Friday, June 2, 2023

Kelly McParland: Does party leadership need to have always been a career goal?

If you were making a movie out of the Conservative leadership race, it would be something like the scene from the classic Marlon Brando film On the Waterfront, in which Terry Malloy, the boxer ordered to throw a fight, complains to his mobster brother, “I coulda’ been a contender. I could’ve been somebody.”

The Tories coulda’ been a contender. They had the potential candidates for a competitive race with interesting choices. Some strong, experienced women. An East versus West dynamic. Social conservative versus Red Tory. Even a blast from the past in the form of Jean Charest, whose ongoing problems with Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is straight out of the mobster motif of the Brando film.

But no. Instead, the most interesting people dropped out (no offence, leftovers) and we get Peter MacKay versus Erin O’Toole, with a spattering of also-rans hoping for their Kevin O’Leary moment, though presumably without O’Leary’s debt problem. There’s still a chance Calgary MP Michelle Rempel will join the race and give it some verve, but, honestly, how many egos are there out there willing to scrounge together $300,000 and the requisite signatures for the pleasure of boasting, “Look at me, I’m a candidate, too!” In case anyone is still unclear on what they’re up against, MacKay’s campaign made a point of forking over the entire 300 Large in one lump sum just days after his official launch, and reportedly still has $100,000 left over.

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