Five Winners In A Field Of Losers
I'm not a social conservative and neither are most Canadians, but it has become too easy to earn a pat on the back for alienating them. The same can't be said about the anti-science progressives who think it's normal for underage children to take hormones and surgically remove their genitals. If we alienate these anti-science progressives in the same way we alienate social conservatives, we face being publicly shamed, fired from our jobs, harassed, or told to sit at the back of the bus. We humans love taking the easy route. It's easier to keep our jobs and get praised by sanctimonious SJWs than it is to stand up for something. It's easier to slouch our shoulders, put our heads down and let the bullies win. In the Conservative Party's leadership race, we're seeing eight candidates trying to coast to victory using the easiest route they can find.
What does Lisa Raitt stand for? Nobody knows. She has been trying so desperately to keep the boat from rocking that she has no coherent message or principles. On the other end, Michael Chong has been trying so desperately to drown everyone around him that he risks bucking himself out of the boat. Almost every candidate in the race is trying so hard to keep the Conservative boat from veering into rough waters that the entire race has become a sad spectacle of fear and cowardice. It's now a competition to see who can avoid the most controversy in hopes of beating a Prime Minister who seeks it out and knows how to shrug it off.
Most of the Conservative leadership candidates think they can win the race and the general election by floating up the middle. One wants a national carbon tax, while the rest want to remain as vague as possible to avoid negative headlines at the CBC. It's truly and genuinely pathetic.
Despite all the comparisons to the Republican primaries, the current Conservative leadership candidates aren't even cut from the same cloth. Most of them are what some people call “cucks”. They're so eager to please and appease that they're willing to bend over and take it from whoever writes the biggest cheque. They're afraid to offend, they're afraid to stray and they're afraid of their own reflections. Among them, there are only five candidates who have tried to chart their own course.
Leave it to the first declared female of the bunch to flaunt the biggest set of balls. I wouldn't be surprised if Leitch drives a pick-up truck with a pair of those silver testicles hanging from the hitch. With the help and wizardry of Nick Kouvalis, Kellie Leitch has cemented a base of loyalists within the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, her magical transformation into a right-wing populist is suspicious.
Career politicians are known for being shapeshifters. We should all be wary of people who seek out long-term careers in public office and Kellie Leitch is no exception. In 2009, Leitch was a strategist in Christine Elliot's leadership campaign for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Elliot branded herself as a centrist against Tim Hudak and Randy Hillier, who her campaign tried to portray as “too right-wing”. Before Leitch made headlines for her Canadian values survey, she expressed remorse and appeared to shed tears in an interview with Rosemary Barton over her involvement in the infamous Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline.
Nonetheless, Leitch has been one of the few candidates to show a fearless determination against Canada's mainstream media and commentariat. Despite the frothing backlash and criticisms from everyone, including people within her own party, Leitch has doubled down and owned her campaign.
From the start, Mad Max wasn't looking to appease anyone. I'm not even convinced that Maxime Bernier set out to necessarily win the Conservative leadership until he realized he could. From early on, it appeared that Bernier intended to put his ideas in the spotlight, whether it meant winning or losing. The platform offered by the Conservative leadership race seemed like a good vehicle to spread ideas about small government and deregulation. Whether Bernier intended to be one of the top contenders in a field of 13 is up for debate, no matter what he says publicly now.
Bernier is one of the only candidates – if not the only candidate – to call for an end to supply management. If you still doubt that Bernier lacks even one, single pandering bone in his body, you should also know that supply management is gospel in his home province of Quebec. In fact, supply management is so popular across other parts of Canada that the rest of the leadership candidates are too chicken-shit to stand up against it. By standing against supply management, Bernier risks alienating the very people who elected him in Beauce. Even Kellie Leitch lacks the spine to stand up against a system that increases the price of goods while limiting consumer choice.
Supply management is pushed, pedalled, enforced and encouraged by a cartel of select farmers, distributors and businesses who also happen to be big political donors. It should be no surprise that other leadership contenders like Kellie Leitch, Erin O'Toole and Michael Chong have been so eager to support the continued existence of the cartel. With very little grassroots support, where else would they get the money to run their campaigns?
