnie.

  16. Phil in London says:

    I think the last point Warren made about the sun shining says it all. Our Canada will largely be unchanged in the short term.

    I think the move to the so-called left by the conservatives is about moving to the middle.

    Right now, TODAY the best alternative to the current prime minister is Erin O’Toole and that can be the case for 5 or more years if conservatives can actually make an intelligent leadership choice for a change.

    Consider the Reform move to the middle under Preston Manning. It became the Canadian Alliance and Manning lost his leadership to one Stockwell Day. Why? Manning’s acknowledgement that reform had had it’s day and that it needed to attract a bigger tent of disaffected conservatives from several party. In a nutshell Manning realized the Mulroney big blue tent was more important that western alienation or Quebec separatism.

    It could be argued that if reform had not taken root and Kim Campbell had been left with more than two seats that the Conservative party renovation done under Brian Mulroney would have contested every election since.

    What if the east coast progressive conservatives and the western conservative (i.e. less progressive) had stuck together? Maybe a few more competitive seats in the area around Quebec city?

    I have no doubt that Jean Chrétien would have won his first majority under any circumstances but our country would have been better if at that time there were two major parties not 1 with 4 fringe entities.

    History SHOULD tell conservatives they are stronger together. As the sun shifts to rain in my part of the world I realize conservatives understanding that point may be a long shot.

    I don’t believe we need to shun third parties. But, I don’t believe elections should be debates about 4 or 5 outcomes when there are and may always be TWO outcomes.

    I read an editorial today commenting how in Germany under similar results the conversation today would be what cabinet position O’Toole could be considering in order to work an effective coalition. I believe it would be great if 75% of the MPs who won on Liberal and Conservative platforms could now work together. Our solution is which fringe will our vain leader cater to to keep himself as the best choice next year etc.

    • Phil,

      I’m very much a cross-party guy. For me it’s natural to fight like hell in committees and then go have a beer with the other sides, or go for supper. Ditto and attend each other’s Christmas and holiday parties. I’m all about common ground and improving legislation.

      But in this instance, it’s almost impossible given the break in the rule of law, ethics violations and political corruption that surfaced during the last Liberal mandate. That has poisoned the well irretrievably until the Liberals get a new leader or get religion. I won’t be holding my breath in the interim.

      • Phil in London says:

        Ron,

        You are not wrong, I’ve seen that comradely first hand. I truly think it’s a relic. The partisanship is so divisive these days that I find it rather phony. We don’t elect MPs to play nice together, we elect them to govern for the betterment of the nation.

        My only argument about the liberals is I feel their smut is systemic and deeply rooted in a period where they were the only true governing eligible party.

        They don’t seem to interested these days in the nation, just in the throne.

      • Phil in London says:

        Ron to our earlier conversation above, I don’t have any answers any better than you do.
        I don’t have a lot of good to say about Elmer McKay’s son Petey but in a rare moment of lucidity (for a conservative) he recognized that the answer to forming a conservative government lies in the big tent.

        O’Toole may well have pivoted with the party members to win the leadership but I prefer to think of it is a similar moment.

        The risk is losing the further right. I don’t think that a risk as much as a blessing. There is chatter that the nazi party lead by Bernier made conservatives lose seats. I don’t see it in too many places but honestly, I would rather have that lying liberal son of a bitch in power than have any party behoven to these idiotic zealots.

        This is very different than the Reform / PC / Bloc split of the old party. This is more a personal selfishness by some clowns (maybe just one?) and not the same as when true blue westerners and nationalists in Quebec chose to speak and act for their base. THE PPC is a side show. The earlier split was a necessary failure if you will as ALL sides felt grievances. The natural continuation is to work to bring in the more centre right vote especially in Quebec and the cities and weaken both the Bloc and the libs in the process.

        I firmly believe the path forward for the CPC has to be to bury the past and stop thinking short term. I am not channelling the dictatorial regimes like China and Putin as much as I am noting their outlook on the world stage. They don’t spend near as much time thinking about 2022 as they do about 2042.

        Hindsight gives us little benefit but a historical record to learn from. I think it is safe to say the CPC can learn from the past civil war and build toward unity not division. You and I may not see them win in our lens but maybe we and they need to think about our granchildren’s world.

        In the meantime the CPC should prepare to offer itself up as a moderate alternative should the liberal party finally stink just a bit too much for the good people in the larger cities. O’Toole can be that fellow, I am not so sure there is an obvious better solution for them.

        • Phil,

          Excellent analysis.

          I think I would mark success or absolute failure down to this: it will be based on each member’s attitude: is their first instinct to bridge the gaps and accommodate the other side, or to moan and groan and want to have more than half of the political loaf? If most of us choose the former option, we can work it out with each side giving and taking to keep us together. There’s a lot of bitterness right now at not having defeated the Trudeau Liberals. Once that passes, we still have a pretty good shot at coming together and building for the next election. I don’t care what the Liberals say, there’s no way it’ll be only in four years so we need to keep that one in mind as we rebuild and try to keep as many people in the tent as is humanly possible.

