Weakness in the Conservative Party of Canada’s Leadership Search

di Joe Volpe del February 2, 2020

Canada’s Parliamentary System needs a viable Official Opposition. Currently, there isn’t one.

Not one that is prepared to set out a plan, an agenda, for the country and to ally the population around its standard. Not one that is a self-replenishing treasure trove of men and women driven by civic, collective ideals aiming to shape a nation with purpose, or, at the very least, engage in the discussion of how to bring that about. In other words, not one prepared to establish priorities for government and governing.

“Liberating the country of an incumbent Prime Minister” (in our case, Justin Trudeau) is not a “plan” for the improvement of the nation’s status quo. “Get out so that I can take your place” is not an action inspiring motto for anyone other than the individual who utters it.

Regrettably, that is the condition that describes the Conservative Party of Canada today. Not one putative Conservative aspiring Leader has yet to explain why they should be Prime Minister.

Neither they nor Conservative pundits have offered a vision to replace their monotonous lamentations that Trudeau Jr, with 30% of the popular vote cast, and a litany of miscues in government that would have felled worthier foes (from their perspective). What is the alternative?

After having spent three months cannibalizing their leader Andrew Scheer for not winning an overwhelming majority in Election 2019, all aspiring “replacers” have dropped off one by one, victims of their own lack of vision or inability to express how they might achieve a different result.

What/who would they have the public support now?

We cannot ask the Ottawa Press Gallery – the Press and Media Corps that covers the minutiae of Parliamentary debates daily but has not immunized itself against frivolity. They were smitten by an orchestrated “gotcha” question about “sin” (remember this is a secular 2019), in a scrum during the election that suggested one of the candidates might be auditioning for the Priesthood. People actually paid attention to the non-answer. Goodbye alternative.

The other day, a senior official in today’s “new priesthood” – the alphabet brigade – stated categorically that one of the few would-be leaders remaining in the Conservative leadership race would not receive the required “certificate” to march in their Lupercalia parade. As entertaining a distraction as the event might be, serious people have difficulty considering that participation therein is now THE criterion for success in the political realm. Please deliver us of such nonsense.
It may seem harsh to state the obvious, but is there anyone in the country who thinks that the Bloc, the NDP (in its current vestments) or the Green Party appeal to anyone other than their immediate families and closed cult group? These are protest groups; not even movements, judging by their own statements and performance in the 2019 election.

This brings us back to the only two vehicles in a position to provide structure and substance for national goals. Whether Liberal or Conservative, no government in Canada can satisfy the nations’ thirst for advancement without a competitive, serious Opposition ready to challenge initiatives and behaviour through the lens of the public interest.

Neither party has, so far, evidenced a preferable alternative to their present Leaders: Scheer and Trudeau.

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