Thunder Bay – ANALYSIS – The race for the leadership of the federal Conservative Party of Canada is in many ways putting the future of the official opposition into a battle of the past against the future.
Arguably the main battle appears to be between Pierre Poilievre and Jean Charest.
In some ways in the battle for the hearts and votes of Conservatives it is a return to the 1990’s where the Reform Party was challenging the Progressive Conservatives.
Jean Charest was one of the two remaining Progressive Conservative Members of Parliament following the on October 25, 1993. In that election the Liberal won a majority and the Reform Party took over seats in Western Canada electing 52 MPs.
Pierre Poilievre came out of the Reform to Canadian Alliance shift, having worked on the campaigns to draft Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day as leader of the Canadian Alliance.
Charest left Parliament to take on the leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party – after basically a draft movement from across Canada encouraged him to do so.
Over the past terms in the official opposition, Pierre Poilievre has become effectively the master of questioning Liberal Ministers and parking his questions in short demands for a yes or no answer.
Jean Charest brings a wider and longer scope of leadership to the race.
On Social Media
What is interesting is that Pollievre is bringing an almost Donald Trump rally style to his leadership campaign. He is combining that with a very slick social media campaign that generates a lot of interest to his 334,000 followers on Twitter.
Thanks to the 4,000+ who came out last night in Edmonton.
Let’s create an economy of paycheques – not debt – and put people back in control of their lives.
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) April 15, 2022
Jean Charest has 19,400 Twitter followers. At times Charest has been a little like Peter MacKay when he challenged for the Conservative leadership, on the whole the ‘ring rust’ of not being in the daily battleground of partisan politics is showing.
In this week’s Coffee With Jean, he talks about how his Flexible Childcare Policy makes life for families more affordable and creates economic growth. If you believe in childcare choice for parents, get your membership: https://t.co/Hpnsdn6Oga #CDNPoli pic.twitter.com/DY7WeCpMJf
— Jean Charest (@JeanCharest_) April 16, 2022
The two leadership challengers actually appear to dislike each other.
There have been interviews on television where supporters have gone full out against the other in a manner that makes it appear healing those political wounds is going to be hard after a winner is declared.
The real battle for the eventual winner of the Conservative leadership race will be with the Justin Trudeau Liberals.
From BC to Alberta to Ontario to Quebec, Canadians have a clear choice.
Choose the leader who can defeat the Trudeau-NDP government.
— Jean Charest (@JeanCharest_) April 13, 2022
Charest announced that all his campaign entry fees, $300,000 have been paid in full and that he has officially confirmed his place on the ballot.
“I’m proud to have achieved this milestone less than five weeks after my campaign launched. In this short period of time, we’ve raised over one million dollars, I’ve travelled to six provinces, held dozens of in person events, met with thousands of Canadians, pledged tens of thousands of Conservative Party members, signed up 1,500 volunteers and 400 full time ground organizers, and doubled the amount of Conservative party members in Quebec and we are just getting started,” states Charest. “I am hearing the same thing across the country: Canadians have had enough of slogans, soundbites and poor judgement. Only a sound and credible alternative can beat the NDP-Trudeau Government, and I am that candidate”.
Pierre Poilievre is running on a campaign to make the lives of Canadians freer.
“Governments have become too accustomed to calling the shots and dictating how you should live your life. That is going to change when I become Prime Minister. I believe in Canadians over government. I believe we need to innovate, compete and challenge ideas free from excessive government control.
“I am running for Prime Minister to put you back in charge of your life and to make Canada the freest nation on earth. This is not a campaign. This is a cause. And I can’t do it alone.”
Poilievre has become a master of coining phrases that appeal to his audience and prospective audience.
“Grown adults live in their parents’ basements because they are among the 9 in 10 aspiring home buyers who have given up on finding a home. Food inflation forces single moms to skip meals, so their kids don’t have to, 4 in 5 families cut back on groceries and carbon taxes inflate heat and gas bills on fixed-income seniors. Now, the interest rate hikes caused by this reckless spending will force families and businesses into debt, putting many at risk of bankruptcy. The hike will add $6 billion in additional annual debt interest costs to taxpayers. Homeowners, already struggling to pay the mortgages on their overpriced homes, will see a typical variable-rate mortgage payment increase by about $4000 a year,” states the Conservative leadership candidate. “I would reverse JustinFlation with common sense policy, including: axing the carbon tax, phasing out inflationary deficits by ending wasteful spending and canceling new promises and removing the gatekeepers to make more of what cash buys – energy, food and housing”.
While there are other candidates who could be right now at least considered ‘dark horses’ in the race, like Patrick Brown for example. it appears at present this is a two horse race.
Perhaps that is exactly what Brown wants however. Brown has
The stakes for this leadership race couldn’t be higher.
A CPC led by Pierre Poilievre will double down on division and only give Canadians reasons to vote AGAINST us.
I’m running for leader because I know how to build a winning Conservative Party that unites all Canadians. pic.twitter.com/MVaywrhp2z
— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) April 8, 2022