These days, being a good reporter/columnist/pundit is all about creating a narrative first, with facts and reality yadda yadda a distant second. With that in mind, I’m excited to announce that I’ve discovered the narratives the press will soon be using to frame the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, whoever it may be.
If Kellie Leitch wins…
Conservatives have abandoned their principles, and very likely their souls, in embracing Trump-style populism and xenophobia. Since Canadians are a fundamentally inclusive, welcoming people, the Tory Party has signed its suicide note, made itself irrelevant, and the only question remaining is how gigantic Justin Trudeau’s re-election victory will be.
- “In response to Leitch, Red Tories eyeing Trudeau”
- “Is Leitch becoming an alt-right hero?”
If Kevin O’Leary wins…
Conservatives have chosen to embrace a Trump-style cult of celebrity rather than a party guided by clear or coherent principles. O’Leary’s ignorance of Canada and Canadian things makes Michael Ignatieff look like John A. Macdonald. That said, O’Leary’s many important differences from Trump — namely his openness to multiculturalism and hostility to social conservatism — shows just how admirably distinct Canada’s political culture is from America’s.
- “O’Leary said he looks forward to meeting ‘fellow heads of state;’ we got thirty constitutional experts to explain why he’s wrong.”
- “Is O’Leary actually the anti-Trump?”
If Maxime Bernier wins…
Conservatives have rejected radicalism — or have they? The distractions of the Leitch and O’Leary campaigns caused many to overlook the fact that the new Tory leader will be running in the next federal election on the most hard-right platform in Canadian history, pushing a cold-hearted agenda of deregulation and privatization topped off by enormous, unaffordable tax cuts for the wealthy.
- “Ayn Rand, F.A. Hayek — meet the extremist philosophers influencing the new Conservative leader”
- “Could the Conservatives’ first Quebec leader do worse than Harper in Quebec?”
If Andrew Scheer wins…
Conservatives have shown themselves to be deeply cautious and risk-adverse in selecting a young leader offering little ideological distance from the failed Stephen Harper orthodoxy rejected decisively by voters in 2015. Most worryingly, the openly pro-life Scheer possesses none of Harper’s instinctive caution towards the Christian fundamentalist wing of the party, who are now firmly in the driver’s seat at a time when Canada’s debates over social issues have never been more settled.
- “After years in the wilderness, Canada’s religious right eyes new levels of influence”
- “Is this Stockwell Day all over again?”
If Lisa Raitt or one of that set wins
Conservatives have rejected the global wave of populism in selecting a calm and moderate leader who stands as a living testament to the fundamentally cautious, centrist instincts of the Canadian people. This new leader is a principled, pragmatic Red Tory in the best tradition of Robert Stanfield or Joe Clark, with an attractive personality and sympathetic backstory that is likely to give Trudeau a run for his money in 2019.
- “Despite new leader’s moderate appearance, many fear Conservative ‘hidden agenda.'”
- “Joe Clark offers lessons on how to lose to a Trudeau with dignity.”