The Coronation Of Peter Mackay
February 1st, 2020 | RR
The top leadership choice of more than half of Conservative voters bowed out of the party's leadership race on January 23. Pierre Poilievre, the French-speaking Albertan with a silver tongue, declared that his heart wasn't in it. Now, with conservative hearts shattered on the floor, the likelihood of Peter Mackay being appointed the party's new leader by default is higher than ever.
As of now, one extreme so-con (Decarie), one flaky progressive (Mackay), a tough lawyer (Lewis), an activist (Karahalios), a nobody (Knutzon), a rookie MP (Sloan), a weird venture capitalist (Peterson), a nice guy (O'Toole), a Harper advisor (Seal), a guy named Bobby and another unknown MP (Gladu) are the only declared candidates. That makes a slate of 11, with only one who has a chance of winning. If that doesn't have coronation written all over it, someone better call the Queen for a proper definition.
I have some hope for Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis, but there is a good chance most of the membership won't give them a chance. O'Toole will likely come up short in the end, leaving Mackay hanging on by a thread. However, not all hope is lost. If Pierre Poilievre's supporters coalesce behind one candidate, Peter Mackay will lose. It's difficult to get conservatives to agree on one thing, but the numbers I saw rolling in for Poilievre in the Leadership Tracker have been nothing short of a consensus among conservatives. I haven't seen support for one candidate unify so many conservatives since everyone coalesced around Stephen Harper in 2004.
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Now, the chances are high that Mackay's coronation has been in the making for a long time. It's also very likely that Stephen Harper has something to do with it.
As a favour for not running for the leadership in 2004, Stephen Harper likely promised to endorse Mackay in any future leadership bid of his choosing. Being a man of his word, Harper has probably spent the last two months making phone calls to some of the Conservative Party's biggest hitters, encouraging them to bow out and to pave the way for Peter Mackay.
If true, it was a huge mistake.
Peter Mackay is a flaky progressive. His wife is a human rights activist who supported Omar Khadr's return to Canada and his repatriation, which seems to have made an impact on Mackay while he was Defence Minister under Harper. As per the Toronto Star, Mackay praised Khadr for renouncing violence and trying to become a normal, do-good Canadian citizen. You can read about that here.
Mackay also has a boat load of other baggage, which you can read about here.
If Stephen Harper is behind some of the party's biggest heavyweights dropping out, we'll see a lot of them endorsing Peter Mackay. If Pierre Poilievre endorses Peter Mackay, we'll know who is pulling the strings—and we will roundly condemn Polievre for his endorsement. We'll then proceed to find and support a candidate who can defeat Mackay—or several candidates who can split the votes in a way that ensures Mackay loses.
People love Poilievre for his brass knuckles approach. Michelle Rempel has the same street fighting style, but some of us fear she might be too emotional—which, in turn, could be a major liability. Nonetheless, Rempel is a good alternative to Poilievre. She would face steep challenges in a national election, but those challenges probably aren't as steep as the mainstream media would like us to think.
She doesn't know French, but most conservatives outside of Quebec don't care. In fact, most voters don't care. The only ones who seem to care are the pundits and talking heads—and their easily influenced herds of dullards.
Trudeau's third win won't be easy for him, but I've already predicted he will be Prime Minister for a total of 15 years if conservatives don't get their acts together. The next election will be easier for the Conservative Party and harder for Liberals, but it can still be easily blown by the wrong leader. In the event of a Trudeau collapse, votes will go to the NDP or Greens—not necessarily Conservatives.
" It's also very likely that Stephen Harper has something to do with it."
The next leader needs to gain the respect and trust of voters. After the last election, we heard pundits go on about how Scheer failed because he was too socially conservative and refused to march in Pride. This is a false narrative. Scheer failed because he didn't bother to defend himself. Had he firmly defended his reasons and fought back against the media, he would have earned the respect of enough conservatives to win the GTA and parts of Atlantic Canada.
