Monday, October 2, 2023

MacDougall: The Conservative leadership race needs to expand, not contract

So much for expanding the tent.

The way the Conservative leadership race is unspooling, there won’t be enough credible candidates left to screw in the light bulb that so desperately needs to spark up over the party’s head if it is to remove Justin Trudeau from office. Rona Ambrose is out. Jean Charest too. And Pierre Poilievre – a favourite amongst the Conservative membership – is prioritizing family over politics this time around.

We’re now two weeks into the festivities and there are no high-profile female candidates. There are no star candidates with non-white skin. Just two middle-aged white dudes barking at each other over who’s the better Conservative: the slightly pinkish Peter MacKay versus “true-blue” Erin O’Toole.

To be fair to MacKay, it’s O’Toole who’s been doing most of the barking about who’s butch enough to be a “true” Con; MacKay has been too busy spurting tautological Trudeauisms like “Canada is strong because Canadians make it strong” and “Canada is free because Canadians keep it free.” Lord knows Canadian politics is missing lots of things these days but vacuity isn’t one of them. As a former colleague of mine once quipped: “MacKay is our Justin Trudeau.” It wasn’t meant as a compliment.

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