"Stephen Harper with a smile" wins Canadian Conservative leadership race
May 27, 2017 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Earlier tonight, the Conservative Party of Canada brought its long leadership race (previously) to a close with the election of Andrew Scheer. Scheer is a social conservative who got his biggest boost of the night from supporters of anti-abortion candidates Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux, though Scheer, like Harper, appears to be uninterested in re-opening that debate.

The win was close: 51% to 49% on the last round of ranked-ballot counting over libertarian (and "Albertan from Quebec") Maxime Bernier. Presumably, Bernier's plans to eliminate agricultural supply management and get the federal government out of healthcare are out; a return to Harper's targeted tax breaks are in. A carbon tax, supported only by candidate Michael Chong, is definitely out.

Conservative fundraising did very well (warning: autoplay) during the leadership campaign.

Later this year, Canada's left-wing New Democratic Party will also choose a new leader.
posted by clawsoon (104 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I consider myself more engaged in Canadian politics than your average Canadian, and kept abreast of the Con leadership race (through the news and social media and such). I had never heard of Andrew Scheer before I checked on the results today.

Social conservatism is a non-starter in Canada. Abortion is the third rail. Honestly the xenophobic nationalists would have gotten more traction nationally. I honestly fail to see the upside of this choice for the party beyond pleasing a particular segment of their base.
posted by dry white toast at 8:12 PM on May 27, 2017 [6 favorites]


Also, for some context, "Stephen Harper with a smile" was the line from Adam Vaughan, the Liberal MP they sent to talk to the media after the result.
posted by dry white toast at 8:16 PM on May 27, 2017


Scheer has been using "Stephen Harper with a smile" himself, proudly, almost as if he's saving the Liberals the trouble of writing attack-ad copy.
posted by clawsoon at 8:18 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


The good news is the Canadian Donald Trump, Kevin O'Leary, dropped out of the race. The bad news is that the Canadian Mike Pence won.
posted by angiep at 8:24 PM on May 27, 2017 [18 favorites]


Thanks for that further context clawsoon. I admit I missed that. What a strange choice.
posted by dry white toast at 8:25 PM on May 27, 2017


ok, you see, the problem with harper wasn't that he didn't smile, it's that when he did you got stuff like this
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:26 PM on May 27, 2017 [11 favorites]


More Harper-smiling nightmare fuel.
posted by clawsoon at 8:30 PM on May 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


You know that a guy who smiles like that would fuck you over in a hot second if it suited his career goals (and maybe even if it didn't, just so he could keep in practice)...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 8:33 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


i wonder what happened to cenrtral canadian, middle fo the road, reddish tories, did they become grits?
posted by PinkMoose at 8:34 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


With 14 13 contenders, it was hard to remember more than the top 4 or 5 in the leadership race. I confess I know zilch about Scheer.

Have they made the best of a bad slate? Are they hoping for Harper II?
posted by Artful Codger at 8:36 PM on May 27, 2017


i wonder what happened to cenrtral canadian, middle fo the road, reddish tories, did they become grits?

The answer's in the party name. Remember, when they were assimilated by the Reform party, they beat the progressive out of what was the Progressive Conservatives, to become just Conservatives.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:38 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I feel like the best you could say about him is that he didn't have any of the baggage of O'Leary (entitled carpetbagging carnival barker), Leitch (incompetent xenophobe), and Bernier (left confidential government docs at the house of his GF who had biker gang connections), who between them received the lion's share of the media coverage during the race. Michael Chong was the one moderate voice and he came in 8th on the first ballot.
posted by dry white toast at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2017 [4 favorites]


It makes me happy that Chong beat Leitch in the vote (9.14% vs 7.95%) which means there are 1.19% more conservative members who believe in climate change than there are batshit racists.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:45 PM on May 27, 2017 [8 favorites]


Or, rather, they reverted to the original name of the party. They'd been the Conservatives or the Tories since the party was first formed, and Progressive Conservatives was a relatively short-lived rebranding attempt. Progressive Conservatives never made any sense as a name anyway. It's an oxy moron and tantamount to calling a group the Speedy Plodders.
posted by orange swan at 8:46 PM on May 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Every candidate was in one way or another a bad choice to lead the party. They settled on the one who said the fewest dumb things, aside from Chong who went too far towards some kind of actual sanity as if rational policies were the way to win. Nobody in the race appeared to have any real prospect of winning a general election. Very reminiscent of the Liberals when they had their shortage of viable leaders for some years, around 2006 to 2013 after which they finally got desperate enough to give the junior Trudeau a chance.

