We are in the home stretch, more or less. The contest to see who will be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada (and potentially Canada’s next Prime Minister) has been narrowed to six candidates.
I think there were about a dozen this time last week, as candidates scrambled to meet the deadline to gain the signatures of party members and raise the $300,000 entry fee. Several of those who assured the media they would make the cut didn’t.
The first leadership debate is tonight, a private event, and ballots will be counted September 10. The first public debate is May 11.
It is going to be an interesting race. The problem for all candidates will be to strike a balance. All are conservative in their outlook, some more so than others.
Several pf those who don’t make the cut are crying foul, saying they met the requirements but still weren’t accepted as candidates. This has happened in previous races.
So called social conservatives make up a significant percentage of the party membership, but there is a perception the country doesn’t want a socially conservative Prime Minister. The theory is a more centrist leader is required, and the party powers-that-be are not thrilled at having too many social conservatives on the ballot. They don’t want candidates,or the media focusing on policies that are not considered mainstream.
At least three of those who failed to make the cut this time around are social conservatives, and their supporters are upset. They feel there should be a variety of social conservatives on the ballot in the hopes one will win.
One of the people I had hoped to see on the final ballot was Leona Alleslev, who probably wouldn’t be classified as a social conservative. She declared her candidacy late and couldn’t raise enough money in the short time period to meet the deadline. To me that is a shame – she would have had a broad appeal, and, from what I know of her, would be a much better Prime Minister than the incumbent.
The focus for the candidates now is on selling party memberships, as only party members can vote. The cut-off date for that is June 3.
Political leadership campaigns say a lot about who we are as a country. Or at least about the political party in question.
Which is a higher consideration, policy or pragmatism? Is it more important for a candidate to be electable, or to espouse the basic tenets of the party? How much compromose is a good thing? Or is any compromise bad?
All of the six Conservative candidates think they are electable, think they will become Prime Minister. They wouldn’t be running otherwise.
It will be interesting to see what the voters think, in September when the leader is chosen and whenever the next federal election is held.