Sunday, March 19, 2017

Canadian Conservative leadership candidates an uninspiring bunch

I am not a Conservative, that much will be clear to anyone reading any of these blog posts. Neither am I a Liberal, other than in a very small-l kind of way (although I will admit to entertaining some hopes for the progressive platform of Justin Trudeau, before he started to lose his way). Nor, for that matter, do I support the NDP, at least not since Tom Mulcair decided to throw their traditional values under the bus in the pursuit (presumably) of populist votes. In a world where strategic voting was not needed, I would probably vote Green, if anything.
So, I am observing the ongoing d├ębacle of the Conservative Party of Canada leadership campaign with something like dispassion. But, boy, am I glad I'm not a Conservative. What a bunch they have, vying to lead the party and, potentially, the country! What an unedifying and depressing spectacle!
Where once there were fourteen candidates, we are now effectively down to four:
  • Kevin O'Leary, defiantly unilingual and expatriate reality TV personality and businessman, with no political experience and no personal charm, self-consciously copying Donald Trump almost note for note with his social media outbursts and his petulant allegations of unfairness.
  • Maxime Bernier, clearly not a Conservative at all but an unrepentant Libertarian, complete with plans for an extreme scaling back of government, and carrying with him the baggage of his earlier disgrace when he left sensitive government documents with his biker gang-related girlfriend.
  • Kellie Leitch, a firebrand populist also hoping to jump on the Trump bandwagon (despite evidence from the recent Dutch election that right-wing populism may no longer be the flavour of the month), with her stridently anti-immigration, nativist slant.
  • Andrew Scheer, perhaps the least offensive of the four and the favourite of the Conservative caucus, but lacking in star-power, personality and (perhaps) electability.
The race has already started to get nasty, with name-calling and allegations being bandied around, although still nothing like to the extent of the Trump nomination race. And now there are allegations of widespread fraud and vote-rigging, which O'Leary is determined to pin on Bernier, but which, in my opinion, seems much more likely to emanate from the O'Leary campaign itself.
All in all, not a pretty sight. Perhaps, I should be pleased to see so many apparently unelectable Conservatives, but then that's what we said about the American Republican Party a year ago. And look how that turned out.

It's looking like my initial suspicions about the vote-buying issue may well have been correct. A Brampton-based O'Leary official was probably responsible for fraudulently purchasing Conservative Party memberships using pre-paid VISA cards. O'Leary then tried to lay the blame his main competitor. If, like me,you thought O'Leary was sleazy, then your suspicions are more than confirmed.

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