I had all along planned to write a blog on my thoughts on Poilievre becoming next Conservative leader, but with the death of the Queen, I felt I should write something on that. Even though she lived to 96, for most of us who have never known any other head of state of UK and Commonwealth realms in our life time, it will take time to get used to her no longer being here. She was a long lasting Queen and served with dignity. Canada always had a special place in her heart and that was shown with her 22 visits to country. Whether one supports the monarchy or not, now is time to mourn the loss of the longest serving British monarch and 2nd longest of any country (Louis XIV holds that record) and talk on future of the monarchy can and should be discussed at some later date once the mourning is over.
Now after giving my brief tribute to Queen, here are my thoughts on Poilievre winning Conservative leadership race. Below I will give thoughts on results of race, thoughts on where I go, and thoughts on next general election. Poilievre won decisively getting 68% of points and came in first in all but 8 ridings and of those 8, all but one were urban central where Tories tend to not do well. There is no question he represents the direction the party wishes to go. Party may still have some divides, but it is more united than its ever been as this is most decisive win in the four leadership races the modern party has had. With the amount of people he signed up, it is clear something is happening but at this point still unclear whether its just a widening divide or there is a true desire for major change. As for moderates, results are mixed. On one hand fact he dominated almost all ridings suggests many did endorse him, but fact absolute votes was highest in Alberta while in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, GVRD, and GTA had low vote totals does suggest quite possible many former PCs like myself have decided they can no longer support party and have moved on and no interest in coming back.
As for where I will go. I had said I would rip up my membership card and I am sticking to that plan. His acceptance speech was very good and if that is what he campaigned on all along, I would have no trouble supporting him. But I cannot ignore his past and there is too much negatives there for me to feel comfortable supporting a Poilievre led party. I will not vote for Liberals if led by Justin Trudeau, but for me to vote for a Poilievre led Conservative party, he has a lot of work to do and better hope election not called anytime soon. I will not campaign or donate to a Poilievre led Conservative, but whether I vote for them or not, I want to see platform and where party goes. If an election were held today, I would spoil my ballot or vote Independent, but one is not. However, as someone who is still fairly centrist, I must say I worry about the hollowing out of centre and growing polarization. I don’t think its good for the country and I wish both parties would tack closer to centre even if base doesn’t want it as I believe leaders should lead and do what is best for country not what helps them politically.
In terms of next election, my guess is Trudeau and NDP try to ride out likely recession coming and hope by 2025 things like inflation, affordability and other issues hurting government have blown over and good chance they do. Fatigue with Liberals definitely setting in, but there are still large swaths of country that are not comfortable with a strong rightward shift meaning Liberals still have a very good chance in election. His decisive win shows one of two things and I think #1 is correct but I guess we shall find out.
- Tory base has become more and more detached from country and we now are in a stage of a progressive majority vs. a conservative minority and with so little in common, it means we need to get used to Liberals winning almost all the time until party changes, which it might if it gets tired of losing.
- There is a large backlash against left and Trudeau government and people no longer want cosmetic changes, they want big ones. And living in a large urban centre where progressive policies popular, I may be missing it as people like Poilievre will never do well in large urban centres while will dominate rural areas. Real question is where do smaller urban areas and suburbs fall and I will admit possible that living in a very large city, being educated, and well to do has blinded me to things. Polls suggest this is not happening but always possibility missing it.
3 thoughts on “Death of Queen and Poilievre becomes Conservative leader”
Good analysis Miles!
A few things I noticed:
The combined Baber and Lewis result was nearly as high as Charest’s result. Those would have likely gone to Poilievre on a hypothetical later ballot before Charest, meaning that if stretched out to a two-man race, Poilievre would have likely reached over 80% of the vote.
If you look at the non-Poilievre vote, a few things stick out. Lewis did decently in rural southern Ontario (closer to her home riding) and some Prairie ridings, and also did okay in some ridings with large ethnic communities. However, she was demolished in Quebec (only beating the national number in two ridings) and the less diverse, upper-class urban ridings. She definitely underperformed 2020, but that could be because Poilievre had more support from libertarian-leaning social moderates/progressives and populists, a group that never really had a horse in that race and many defaulted to Lewis.
Baber’s support was concentrated in Ontario, which was not unexpected. He appeared to do best in the more working class ridings. There were quite a few ridings in the province where he finished second. I’m guessing those were the hardcore anti-establishment types who thought even Poilievre was not strong enough.
Aitchison was only a factor in his home riding (where he was second), otherwise in most ridings he finished fifth. He never really got much traction.
Charest had a clear divide. In Quebec, he was first or second in every riding (and well ahead of third). Atlantic Canada was a mixed bag, but there were numerous ridings where he finished third (mostly ones the CPC hold now). Once west of the Ottawa River, he did decently in affluent, urban ridings where education levels are higher – those places likely still have traditional Red Tories and are the ridings that have been trending leftward. It’s with the working class and rural areas where Charest was shredded though. In 60 ridings (over half of those being in Ontario), he finished fourth behind both Lewis and Baber. Even in regions, that is visible, since if you look at London – Fanshawe (working class) Charest was 4th, while he was a close-ish 2nd in North Centre (educated and affluent). Also, if you look at Winnipeg, in South Centre he was a close 2nd but in Transcona he was a distant 4th.
It seems the divide is becoming bigger and bigger. Can the Liberals grab the Charest vote? That is the question. A more moderate leader likely would be able to, but Trudeau and Freeland are probably still too far left.
Largely concur and my thoughts on those who didn’t win in support.
Aitchison – Proof nice guys finish last
Baber – Mostly in Ontario where known and besides his own riding generally did best in areas lockdowns were most unpopular, somewhat along lines of PPC support in Ontario
Charest – Mostly urban upper middle class educated areas he did best. My thinking is this group is culturally aligned with Liberals but doesn’t like big spending, large deficits, and tax hikes on higher earners so if Liberals were more like Martin/Chretien type, they could win this group over. Sort of akin to your Romney-Biden types and Tory Remain in UK however both are larger cohorts in those countries than Canada.
Lewis – Mostly in rural areas that are very socially conservative but a few ethnically diverse areas. Did horrible in Quebec like Baber and Aitchison as none of the three speak good enough French to win there so no surprise.
It does seem the libertarian anti-establishment tact is a way to unite social conservatives and moderates but how long that lasts hard to say. Mike Harris, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan all took over more moderate parties when there was a growing feeling left had overplayed its hand and won and brought along moderates. So maybe Poilievre will be like that. But I kind of think the small government era is over even if some feel thanks to covid government got a little too big, but as covid rules become a distant memory desire for much less government in one’s life should fade. Most other populists tend to more culturally conservative or anti-immigration, not small government types. There are parties like Poilievre such as FDP in Germany LI in Portugal but neither came anywhere near forming government.