I was originally planning on attending last Saturday’s Conservative Leadership Convention, but a change of schedule meant I couldn’t make it to Toronto. So I watched on television. I jotted down some thoughts as the show progressed. Since I already had a number of posts scheduled, this is the first opportunity.
- There were, as I have said before, too many candidates. Fourteen candidates and a tight race meant it went a full 13 rounds. I was thankful that the voting was conducted mostly by mail and it was a ranked ballot, with every one of the 259,000 party members having a vote. If a delegated convention had run that many ballots they might still be voting – it takes a while to conduct a vote, and each ballot could take a couple of hours to conduct. It still ran about an hour longer than I had hoped.
- Six months ago (maybe more) I told my friends and colleagues it was going to come down to a choice between Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier. I was right. I voted for both, though neither was my first choice. When the campaign began I favoured Bernier, though admitted I had a soft spot for Scheer because I knew his parents. As the campaign progressed Lisa Raitt passed both men in my preferences – though I felt any of the three would make a great Prime Minister.
- I was surprised at how well the self-proclaimed social conservatives, Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux fared. I thought Trost ran a horrible campaign. I liked Lemieux’s (and I like him as a person) but couldn’t see the party choosing someone as leaders who lost their seat in 2015. Their strength though shows that for a large segment of the population the discussion about abortion, euthanasia and marriage isn’t finished.
- When they announced the first ballot results it proved that sometimes ego is bigger than common sense. Reality television star Kevin O’Leary was briefly a candidate (and in his own mind the frontrunner) but dropped out a month ago, after the ballots had been printed. So he received some votes, about one per cent. I wonder how the three candidates who finished behind him felt. Deepak Obhrai, Andrew Saxton and Rick Peterson obviously should not have been in the race. In a democracy of course anything can happen, in theory anyway, and all three must have believed that.
- I said from the outset that I expected Andrew Scheer to win because he wasn’t polarizing, that he would be everyone’s second choice. (I had him ranked above Bernier.) Turns out I was right. Maxime Bernier has perhaps more charisma from a television perspective, but Scheer comes across as a decent family man. He is perhaps almost stereotypically Canadian.
- As he made his way through the media scrum to try and get to the podium Scheer was asked “where do you go from here?” His response? “I am trying to go over there, without stepping on any of my kids” Yes, he’s a Canadian.
- Given that in the 150 year history of Canada only two political parties have formed government, it would seem that Andrew Scheer has a good chance at defeating Prime Minister Selfie in the 2019 election.