Andrew Scheer's Paris Strategy
People have the right to be angry about the Paris Agreement and the Conservative Party's symbolic support for it, but being a strategic thinker and having Machiavellian thoughts running through my head at all hours of the day, I can understand the strategy and the long term reasoning behind it. Right-wing pundits don't think much about winning because that's not their job. A politician's job is to win and to plot out a strategic course to victory. That's what Andrew Scheer was doing and we should trust his judgment.
To start, Canada is in the Paris Agreement whether any of us like it or not. That has no chance of changing until 2019. Canada will also have a national carbon tax whether any of us like it or not. The motion to reiterate Canada's acceptance of climate change and the Paris Agreement was nothing more than a symbolic gesture—or another Liberal trap like M-103, which aimed to drive a wedge between Conservatives and to paint them as bigots for rejecting it. The only difference between M-103 and the Paris motion is the lack of support M-103 had from Canadians. M-103 was a trap devised by Liberals, but it backfired.
Multiple opinion polls from multiple sources showed that a majority of Canadians either disagreed with M-103 or thought it was a complete waste of time. In one particular poll, only 12% of Canadians thought M-103 would be effective. These facts made support for M-103 politically invaluable and unnecessary for Conservatives. The same is not so for the Paris motion.
Multiple opinion polls from multiple different sources have confirmed that a majority of Canadians support the Paris Accord, believe in climate change and think it's caused in part or fully by humans. The lowest amount of support for scientific theories about climate change is in Alberta—but Alberta isn't the centre of Canada and the Conservative Party is a national party. Whether we like it or not, things get even worse. According to three separate opinion polls, a majority of Canadians also support some form of “carbon pricing”. Despite this, conservatives can rest easy knowing the party won't ever support a carbon tax under Andrew Scheer. Had this been real legislation, Conservatives would have voted against it as they have in the past.
Andrew Scheer's strategy is simple: don't give Liberals ammunition or tools to call Conservatives climate change deniers in 2019. Had Conservatives voted against it, Liberal attack ads would have had more content. Liberals wanted Conservatives to be divided and torn apart by their Paris motion. Scheer's job was to make sure that didn't happen.
If Conservatives want to send Trudeau back to the swamp he slithered out of, they need to act as a cohesive, united voting block. That doesn't mean we can't criticize them when they do senseless and idiotic things, because we should. However, supporting the Liberal Party's latest motion wasn't senseless or idiotic when we understand the reasons. Andrew Scheer isn't going to let Trudeau's Liberals divide his party or its members. Like Stephen Harper, Scheer has a long term strategy for winning and building a platform that will either defeat or severely damage the Trudeau government in 2019.