Rempel supports gay pride, so the media wouldn't have much to work with on social conservative issues under her leadership. Supporting gay pride isn't a deal-breaker for even the most socially conservative voters. Capitulating and bending over to appease the media and LGBT activists is.
I can't see Rempel playing nice with biased reporters and dipshits who go on the attack over something she might have said or done twenty years ago, but if she flies off the handle and calls her opponents sexists, that might turn conservatives away. She needs to keep her cool and lay off the typical methods used by hysterical leftists.
He has a lot of potential, but so did Andrew Scheer. He's good at pop-culture, he isn't an asshole and Canadians would have an easy time warming up to him. However, the exact same thing could have been said about Scheer in 2017 and now look.
I have a strange suspicion that—if there is a coronation plan for Mackay—O'Toole might have a part in it. I can see him throwing in the towel close to June 27 and endorsing Peter Mackay in an attempt to "unify" the Red and Blue Tories. This, of course, would work out as well as Danielle Smith's floor crossing in Alberta. In any case, I hope I'm wrong and that O'Toole is a sincere alternative to Mackay.
My second suspicion is that O'Toole and Mackay are both favourites among the Harper-Ambrose puppeteers. Two safe candidates are up for coronation and the rest are being told to back off, leaving the odds rigged for one of two favourites to win the leadership.
If so, O'Toole is a far better option.
O'Toole has less baggage than Mackay. He also has a lot less social conservative baggage than Scheer, but like I said earlier and a few times before—that doesn't matter. Unless a leader goes far out like Richard Decarie in denouncing homosexuality as immoral or abnormal, a leader can have socially conservative opinions as long as they defend their opinions, rather than avoid them or bend over to hysterical mobs.
Like Rempel, O'Toole would give journalists nothing valuable to report about his socially conservative views. He would fair better in a general election than Rempel, but he might fall into the same trap as Scheer and end up being viewed as weak among conservatives. That could cost him seats in key regions.
In the event of a Trudeau collapse, O'Toole has the best chance of dipping into the soft, disenfranchised Liberal vote. In so doing, though, he risks turning away valuable conservative votes like Scheer did. Depending on how bad Liberals fail, O'Toole would make a good leader in a general election, or he'd be just another repeat of Scheer. Only time could tell.
Derek Sloan & Leslyn Lewis
Not enough is yet known about these two candidates, but there is a lot of hope to be had. Lewis is a black lawyer who happens to be a female, while Sloan recently declared that he is a social conservative but that he won't allow himself to be cast as a candidate who runs solely on socially conservative issues.
Sloan claims he won't back away from the abortion debate and that he has a list of at least 40 bold ideas he plans to reveal during the race. Lewis is a single mom with a PhD and the first black woman to ever run for a party leadership in Canada. She also spent decades gaining a reputation as a fierce lawyer in Ontario.
Both of these unknown candidates have potential, so we should pay close attention to what they do next.
Under Peter Mackay, Canada's conservative movement would be doomed. The big C party will either become more of an ill-defined joke, or a total electoral failure—or both. The party might succeed in the next election with a mushy progressive at the helm, but it would veer off into an unsustainable and undefined future as a centrist party. The other scenario could see the party lose again in the next election—because it veered too much toward the centre.
The better part of the latter scenario is that Conservatives can go through the whole process of redefining themselves with new leadership, yet again, if Mackay fails miserably and helps Liberals secure another majority. If Conservatives win the next election, only because Liberals lose whatever moral footing they have left with Canadians, the CPC will go on to become just another centrist party and lose its entire conservative base over time. The party would bleed to death slowly, just like Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives.
Mackay isn't respected among younger conservatives. Moderates within the Conservative Party think he is a neo-con and social conservatives think he's a weak progressive. Neither side trusts him and Mackay's only friends in the Conservative Party are within the old establishment. If he wins the leadership, it would be because the party elites and old guard wanted him to win, not because grassroots conservatives did.
That's a recipe for disaster.
Canada can't afford a long term disaster like Peter Mackay. We can either sit back idly and let him win, or we can start organizing behind someone who can stop him.
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