If the NDP can come up with something, it may be their turn to have a chance again.
posted by sfenders at 9:08 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


With all the caveats about federal and provincial parties being different entities with different planks, I grew up in Ontario, and all my formative years were spent with Bill Davis' moderate sensible Tories running the show (the closing decades of a 42-year stretch with the Big Blue Machine running Queen's Park). In my adolescence and young adulthood, my political beliefs were still forming, but then the one-two punch of a corrupt Mulroney federally and the comically villainous Mike Harris* provincially made me who I am today.

To slightly misquote the endlessly quotable Charlie Brooker, "If the only two parties on the ballot were the Conservatives and the Nazi Party, I would vote Conservative with very heavy heart."

* I have been in the same room with both these politicians: Mulroney in his 1984 campaign, and Harris couple of years after he snuck out the back door and left Ernie Eves to hold the bag. Mulroney, for all his misguided ideas, is magnetic. You see the guy and you just want to get closer and shake his hand. Harris I sat one seat behind on a flight to Halifax, and he exudes skeeve and contempt for the poor. I feel I exercised considerable restraint in not putting the dessert fork into his carotid.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:10 PM on May 27, 2017 [10 favorites]


Anyway, who cares. I'm voting for the Speedy Plodders, just based on the catchy name.
posted by sfenders at 9:11 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Progressive Conservatives was a relatively short-lived rebranding attempt.

The party was renamed "Progressive Conservative" in 1942, and that lasted until 2003.

So, in the overall timeline of Canadian political parties, not particularly short-lived nomenclature.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:12 PM on May 27, 2017 [10 favorites]


PinkMoose: i wonder what happened to cenrtral canadian, middle fo the road, reddish tories, did they become grits?

In some cases, yes, though I wouldn't be surprised if they could be wooed back by a kinder, gentler face on the party. Speaking of reddish Tories, it was interesting that a Mulroney was on the stage tonight. If there's anything that the Reform core hates, it's the elder Mulroney.

Artful Codger: I confess I know zilch about Scheer. Have they made the best of a bad slate? Are they hoping for Harper II?

Scheer is young and dimply. I believe that he was the youngest Speaker of the House in Canadian history. He seems to be well-liked by his caucus colleagues; he was certainly better-liked than Bernier. He's a Catholic with 5 children, and I'm pretty sure he goes to church regularly. In the debates, he was respectful to the other candidates. I read somewhere that he discovered early in the race that his support dropped whenever he attacked other Conservatives in the race, so he saved most of his attacks for Trudeau. (Even then, he manages to sound like a polite young man.) He's personally against abortion and gay marriage, but doesn't think it's a winning issue. He made similar noises about marijuana legalization.

He's someone who lives social conservative values but isn't willing to take a hard stand on them. If he's able to put that stamp on the party, I wouldn't be surprised if many suburban and new Canadian voters find it appealing.
posted by clawsoon at 9:14 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess, as a Canadian, I have someone new to draw.

That is all.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:15 PM on May 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


Progressive Conservatives never made any sense as a name anyway.

In the early forties, it made complete sense. No society is more than three meals away from a revolution, as the saying goes, and in 1942, a lot of the world, Canada included, was wondering where their supper was.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:22 PM on May 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


A 15-year-old Hispanic boy from Texas made a a map of first-round results. It's interesting how strong Scheer's support was in Quebec. I'd love to see a final-round map, too. Where did Bernier's purple flip to Scheer's green in the end?
posted by clawsoon at 9:42 PM on May 27, 2017


Sorry, the 15-year-old just made the map background transparent. My bad. I'd still be interested in a final-round map, though...
posted by clawsoon at 9:44 PM on May 27, 2017




Progressive Conservatives never made any sense as a name anyway. It's an oxy moron and tantamount to calling a group the Speedy Plodders.

Let me introduce you to the Red Tories.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 9:58 PM on May 27, 2017 [2 favorites]




A 15-year-old Hispanic boy from Texas made aa map of first-round results. It's interesting how strong Scheer's support was in Quebec. I'd love to see a final-round map, too. Where did Bernier's purple flip to Scheer's green in the end?


Awesome map! But the answer to your question is nowhere. Since the vote was a ranked ballot, all the preferences are submitted from the start, and the only votes that switch from round to round are the last place candidate's - as opposed to the older convention system where the horse trading and momentum swings happen.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:15 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I consider myself more engaged in Canadian politics than your average Canadian, and kept abreast of the Con leadership race (through the news and social media and such). I had never heard of Andrew Scheer before I checked on the results today.

Anything can happen, but I suspect that not remembering this name will not be a problem a few years from now. He's not even the CPC's Ignatieff. Harper without the Charisma, more like. He's a backroom boy, very much the safe parter insider, but I doubt he has any legs as a leader.

