Monday, October 2, 2023

Jonathan Kay: My secret recipe for a Conservative leader who can win

I hate writing these Here’s-What-the-Conservative-Party-Needs pieces because it’s a well-worn genre, and every specimen tends to circle back predictably to the author’s own parochial interests. But someone’s got to step in to save the current leadership campaign from its descent into farce. This week’s video ad from Peter MacKay — a hyperactive light show that looked like it’d been created by Spaceship Guy from the Lego movies — came off as a particularly loud cry for help. The same is true of MacKay’s slogans, apparently programmed by a sentence-generating app locked in on Tautology mode: “Canada is free because Canadians keep it free,” “Canada is strong because Canadians make it strong,” and “I am proud because Canadians make me proud.”

MacKay has a reputation as a smart and conscientious politician. But the epileptic’s nightmare he’s spamming Canada with shows how hard it’s become for a Conservative to speak in anything except the blandest generalities. Canadians now inhabit a skewed social-media-dominated cultural and political space that stigmatizes not only conservative opinions, but even widely held centrist views that have been branded as wrongthink.

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