Monday, October 2, 2023

How the Conservatives’ Leadership Contestant Questionnaire could derail Richard Décarie

As Conservative leadership hopefuls prepare their applications to formally enter the race, they must fill in the party’s 42-page questionnaire. The Leadership Contestant Questionnaire requires candidates to declare they accept “the policies, principles, goals and objectives” of the Conservative Party. But the document could also be the tool used to ban controversial social conservative candidate Richard Décarie from running. The National Post’s Brian Platt, who obtained a copy of the questionnaire from the party, examines the issues — and some of the questions — Décarie faces.

The Décarie question

Décarie is backed by a veteran team of social conservative organizers — including Brad Trost and Russ Kuykendall — who plan to use Décarie’s network in Quebec to make him a serious contender for the leadership. In the 2017 leadership race, Trost finished a surprising fourth out of 14 candidates, surpassing many higher-profile candidates such as Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Lisa Raitt and Steven Blaney. But after Décarie appeared on national TV and claimed that being gay is a choice, he was roundly condemned by other leadership hopefuls, and many senior Conservatives called for him to be disqualified. “It is an unacceptable perspective for a mainstream party,” said Kory Teneycke, a former senior aide to both Stephen Harper and Doug Ford, in a CBC appearance shortly after Décarie’s comments. “My view is he should not be allowed to run. There has to be a line somewhere…. Nobody wants to be in a party that’s defined by bigotry.” (Members of Teneycke’s consultancy firm are working for leadership candidate Peter MacKay, though Teneycke says he’s staying neutral in the race.)

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