Canada’s Conservative leadership race a crowded field

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Click for CBC column.

The current Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) leadership race is quickly becoming a crowded field. For starters, at 13, there are too many candidates, many of whom have no chance of winning.  As well, as Tuesday’s French debate showed, many of the candidates don’t speak even passable French, which is an essential skill in order to lead Canada.

Worst of all though, is the infighting. For example, as I wrote recently, it was completely unnecessary for Lisa Raitt to lash out at Kellie Leitch just because Leitch wants to screen  for Canadian values refugees and immigrants coming from countries where there is terrorism.

Still others, like Kevin O’Leary are, in my opinion, just trying to get attention and latch on to Donald Trump’s popularity to the south. Believe me, O’Leary is not like Trump, who praises all veterans and the military. O’Leary says that while peacekeeping is an honour, being a warrior is not.  Meaning, that to actually fight is not an honour. Well, excuse me. Try telling that to the thousands of men and women who fought, were maimed or gave their lives in World Wars I, II and Korea.

Anyway, at the moment, given all the factors, including passable French, I am leaning towards Andrew Scheer. I also like Leitch, Chong and O’Toole and hope that their French improves. In fact, I have joined the CPC so that I can vote in May when the leadership vote is held. However, that said, I am still willing to look at other candidates.

To me, the key to who has the best chance of running against Justin Trudeau and winning is the candidate who can match Trudeau’s “sunny ways.” Scheer would definitely be equal in that regard as he is young, experienced, personable and has a young family as well. Similarly, O’Toole has presence. Yes, I know they don’t have the charisma of Trudeau but if Canadians get fed up enough with the direction the Liberals are taking the country, I believe that, by 2019, a majority would look carefully at the CPC leader.

The crux of the matter however, is that, for the good the party and country, some of the current candidates need to get out of the race and those who are left need to criticize the Liberals rather than each other.

Is political correctness frightening Canada’s conservative leaders?

happy-canadian-beaverI am getting sick and tired of Ontario’s Patrick Brown and most of the federal Conservative leadership candidates shrinking at media condemnation of the conservative principles they supposedly believe.

I mean, Kellie Leitch can’t even talk about wanting newcomers to our country to be screened for such values as freedom of speech and gender equality, without being labelled a racist and a bigot.

Yet, thankfully Leitch doesn’t shrink from those firmly held beliefs. Follow her on Twitter and you will see what I mean. The woman has courage.

In other words, what I am talking about is the need for conservative leaders in this country to have the courage of their convictions even while under opposition and media fire.

Yet, at the moment, the opposite seems true. For example, Sam Oosterhoff was recently elected in Niagara West-Glanbrook for the Tories.  His leader, PC Leader Patrick Brown had him wait an extra day to be sworn in because Oosterhoff planned to vote against Bill 28. Why? Because the Bill, which was to make it easier for Lesbian and Gay couples to have children, did not include the words “mother” and “father.”

What did Brown fear? Was he concerned that one of his caucus might be labeled a social conservative? Probably.  Read this column from iPolitics, for example, about how social conservatives need not apply to be nominated a PC candidate. Obviously, Brown did not expect Oosterhoff to beat Rick Dykstra in Niagara. Ah, such is democracy!

Now I come to those running for the CPC leadership to replace former PM Stephen Harper.  It is just like a contagious disease. Just as in Ontario, federal Conservative leaders are constantly whining about political correct issues and their attacks on Leitch are unseemly to say the least. The reality is that Canada doesn’t need or want Liberal-Lite Conservative leaders anywhere in this country.

Which reminds me. All we heard from the media after the Trudeau Liberals won in October 2015 was about the nasty hateful tone that the Harper Conservatives had encouraged. Absolute nonsense! Just listen to the hate being thrown at US Republicans and you will know who really was responsible for the negative tone in Canada’s House of Commons and it wasn’t the Conservatives!

The crux of the matter is that Canadian conservatives need leaders that they can support. Just as Jason Kenney is doing in Alberta and Brad Wall in Saskatchewan, conservatives across this country need to know what Conservative leaders would do differently from their Liberal or NDP counterparts.

Yes, I get letters nearly everyday in my inbox from the federal candidates and ONPC Leader Patrick Brown. In the former, even including Leitch and Max Bernier, I have yet to hear a vision that could beat Justin Trudeau in 2019 and one that I can support on this blog.