Conservatives Can Win By Being Conservative
April 1st, 2021 | RR
Despite being betrayed by grifters inside his own party, Andrew Scheer was one of the most successful conservative leaders to have ever run for office in Canada. In a measurement of raw votes, Scheer is the second leader under a conservative label to have won the support of more than six million Canadians. Historically, it's an achievement that may never be matched again by a conservative for another twenty years.
In 2019, Andrew Scheer was about 300,000 votes shy of matching Brian Mulroney's record from 1984. Even though he failed to win a majority in today's regionally divided political climate, his party was able to do another historic thing: eradicate every sitting Liberal in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Under Scheer's leadership, long-time Liberal, Ralph Goodale, was forced into early retirement and Calgary Centre's sideshow clown, Kent Heir, was forced to fuck off into the sunset. It was a bitter sweet outcome, but one that Erin O'Toole will fail to build on.
It's not easy running a mainstream conservative party in Canada, but Scheer would have managed to do well in the next election had he stayed on. Now, instead, we have a red tory looking to re-attempt the same failed strategy of taking the party to the middle. Erin O'Toole exemplifies the problem with big C conservatives in Canada. When it comes to adaptation and change, they never seem capable of exploring new ideas and strategies. In 2021, the Conservatives are attempting a strategy that worked for a few seconds in 1984.
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Applying a 1984 strategy to 2021 is a typically Conservative thing to do. Even in 1984, the Progressive Conservatives' strategy of blending progressive and conservative ideas failed to stand the test of time when the progressivism started to outweigh the conservativism. Fast forward 37 years and the same failed strategy that worked for a millisecond in the 1980s is back on the table.
In 1984, Mulroney won more seats in Quebec than any right-leaning federal party in history. Ever since, dimwitted Conservative Party strategists have been trying to repeat the same scenario. Every time it fails, they scratch their heads and act confused. Like communists, they're convinced that their strategy will eventually work if it's done correctly.
Quebec has continued to perpetually reject federal conservative parties, en masse, since 1993 and every conservative that has tried to move left has failed.
In 2011, Harper didn't need Quebec to win his majority. Unfortunately, the Conservative Party brass is made up of Laurentians and Eastern elitists—just like the Liberal Party. This is why Harper's successful and modern conservative strategy hasn't been re-introduced in an effort to strengthen the West and to unite it with the Maritimes. Even under Scheer's leadership, the big C party had an obsession with winning seats in Quebec.
In places where the big C party has failed, other parties like the PPC and Maverick Party are filling the void.
In the long term, the 1984 strategy resulted in a divided conservative movement that spawned the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance. The same strategy is having the same result in 2021, but without the possibility of a Conservative Party majority. It's a losing strategy from the get-go, but Erin O'Toole thinks he can make it work and succeed where others have failed.
In 2011, Harper won a majority government with only 5 seats in Quebec. Harper did well in Ontario, but Ontario has a tendency to fall in line with the rest of Canada. In 2015, the Maritimes and BC flipped to Justin Trudeau—meaning that Ontario would probably do the same. Likewise, ideologically diverse provinces like BC and Ontario tend to fall in line with the rest of Canada and, sometimes, with each other. There is a tricky but symbiotic relationship between some of the provinces. If a message is successful in both BC and Ontario, it will be successful in the rest of Canada. If a message is successful in the Maritimes, it often ends up being successful in most of Ontario.
"Like communists, they're convinced that their strategy will eventually work if it's done correctly."
In 2011, Harper managed to unify the West and East without including Quebec.
Because the Conservative Party is made up of Eastern elitists, the party has an unhealthy infatuation with keeping its power in the East and appeasing Quebec. Brian Mulroney was from Quebec, but Kim Campbell and Joe Clark were from the West—yet both leaders had an unhealthy infatuation with the East and with progressive politics. Their strategies failed so badly, Preston Manning and his Reform Party were chosen to take their place in the West.
Stephen Harper represented the West and was considered an Albertan. Scheer represented Saskatchewan. Both Harper and Scheer were able to make extraordinary and historic gains by being conservatives. Both leaders had openly conservative views on abortion, welfare and social issues. Harper won a historic majority and Scheer won the second largest number of votes for a right-leaning leader in Canadian history.
This proves that Western conservatives can win in Canada by being conservative.
The idea that conservative parties must move further left and closer to the centre is wrong. If history has taught us any lessons, it is that conservatives can win in Canada by being themselves. The proof is in the pudding. The Mulroney strategy failed when it was followed up by his predecessors, while Harper's strategy of unifying the West and East was successful—until he and his party inherited the label of corruption and inched closer to ten years of incumbency.
Had certain things not happened and had Harper not already been in power for ten years by 2015, he would have won another majority. Harper didn't lose because his strategy was a failure, he lost because he had over-stayed his welcome and was viewed as untrustworthy and corrupt by a slight majority of Canadians. The same thing will eventually happen to Justin Trudeau.
Anything similar to Harper's strategy hasn't been tried again. Instead, big C strategists have continued to press forward with the Mulroney strategy. By moving the party left and appealing to Quebec, the party has abandoned the very people who gave Stephen Harper his majority. The results have, thus far, ended up being the same as they were in 1993, when separatism and Western alienation paved the way for new voting blocs in Quebec and the West.
The failed conservative strategies of the 80s and 90s are producing exactly the same results in 2021, yet no one inside the big C party seems to have noticed.
As for Erin O'Toole being the guy who beats Andrew Scheer and Stephen Harper in successfully taking their party to new heights, it won't happen. That's not to say that his loss is absolute, but his chances of success are lower than Scheer's were in 2019. The only foreseeable way for Erin O'Toole to win a majority and to not lose seats from 2019 is for Justin Trudeau to reach new heights of failure.
It's not unfathomable to think that Trudeau could find himself in another devastating mess. However, with the WE scandal and his botched attempts at procuring vaccines doing little to knock him down in opinion polls, the road to defeating Trudeau is riddled with potholes and land mines for any opposition leader. With O'Toole taking the Conservatives down the same derelict road that destroyed the Progressive Conservatives, the chances of another Trudeau majority are increasing by the day. Polls continue to show Trudeau making gains in British Columbia and Ontario, all while O'Toole's approval ratings continue to plummet among Canadians and conservatives.
O'Toole's sudden and catastrophic decline in approval among conservatives is directly linked to his Eastern-centric, progressive strategy.
At this point, it will be difficult for O'Toole to win back conservatives, even if he changes his strategy and starts being the person he sold himself as during the party's leadership race. The trust has been broken and it's evident that the party is filled with misguided strategists and Laurentian snobs. The only way to solve this problem and to restore the wisdom of the Harper era is to let the party lose. O'Toole won't resign until he loses badly, which is becoming more inevitable as the days pass.
After O'Toole, the big C party will have another chance to restore itself. If it fails again, conservatives will be forced to pick up the pieces and unite their forces again in the same way Harper did. This wouldn't happen until the CPC is virtually obliterated in the West and after Liberals and leftist parties have permanently damaged the country. By then, we may be living in a completely different reality.
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