I'm only a little surprised that he's taken it. Bernier was making a lot of noise, but the top of the party did not like him, favouring Scheer or O'Toole. Safe, boring, completely forgettable, I think.
posted by bonehead at 10:29 PM on May 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


I went to university in Kingston and remember sitting in the dining hall one evening and watching Flora MacDonald and Robert Stanfield have supper at the table next to me. Flora was the last Tory I voted for.
posted by angiep at 10:43 PM on May 27, 2017


Bernier would have won!
posted by Space Coyote at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2017 [5 favorites]


A free coffee at Timbos? Maybe next year. There's nothing for him to win in 2020 though.
posted by bonehead at 11:21 PM on May 27, 2017


Hmmm, his only work experience is he briefly sold insurance for a year or two before being elected? He didn't really do anything as an MP. He doesn't have a lot of experience or education (humanities no less, not even real education like STEM or economics). He is very young, not even forty yet. He just doesn't seem ready. Cute baby face tho'.
posted by saucysault at 3:01 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Watch as Canada's Breitbart/Canada's Daily Stormer, the odious Rebel Media(which is ran by... a Jewish person?), attaches itself like a parasite to Scheer.

It will be a marvel and a horror to behold as they drag Canadian politics to new depths of horror and outside influence. I even hear rumour their boy Jack Posobiec might be a Russian spy, but that's clearly nonsense they use to seem exotic and can't remotely be a real possibility. A quiet mouse told me that they employ an English Defence League member, but I might have hallucinated Tommy Robinson.

In a fever dream, I thought that the second-place Conservative leadership contender with a mere 49%+ of the leadership vote, somebody who openly courted Reddit, coyly "Took The Red Pill" and pretended he was making a Matrix reference. Perhaps Maxime Bernier is just a huge fan of an eighteen-year-old Wachowski Sister film!

I looked up in horror at the way the United States is destroying itself, and said to myself, thank you, thank you Canada for making sure this isn't possible here. And then I realized I was looking into a mirror.
posted by Yowser at 3:02 AM on May 28, 2017


Michael Adams of Environics had an interesting article on the Patriarchy in politics and how it tracks with Canadian values. Basically, the socon values are out of step with the majority of Canadians, especially as we seem to be reacting against American embrace of Patriarcal values. It seems that Scheer is making the Reform/Conservatives unelectable. Plus the recent polling is that millenials (now the largest voting block who will only increase in political importance as Boomers die off) reject the fiscal conservative values that screwed millenials in favour of enriching their parents. I'm not sure the conservatives have clear path to parliamentary leadership anymore.
posted by saucysault at 3:25 AM on May 28, 2017 [4 favorites]




I was sure that Bernier had it until my husband--who lived for over 20 years in Quebec quite happily--reminded me to remember that any Tories outside of QC hate the province with a passion so they were never going to give it to him. (We are an NDP family.) When I read this morning it was Scheer, I was like everyone else going, "Who?"

If the Conservatives were looking to run a charismatic engaging candidate against Trudeau in 2019, my feeling is that they failed. I mean, I guess his ultrabland whiteness will be probably work for him, given their base...
posted by Kitteh at 6:50 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was sure that Bernier had it until my husband--who lived for over 20 years in Quebec quite happily--reminded me to remember that any Tories outside of QC hate the province with a passion so they were never going to give it to him.

The beauty of this plan is that they can't win a federal election without Quebec, so win-win?

It's like watching someone who's stepped on a rake shoot themselves in the foot out of spite.

I honestly fail to see the upside of this choice for the party beyond pleasing a particular segment of their base.

Yeah, this seems to bear that out:

"The anti-choice, anti-trans, anti-gay Campaign Life Coalition is pretty pleased with Andrew Scheer's voting record."

Rating Comments: Scheer has an impeccable voting record on life & family issues during his long career as a federal MP.

I think the more electable candidates stood off to the side - or quietly exited the scene altogether - while the current clown car of a leadership slate emptied itself.

I mean, no matter who the Conservatives run, chances are that Trudeau's in there for at least two terms.

This leaves the door open to an Ambrose return after spending some time think-tanking about international trade and policy at the Woodrow Wilson Center, letting the socon wing of the party have their little run at leadership during a period where the party was probably destined to stumble around in the political wilderness anyway, and then stepping back in as the sensible adult who's like "See? I told you this shit wouldn't work. Also, I can actually speak French. Now get out of my way."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:11 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Safe, boring, completely forgettable...

These are not necessarily drawbacks in Canadian politics. If the other guy annoys you enough...

He didn't really do anything as an MP.

Perhaps, but being Speaker and actually running the House -- not just as the place of debate, but an institution where actual people work and things need to be managed -- is roughly equivalent to a ministry, I'd say.

