With the right wing in the United States on quite a roll right now, the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada must be eager to get its ducks in a row and join the good fight.
It’s a bit more of an uphill battle in Canada right now as Justin Trudeau’s more than year-long honeymoon with the Canadian population continues, and his approval ratings remain high. But there is also no federal election looming in the immediate future so the PCs have time to get their house in order.
With Interim Leader Rona Ambrose running things for now, the Party is in the midst of a leadership race to replace former Prime Minister Harper. The convention is scheduled for May of 2017.
Many political watchers agree that fatigue with the controlling Harper assisted Trudeau’s massive victory in October of 2015. There will certainly be no fatigue with whoever is chosen to lead the party next. There will more than likely be a resounding yell of “who?” rolling across the country.
Many times when a federal party picks a new leader, the usual suspects come out of the woodwork. There are always a few new faces, but for the most part, every party has stars, earmarked early for leadership.
But the usual suspects for the Progressive Conservatives have flown the coop, so to speak. Former Justice Minister Peter McKay was always whispered to be an heir apparent. But he’s retired from politics and there has been no indication from his camp that he will run. Another Conservative who was marked early as a future star was Jason Kenney, former government Minister in the Harper administration. However, Kenney has decided to pin his hopes in the more Conservative-friendly confines of Alberta and is running for leadership of the PC Party of Alberta, and with dissatisfaction with the Notley government high, chances are very good he could be the next Premier.
The list of candidates who have declared reads as a who’s not who of politics, although there is plenty of experience there. And I guess someone who keeps their eyes glued to the Ottawa political scene would know them. But for the average Canadian, there are few household names.
Chris Alexander (who?) is a dapper looking fellow, a former ambassador to Afghanistan with an impressive resume.
Maxime Bernier (okay I’ve heard of him) is a four-time MP from Quebec with three Ministerial appointments on his resume.
Steven Blaney (vague recognition) is another long time politician from Quebec. Side bar, when I tried to type politician, spell check insisted I meant ‘pelican’. Not sure what that means.
Michael Chong (rings a bell) is another former government Minister. He is running as a fiscal conservative with a strong environmental policy. Interesting. A child of immigrants he advocates an inclusive Canada.
Kelly Leitch (heard of her and not for great reasons – Canadian values test anyone?) is making headlines recently for some opinions on refugees and screening them that seem a little, dare I say it… Trumpian?
Daniel Lindsay(who?) is such an unknown that his link on the Conservative Party website does not work. That doesn’t bode well.
Deepak Obhrai (another who) has been a Member of Parliament from Calgary since 1997. “Carbon tax not for Canada: Recycled Nuclear Waste energy is.” As a campaign slogan that’s a little clunky, but okay.
Erin O’Toole (yet another who) is a former Minister of Veterans Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade, first elected in 2012.
Lisa Raitt (nope, who?) has been an MP since 2008. Her website contains no information other than she would like you to join her team. Up to you.
Andrew Saxton (nope again) is from BC and was an MP from 2008 to 2015. His background is in finance. He would like you to know that his practical approach to conservatism will serve as the most relevant contrast to win the 2019 election.
Andrew Scheer (who?) begs to differ. He is the one who will unify Conservatives to defeat Trudeau in 2019. He was Speaker of the House for four years. Seems like I should have heard of him.
Brad Trost (Whoville) is 100 per cent Conservative, according to his website. He is an MP from Saskatchewan.
One of the above names will be leaving the land of Who? in 2017. Who will it be?
Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin