Michael Harris on How to Destroy the Conservative Brand
Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and Erin O'Toole. To Michael Harris they're the unforced errors of the Conservative Party.
The Conservative Party of Canada’s slide into irrelevance has turned into a bobsled run.
Alberta United Conservative Party Premier Jason Kenney made two epic messes. Dealing with the pandemic by whistling past the graveyard. And pissing away millions of dollars trying to paint critics of the fossil fuel sector as enemies of Alberta (demonizing prophets in the name of profits).
When all was said and done, instead of being seen as the champion of Alberta, he’s come off looking like an uninformed clown on climate change and COVID-19. It’s just a question of who will get this former Stephen Harper cabinet star first: voters in the next election, or his own party.
The stubborn stain that just will not come out - Stephen Harper.
And then there are the comments and activities of former prime minister Stephen Harper, who clings to the public limelight like a fading movie star.
Recall that in the summer the persistent shadow he casts over the Conservative party intensified. He popped up in the news slamming “woke” culture and calling Justin Trudeau’s pandemic spending “overkill” — even as his consulting firm reportedly snapped up the available federal wage subsidy.
Harris writes that Harper has amassed a litany of tawdry dealings in the private sector including sucking up to Saudi prince MBS and trying to flog spyware to dictators around the world. The sort of stuff that would haunt a relatively unpopular hack trying to stage a comeback.
Enter the wobbly noodle, Erin O'Toole.
It comes down to this. The man is so politically flexible no one knows what he really stands for, including his own base. Or if he stands for anything at all, other than winning power.
O’Toole used the throne speech to rededicate his party to the fossil fuel industry and to putting everyone to work. How clever is that? Canadians just chose climate action, Indigenous reconciliation and the management of the pandemic over his plan by a wide margin. O’Toole has ignored their verdict.
Did this guy watch anything coming out of COP26? Did he miss the weather Armageddon in British Columbia? Or on the East Coast? Has he read a single report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Does he realize that teenagers across the country and around the world are more in touch with what is needed from our politicians than he is?
Harris says exiled/not exiled Saskatchewan senator, Denise Batters, had the measure of O'Toole when she released this statement:
“O’Toole has reversed his own positions from his leadership campaign, betrayed Conservative principles, lost seats in the election, and cannot win the next election.”
This should be good news and smooth sailing for Justin Trudeau. A demoralized, divided right was the open door Chretien was pushing on to win successive majority governments.