Yesterday, we got news on two fronts. First was the BC Liberal leadership race where Kevin Falcon became new leader and then Pierre Poilievre announcing he is running for Conservative leader. Below are my thoughts on the two.
Kevin Falcon won BC Liberal leadership race and it wasn’t even that close. He was not my first choice (mine was Ellis Ross) and in fact my fifth choice, but I do plan to support him come next election. Still I suspect Horgan is feeling pretty good as Falcon I believe will have a tough time beating the NDP. He is very capable no doubt, but too attached to past administration and I believe that parties come back through renewal not rehashing back to the past. Maybe he will surprise us during the campaign, but I think party has still not come to terms that it lost and needs to change. I was a huge supporter of him as cabinet minister back then, but its 2022, not 2001 and what worked 20 years ago won’t today. My bigger worry long term is if he loses, party will move right. I am glad party blocked Aaron Gunn and I hope BC Liberals resist temptation to move rightward. We lost last two elections due to federal Liberal voters ditching party and in Lower Mainland where right wing populism isn’t too popular. We did not lose due to name or association with Trudeau (no one in British Columbia associates BC Liberals with federal Liberals, that is a myth). Still I am glad so far that party has largely stuck with being a traditional right of centre fiscally conservative, but socially progressive party. And I hope it stays there. We don’t need to change of values, we just need to adapt those to fixing problems of the 2020s, not problems of the 2000s. Also without a seat in the legislature, that is not helpful. My hope is Wilkinson now that new leader is chosen resigns his seat and that Falcon runs in by-election there. That will allow him to get a seat in legislature.
Other big news is Pierre Poilievre is first out of gate announcing he will run for Conservative leader. There is no question he is the frontrunner and will be tough to beat for Conservative leader. However, while I believe base loves him, I do not believe he is the right person to return the party to government. I definitely will not be supporting him for next leader and if chosen, I will not campaign or in anyone assist the party. I may plug my nose and vote Tory, go independent, spoil my ballot, or on off chance Liberals have a more centrist leader like Champagne, may even go Liberal (won’t vote for Trudeau or Freeland however).
Reason I don’t think he can win is too much of a pit bull which is a huge turnoff, especially to female voters. Also he comes across as very much a libertarian and I don’t think Canadians are interested in going down that path. His whole talk about freedom quite frankly sounds very American and asides from the rabid base and maybe some PPC supporters, I cannot see it winning over a lot of swing voters. Canada is by and large a free country and most recognize that. Likewise we are also a compassionate country that cares about others and I feel he tries to appeal to much to selfishness which may sell in rural Prairies and perhaps large swaths of US (although not all of country), but won’t go over well here. Most in Canada accept that part of living in a society means having rules to serve greater good. We may argue over fine details and not always agree with all rules, but most accept their legitimacy. Many thinking he will win go on false assumption most Canadians loathe Trudeau as much as they do. When reality is Trudeau may not be wildly popular, but he isn’t loathed by wide swaths of the population. A lot may see him as a lightweight, prone to do stupid things, and weak on economy, but few see him as a tyrant, someone who will destroy economy and other stuff you hear from right. Others think with inflation and high housing prices, Liberals are doomed no matter what, but I am not so sure. For starters 8 of 10 provinces have small c conservative governments and lots may decide we have enough conservatives as is and don’t need more. More interestingly enough is two non-conservative premiers have positive approval ratings along with Tim Houston of Nova Scotia and Dennis King. Those two are Red Tories and are much different than Poilievre. Legault is popular too but while centre-right, quite distinct from federal Tories. Other five have negative to varying degrees, but Kenney who Poilievre is most like is least popular and is trailing by double digits in the polls in Alberta. Never mind, we live next door to US and we’ve seen plenty of politicians like Poilievre and most don’t like what they see. That being said Liberals would be wise to not underestimate him as surprises can happen. But I think Tories choosing Poilievre is a massive gamble that is more likely to fail than succeed.
Reason I cannot support him is I believe in these tough times, we need a uniter not a divider. Trudeau hasn’t been great here, but Poilievre will just pour more gasoline on it further dividing our country. Uniting isn’t easy, but a more centrist leader can at least be respected by Canadians coast to coast even if they don’t always agree with all their policies. I like Poilievre believe government is too large, but I don’t think it requires radical prescriptions. I think smart centre-right prescriptions are what we need. We need a Mulroney of the 21st century, while he is a Thatcher of the 21st century and that is not what we need. I like appeal of smaller government, but I am also a pragmatist and real world data shows that Trudeau’s growth of it is hurting our growth and standard of living, but going in opposite direction creates a whole bunch of other problems. So we need someone who finds the sweet spot of government large enough to deal with major issues we cannot solve on our own, but small enough it doesn’t harm growth and prosperity of country. O’Toole got this balance, Poilievre does not. As per earlier posts, O’Toole lost due to flip flops and his position on vaccine mandates and guns; he did not lose for being too centrist. Those saying we need a real true conservative don’t understand Canada, our history, and our values. Canada doesn’t elect right wing ideologues and our demographics which are very urban, diverse, and educated make winning on such platform even tougher than in most countries. I think trucker convoy reveals a lot about who one is and while I understand everyone is frustrated pandemic has dragged on too long, I believe convoy appeals to the worst of who we are, not the best. My Canada is one that cares about others and one where people do their part to improve society. Trucker convoy is about selfishness and acting like a spoiled child when you cannot get your way rather than respecting in a democracy its about compromise and listening to others, not throwing temper tantrums every time things aren’t to your full liking.