EDITORIAL: Conservative Party has to worry about more than replacing Scheer

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

With the knives now firmly planted in Andrew Scheer’s back, there’s a lot of speculation about what went wrong for him. Whether Scheer was ousted as Conservative Party leader because of tuition payments or not, seems like a bit technicality. If he did get ousted over the payments, it seems hard to believe that would have been the case if he had convincingly won the election.

There’s debate on whether Scheer was too far to the right, should have been more supportive of LGBTQ and abortion rights or should have had a climate change plan. Some are even, much like people did about the Republican party in the U.S. prior to 2016, speculating on the “increasingly out of touch” Conservative Party’s future.

You have to be walking around with some serious shutters on to come away with that as your main observation about the party that won a plurality of the popular vote and more total votes than former Conservative leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper ever got.

This is by no means an endorsement for Scheer, rather, a more skeptical look of where the Conservative Party is likely to go, as oppossed to where people who would never vote for them anyways would like to see them go.

Scheer, unlike Harper, faced a challenge on the right from Maxime Bernier’s PPC part. Now, despite failing to win a single seat, depending on how you look at it, the PPC did have a significant effect. In nearly 10 ridings that the Conservatives lost, they would have won had they received the votes that ended up going to the PPC (Yukon, Richmond, Quebec, Kitchener-Conestoga, Hochelaga, Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Miramichi-Grand Lake, Cumberland-Colchester, South Okanagan). Another handful of ridings would have suddenly become nail-bitingly close for the Conservatives. It’s the first time in some years that there’s been a challenge on the right for the Conservatives.

For anyone voting with climate change in mind as their main issue, it’s pretty unlikely the Conservatives would suddenly be your top choice if only they were pro-carbon tax. What it would do, is incentivize a whole lot of people who want to see the carbon tax gone, to look elsewhere. Similarly, as long as there’s another option on the right, moving left on other issues would potentially cost the Conservatives votes.

Bernier has said he’s not going anywhere and intends to compete again in the next election. As long as that’s the case, expect the Conservative Party to go anywhere but left. Opening the door for the PPC to get an actual foothold, would be far more damaging to the Conservative Party in the long run than just about anything else.

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