CPC: The Race Thickens
BY: Nathaniel Saad
As the May 15th deadline for membership passes, members of the Conservative Party of Canada are watching anxiously as the candidates and voters are set in stone. These last few months have been busy ones as each of the front-runners tried to secure their names as the clear choice for voters. Peter Mackay, the seasoned veteran with a lengthy political career, and Erin O’Toole, the literal veteran and member of parliament, are now head to head in what is proving to be one of the most DARING races for leadership the party has seen. After what some call an ‘upset’ from the last federal election with the reelection of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Tories are left facing a minority Liberal government without a leader of their own, due to Conservative leader Andrew Scheer inability to defeat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and partly due to the fact that Scheer inadequately spent the party’s funding that comes from donations, on matters such as his kids’ private school tuition, clothes, extra housekeeper, and a minivan. Senior members of the Conservative fund which oversee all the party’s finances had no knowledge of this, including former Conservative leader and Prime Minister Steven Harper.
Amidst the increasingly large national debt and plummeting markets, two elements stand out: Rarely has a minority government ever lasted more than 2 years, and rarely are they reelected. This means that whichever candidate comes out on top in this leadership race has increasingly better chances of being the next Prime Minister to the next Conservative government. However, there is a slight delay; usually, minority governments encounter certain delays such as political deadlock and end with the dissolution of parliament, which in turn triggers another election. Whether the current Liberal government was destined to meet the same fate will remain a mystery as the usual pattern of activities was interrupted by the Covid-19 virus. Now, as Canada is on lockdown, all eyes are turned to the four candidates battling for leadership of the blues.
Peter Mackay, initially being viewed as the front-runner, has put more holes in his ship than any other candidate. What was to be his “coronation” quickly became an unsteady campaign after the first few weeks, with Erin O’Toole rising rapidly in the ranks. The latter, being a veteran and current member of parliament, led a solid campaign since the beginning and has been gaining momentum consistently throughout the race. As Mackay played catch-up, we saw a number of well-known politicians and leaders withdraw their names from the race. Now, Derek Sloan and Leslyn Lewis are circulating among the CPC members as well; adding more ingredients to this soup of candidates that is certainly flavoring the broth, but Mackay and O’Toole remain the most potent tastes so far. Nevertheless, the party doesn’t have time for unnecessary contenders; after drastically raising the non-refundable entrance fee to $200,000, making it the most expensive leadership race in the history of Canadian politics, many of the other potential candidates pulled back, leaving the path open for the favorites, Mackay and O’Toole, and the underdogs, Sloan and Lewis. What should come next is the root of the campaign; amidst the difficult circumstances of social distancing, Canadians will be looking for a way to distinguish their favorite candidate. Whether it’s another hurricane of interviews, debates, or speeches, all will lead up to the August 21st vote, when a notable part of the future of the party, as well as the nation, will be determined.