Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2017/ Conservative Leadership Race

Conservative Leadership Race

I am writing this on the morning of May 27. This evening the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada will be announced. In my filter bubble this has not gotten much attention, but deciding who the new leader will be is critically important. I do not intend to support the Liberals in the next election, so regardless of who I vote for I will probably be helping elect the Conservatives next election. (Thanks, First Past the Post. Thanks, Justin Trudeau.)

To the extent that I have been aware of the candidate race at all, it has been via some interviews on Canadaland Commons (before that podcast imploded), and reading/hearing a lot of political snark about Kellie Leitch and Kevin O'Leary. But O'Leary is out of the race and Leitch appears to be doing poorly in the polls (thank goodness). According to Wikipedia the frontrunners appear to be Maxime Bernier (a hard libertarian), Erin O'Toole (a reddish Tory?) and Andrew Scheer (a big tent conservative?).

I think people on the left most wanted Michael Chong to win, because he is the most unabashed Red Tory. This may be why the Conservative Party has largely rejected him. That is kind of a shame; I do not agree with all of his policies and think he would have trouble getting along with others, but he is principled and an advocate for democratic reform (if not outright electoral reform). He understands that centralization of power in the Prime Minister's office is a big problem (at least, he understands that before he is in power). But if we really wanted him to win we should have all bought Convervative party memberships, and I didn't. (Disclaimer: I am inclined to like him because he gave a talk for FVC once. Also he is local and I know one constituent who likes him.)

Bernier would be a radical choice. Stephen Harper was many things, but he was not a libertarian. If Bernier becomes Prime Minister he will want to privatize everything and get rid of all kinds of social programs, which certainly will not sit well with the big-government Left but may also alienate Conservative voters. It is also not clear how much he will pander to social conservatism. On the other hand, there is a solid libertarian base (most of whom work in IT, it seems) that has money and would gladly drop their current political affiliations to support him.

I do not know who is going to win. I will note that although the Conservatives think First Past the Post is good enough for Canadian Elections, they (like every other political party) do not think it is good enough to elect their new leader. Instead they are using instant runoff voting. This is something to keep in mind the next time Conservatives defend our broken voting system as "serving us well" or whatever. In doing so, all these politicians (Conservative and Liberal) demonstrate the degree to which they are all hypocrites who do not deserve our trust.