Here we go again
At 62 percent of the total, the seventy-three Conservative MPs who today voted against Erin O’Toole was well over the 50 percent minimum required. But the ouster of another Conservative leader brings as much disgrace on the party as it does the leader who was just seventeen months into the job and in the most recent election beat Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the popular vote.
Among O’Toole’s problems with his MPs was the fact that he wooed social conservatives during the campaign for leader only to move later to the more electable centre by changing his position on some issues. But Conservative MPs should also share the blame for any and all electoral failings. Robert Stanfield, the leader for whom I was press secretary, had trouble with a similar cabal all those years ago. The names are different today but there were about seventeen tormentors in his caucus. The main malcontents then and now are people you never heard of before and come mostly from rural ridings in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It’s tough being an opposition leader. You don’t have any provender to spread around, no cabinet posts, no sisters-in-law becoming justices of the peace, no patronage of any sort to keep the grumblers quiet.
As to who should run for leader, to my mind no one in the current caucus has the royal jelly. And, please, provincial premiers need not apply. The only provincial premier who ever became prime minister of Canada was Nova Scotia’s John Thompson way back in 1892. He died in office two years later. So Scott Moe, don’t go. Doug Ford, stay aboard.
I like the idea of a female leader. Women tend to run for office to get something done for others; men are more likely to run for personal glory. Justin Trudeau is a prime example. My candidate for Conservative leader would be Caroline Mulroney, currently Minister of Transportation in the Ontario government. She is fluently bilingual, has a winning heritage and holds policy ideas that could appeal widely. Among recent Conservative winners, Brian Mulroney polled well with Quebec nationalists. Stephen Harper lucked out when Jack Layton pulled so many seats. Those were fortunate electoral circumstances that may not arise again. The Conservative Party will never win government if it doesn’t mix some Alfredo with the alfalfa.