The Knives Are Out


I was confused when I answered the phone. Who conducts a political poll three days after an election?

As the automated caller worked through its questions the purpose became clear. Did I think Canada was moving in the right direction? Press 1 for yes, 2 for no.

Which party did I vote for? (I lied – who I voted for is not any machine’s business). More importantly, what did I think of Conservative leader Erin O’Toole? Did I think he should remain as leader?

Leaving aside the methodological issues in such a survey, it surprised me. Yes the election is over, but they haven’t finished counting the mail-in ballots yet. Mind you, those won’t affect the outcome.

The Conservatives expected to win and for O’Toole to become Prime Minister. Given Justin Trudeau’s track record that seemed a reasonable expectation.

However the voters returned Trudeau’s Liberals, perhaps the most ethically challenged government in Canadian history. They say the people get the government they deserve. You can draw your own conclusions. 

I doubt this particular robocall was authorized by the party. To me though it was a sign that there are those unwilling to wait for a serious postmortem to decide it is time for a new leader.

To try and jumpstart the process would seem to me to be ill advised. There is already a mandatory leadership review following an election loss – but I guess some people aren’t willing to wait for that. They’ll conduct a scientifically inaccurate poll and hope to push the leader out.

For the record, I thought Erin O’Toole ran an excellent campaign. His mistakes were few, he seemed relatable and he stayed on message. 

Yes, he lost. But that may be because it was the first time we had had an election campaign during a pandemic. That is a new variable that will need further study. The incumbent definitely had an advantage in this one as the old ways of campiagning fell by the wayside.

O’Toole became Conservative leader during the pandemic. Due to travel and meeting restrictions, he didn’t meet as many Canadians as he would have liked. In many ways he was an unknown. My thought is that he will improve on his showing next time around. If he doesn’t, the party willl have another opportunity to look at his leadership.

There is a tendency in some political parties to dump the leader after one loss. That explains why Justin Trudeau was the fourth Liberal leader in four elections – his predecessorswere never given a second chance to win.

Sometimes though, a defeat helps grow a politician. Stephen Harper would never have been Prime Minister if he had been forced out after his first election loss as leader. Richard Nixon lost the presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but beat Hubert Humphrey eight years later. One loss did not mean the end of a career.

I have been wondering if we are as a society are becoming more impatient, if our attention span has become shorter. Maybe that is why after an election loss people are rushing to do something without first putting their brains in gear and looking at the situation objectively.

The person who stands to benefit most from dissension in the Conservative party isn’t any of the people who might be potetial leadership candidates should the job become open. It is Justin Trudeau.

If the Conservatives are concentrating on fighting amongst themselves instead of holding the government to account, he will be able to spend to his heart’s content. And, he would probably prefer to face a new Conservative leader in the next election.

Maybe that call about O’Toole’s leadersip came from the Liberals. Stranger things have happened.


One comment

  1. […] words; brave; bohotea; ron; ennenbach; Lorne; […]

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