He's the one candidate next to Kellie Leitch that everyone loves to hate. He stood against efforts inside the Conservative Party to delete the traditional definition of marriage and he has vowed to re-open the abortion debate. To make him even more detestable to snowflakes and progressives, he takes every opportunity to publicly denounce the science behind climate change and to go against the grain. When Canada's mainstream media tried to exaggerate the “lock her up” controversy that unfolded in front of the Alberta legislature in December, Trost was the only candidate to defiantly support the protesters by saying that he would have joined in their chants. As media tried to shame him with a barrage of negative coverage, he retweeted and shared their news stories like entertainment.
Brad Trost seems to be the only candidate in the leadership race with zero fucks to give. It appears his only goal is to represent social conservatives and his constituents. As I noted earlier, it has become too easy and commonplace to ridicule and alienate social conservatives. Brad Trost has taken on the brave duty of becoming their only staunch advocate in the Conservative Party. While the other leadership candidates wimper and cower in the shadows of the mainstream media and the progressive commentariat, Brad Trost is pouring gasoline at their feet and waving a pack of matches.
It would be wrong to discount Michael Chong from a list of Conservative leadership candidates who are charting their own courses and beating new paths. Chong was the first candidate to fire serious shots at his rivals in a race that can be best summed up as boring. Since the race began, Michael Chong has been acting like he wants to win. As Brad Trost raises his middle finger to progressives, Michael Chong spends his time raising his middle finger to conservatives.
No other candidate in the Conservative leadership race shows as much disdain for conservatives as Michael Chong. In an effort to grow the Conservative Party into a giant, progressive-friendly party, he has thrown members of his own caucus under the bus. He was one of the first candidates to relish the opportunity to scold Alberta conservatives for sarcastically chanting “lock her up” at an anti-NDP rally in Edmonton that was purposely contorted and blown out of proportion by the media. He was the first candidate to imply that Kellie Leitch's proposal to screen immigrants for Canadian values was racist, and he was the first candidate to falsely accuse Kevin O'Leary of engaging in “Trump-like politics”.
Michael Chong deserves credit for playing to win. He isn't sitting idly by or floating around waiting for other candidates to sink, he's throwing punches and lobbing fireballs. He's running an evidently resentful campaign based on leftist strategies in a leadership race for conservatives, but it seems to be serving him well.
The venture capitalist from Vancouver has managed to get spots on BNN and CBC to discuss everything from tax policy to absenteeism in the House Of Commons. With very little name recognition outside of BC, Rick Peterson's leadership campaign has been a remarkable success so far. Among the “one-percenters” who poll between 1-3% on average, Peterson's campaign has managed to surpass fundraising goals and gain the most air time on major television networks. His fellow bottom-tier candidates have barely made a blip on the radar.
Peterson hasn't only proved to be resourceful, he has proved to be tough. Like the other candidates who are playing to win, Peterson has taken pointed shots at other candidates he competes with ideologically, like Maxime Bernier and Kevin O'Leary. He once suggested that he knows more about business than Maxime Bernier, who has spent most of his life as a politician, and that Kevin O'Leary's lack of French is a problem. Peterson himself has proven to be highly successful in business and very fluent in French.
Peterson's most recent line of attack focused on the absenteeism of his fellow candidates in the House Of Commons. He took to Facebook and the CBC to call out Maxime Bernier, Erin O'Toole, Michael Chong and several other Conservative leadership candidates for showing up to work 50% of the time. Under the premise that most Canadians would be fired for not showing up to work, Peterson vowed to force his Conservative MPs to show up for every vote by docking their pay.
It's doubtful that Rick Peterson will ease up or shy away from introducing more hardcore, anti-politician policies as the race goes on. Until Kevin O'Leary becomes the skull bashing outsider the party needs, Rick Peterson will be the one doling out cold truths and hard punishments to a group of career politicians.
In a field of a dozen, these five candidates have stood out by showing their passion for winning, while the rest have survived on catchphrases, platitudes and endorsements. Whether it's with their bold ideas or their penchants for dirty politics and defiance, these Conservative leadership candidates have risen to the occasion. The bigger names like Lisa Raitt and Andrew Scheer have chosen to coast along safely, hoping that their platitudes and endorsements will help them cross the finish line, but it's only a matter of time before they're overtaken by candidates offering real substance.