  17. J.Ph. Brunet says:

    If we have learned anything, it’s that O’Toole’s M.O. once he’s in a tight spot is invariably to panic and desperately lurch off in a new direction with no rhyme or reason. The guy can’t think on his feet, which explains the sixty-four-dollar pre-fab answers to even the simplest questions. If he’s not rehearsed, then all he can manage is an inept improvisation. Had the election campaign lasted another two weeks he would have been completely exposed as an impetuous, opportunistic phoney.
    Sorry, but no royal jelly there. O’Toole is a loser.
    –30–

  18. Michael Harwood says:

    Warren’s base premise is that the Canadian electorate is stubbornly tilted Liberal, no matter how corruptly and incompetently the Liberals govern, and as a result, the Conservatives have a very narrow path to overcome that Liberal popularity.

    That was true before Stephen Harper, but not now.

    The Liberals have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 federal elections. The Conservatives have proven to be more popular than the Liberals for 15 years now.

    Despite the pundit prognostications that the People’s Party would eat into the Conservatives’ support, the Conservatives still polled 34% of the popular vote, the same as 2019, and they beat the Liberals on that score yet again.

    I agree with Warren that there are a considerable number of Liberal stalwart voters who are blindly loyal to the brand. The thing is, many of them aren’t leftists.

    Under-informed, or single-issue Liberals on immigration or climate change, these people are , on balance, conservative in their worldview.

    It’s those voters who O’Toole targeted, with limited success. That’s the only hope for the Conservatives to win, convincing enough of these people to wake up and realize that they aren’t Liberals, they’ve just been brainwashed into thinking they are.

    Lastly, Warren didn’t mention the elephant in the room, but to be fair, no one in the media seems to either.

    The Liberals have a huge structural advantage that’s baked into the regional seat distribution for federal ridings.

    It’s that structural advantage that allowed Trudeau to come within 12 and 13 seats of a majority government in 2019 and 2021, despite picking up just 1% more of the popular vote than Stephen Harper did when he was defeated in 2015.

    For that extra 1% Trudeau ended up with 60 more seats in 2019 and 2021 than Harper did in 2015.

    Look no further than Atlantic Canada for evidence of the huge advantage that Liberal dominance of 3 or 4 parts of the country affords them.

    Atlantic Canada is allotted 32 seats.

    Despite having 2 million more people than the 4 Atlantic provinces, Alberta gets just 34 seats.

    In a country of 38 million people, that’s a big deal…

    • Michael,

      This is one of the reasons why I supported MacKay last time: I thought back to the Mulroney strategy — where the wave took off and intensified in Quebec, while Ontario took notice and decided to come on board. And the rest is two majorities’ history.

      I felt from Day One of the leadership race that only Peter could populate a wave that would begin in Atlantic Canada. From there, I was hoping both Quebec and Ontario would get on board if change was really the mantra of your average voter. Put another way, if they ALREADY had their fill of Trudeau, I assumed a plurality of those people would rally to MacKay in the election. I wonder if I was strategically right or wrong in my assessment.

      • Michael Harwood says:

        I’m with you on McKay, Ronald, but at best, the Conservatives might’ve picked up 4 or 5 more seats in Atlantic Canada if McKay was running instead of O’Toole.

        You’d have to go back to 1984 for the last time federal conservatives won the most seats in Atlantic Canada.

        The Liberals are usually almost halfway to a majority government by running the table in Atlantic Canada, Montreal Island, and the City of Toronto.

        And they win big in the vast majority of those ridings.

        As I mentioned before, that’s a huge structural advantage for the Liberals.

  19. Michael,

    I would put a new twist on this paragraph:

    “It’s those voters who O’Toole targeted, with limited success. That’s the only hope for the Conservatives to win, convincing enough of these people to wake up and realize that they aren’t Liberals, they’ve just been brainwashed into thinking they are.”

    I wouldn’t want to try to tell anyone what they really are. In my book, they can stay Liberals if they want but what they have to realize is that they are in no way Trudeau Liberals. In short, this Prime Minister’s serial conduct is not in keeping with their values and definition of what it means to be a traditional Liberal. I prefer this kind of an approach — a tweak of the lend me your vote strategy.

    • Michael Harwood says:

      I think even many of those who think they’re traditional Liberals have mislabeled themselves, and they vote accordingly, in direct conflict with their self-interest.

      As I mentioned earlier, a significant number of Liberal voters appear to be single-issue voters on immigration or climate change. The Liberals routinely lock up the highest percentage of the vote from immigrant communities.

      Many of these voters are likely social conservatives. Some will be fiscal conservatives as well. They park their vote with the Liberals based solely on, or nearly so, on the immigration policy put forth by the Liberals.

      On balance, they’re conservatives, but they vote Liberal.

      Stephen Harper’s overarching partisan political goal was to move many of these Canadians into the conservative camp, and marginalize the Liberals out of existence.

      He recognized that the Liberal base was built on a sham consensus among many hoodwinked Canadians who had been conditioned to vote Liberal.

      Harper wanted Canadians to have a clear choice between an unambiguously conservative party, and an unambiguously left-of center party (the NDP….), without the mirage of the phony centrist party that the Liberals haven’t been for a very long time.

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