Canadians like their political debates cold, stale and dull

di Redazione del December 8, 2016

pc logoTORONTO - It is too early to tell if there is still life in the Conserv­ative Party of Canada. The Can­adian Parliamentary system is built on an adversarial paradigm, so, without an identifiable op­position “ideology”/policy/pro­gramme, it is difficult to judge the value or relevance of government initiatives.
Without a Leadership capable of defining and expressing differ­ing viewpoints, everything takes place in a vacuum, as it were. Or events are esoteric occurrences influenced by external forces be­yond the control of the citizenry.
Fourteen pretenders to the Leadership of the CPC, and even­tually to the office of Prime Min­ister, “met in combat” against each other for a second debate in Moncton Tuesday evening. Some of them have a steeper hill to climb than others; others came unarmed.
I worked with most of the par­liamentarians – current and for­mer – on the stage. Personalities and partisanship aside, some of them were individuals whose friendship and competence would not be an embarrassment to any­one … decent folks.
It is important to recognize that this is still just the “shadow box­ing” stage of the selection process. It is legitimate for as many people as possible to express an interest and to expose their ideas and vi­sions for the country. It should be good for all of us.
The format left a lot to be de­sired, but it is understandable give the numbers and the time constraints. A cameo appearance is the best anyone could hope to achieve. Some candidates will re­assess whether such a small re­turn is worth the time and the in­vestment.
It would have been unrealistic to expect any “gems” to stand out in that environment. I was, how­ever, mildly impressed with sev­eral candidates who offered an aura of self-confidence and com­petence that they did not exhib­it when I knew them some six years ago: Andrew Scheer, Steven Blaney and Michael Chong.
The CPC candidates still need to come to grips with one essen­tial point: the Liberal govern­ment has only been in power for one year. Try as any Conservative might, the ills of the nation and the government cannot so easi­ly or convincingly be dumped on Liberals. A “plan” for the future, timely or not, is all that the public will want to hear. Canadians are not yet ready for a hanging.
Nor are they likely to be swept away by “stunt politics”: no cor­porate taxes; the imposition of “Canadian values” as a pre-con­dition of immigration; pandering to regionalist issues or engaging in “imitation strategies” to attract attention.
Maxime Bernier probably had the best put-down of the evening when he strongly criticizes Kellie Leitch’s not so subtle anti-immi­grant blathering. The CPC doesn’t need a “Karaoke Trump” or kara­oke policies.
Neither does Canada.

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