As for his experience, well, I come from Hudak country, where Tim's experience was a couple of years being the assistant manager of a Walmart, and even he had a good chance of winding up in the big chair. And now Hudak country elected a 19 year old first semester poli-sci dropout who's going to tell us all about family values and hydro rates, even though he still lives at home and has never paid a hydro bill in his life.

Experience seems to have less and less to do with it, I'm afraid.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:26 AM on May 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


The Tories, no longer in flux,
Have settled on putting their bucks
On nothing too strange
Or smacking of change
But Stephen J. Harper redux.

--@limericking
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:10 AM on May 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


He's someone who lives social conservative values but isn't willing to take a hard stand on them. If he's able to put that stamp on the party, I wouldn't be surprised if many suburban and new Canadian voters find it appealing.

From what I've read/heard, while he's socially conservative but unwilling to take the hard public stand, he's also suggesting that the socon elements should be allowed a more vocal presence than they have been - the Conservatives under Harper generally kept the socons wrapped up pretty tight and made sure everyone was on message. So I'm expecting some bozo eruptions that might hurt.
posted by nubs at 8:24 AM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Counter-point, Hudaking is now an infrequent verb for the action of self-destruction in needlessly grandiose and clueless fashion. This seems to have been his lasting legacy.
posted by bonehead at 8:30 AM on May 28, 2017


orange swan > Progressive Conservatives was a relatively short-lived rebranding attempt. Progressive Conservatives never made any sense as a name anyway. It's an oxy moron and tantamount to calling a group the Speedy Plodders.

Have to disagree. As already mentioned, the name was considerably longer than short-lived... and the PC party represented a particularly Canadian conservatism, centered mostly on economics and fiscal responsibility. My Dad voted PC - he was conservative-leaning but ok with the generally progressive direction of Canadian politics. I am sort of a fan of Joe Clark, who to me demonstrated that one could be conservative in fiscal policy, but still be positive, engaged, forward-looking, and socially concerned.

Of course, the US conservatives (and their guns for hire) taught their Canadian counterparts that unlocking the basement door and letting the more extreme socially-conservative (pronounced bigoted, xenophobic, selfish) views into the tent was effective at election-time, so I guess that PC was indeed doomed to become an oxymoron... but for the longest time, it wasn't.

Changing topics - Was never a Mike Harris fan, and I thought Tim Hudak was the emptiest of empty suits. I saw Tim this spring on Steve Paikin's show on TVO, in his current role as the head of the Ontario Real Estate Association... and he was a relaxed, thoughtful, engaging and pleasant guy. I wonder why that Tim Hudak never showed up when he led the Ontario conservatives. All I can think of is that they knew that leading the Ontario PCs at that point (post-Harris/Eves) would be a shit job, and Tim drew the short straw.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:40 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Scheer was a terrible speaker. He let the House devolve into uncivil chaos. He let the Conservatives run rampant and do and say whatever they wanted and he came down heavily on those who preferred orange or red to blue.

All of the candidates were terrible in one way or the other. Out of all of them, Raitt seemed like the most generally competent but there was no way she could win over rabid Tories.

The organizers need to be punished for the way they ran yesterday's events and announced the results. There was absolutely no need to wait between announcing the various rounds of voting. They especially didn't need to wait for the 20 or 30 minutes between the time they told the final two candidates the results and the time they announced the results on stage. I'm guess part of the reason was they wanted to make that jump between pre-primetime and primetime (after 8:00 PM) to get more TV viewers. It was stupid and tortuous watching Bernier (who I don't even like) try not to react to losing while at the same time watching Sheer get smugger and smugger (standing up, waving to the crowd, etc.) I'm sure they didn't need so much time to get all of the Sheer supports up to the front to wave their placards in front of the cameras.

So it seems we've got second generation Mulroneys sticking their noses very deeply into the party. Isn't that nice? They go away, move down to the States to make their fortunes (or not) and then come up and want to grab power again. That's so what we need in this country.

I'm really ticked off at Peter Mansbridge and the top brass at the CBC. There is no way in the world that Kevin O'Leary should have been given a seat at the commentary table on Friday and Saturday. Yes, I know the CBC is responsible for creating the ego-driven beast that is O'Leary and maybe (somehow) they think he's good for their ratings, but his presence with Peter, Rosie, Peter (McKay) and Michelle (Rempel) was offensive. Even though I hate this phrase, O'Leary is just a media whore, and he didn't deserve to be given a platform, especially after the way he made a mockery of the leadership race.

I do have to say that boy, was it fun to watch Rosie. I don't know what got into her, but she wasn't the same, tame Rosemary Barton we've been watching on Power and Politics for the past year or so. She had fire and bite and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. Wow, was that refreshing. More that that, Rosie, pretty please.
posted by sardonyx at 9:46 AM on May 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


the Conservatives under Harper generally kept the socons wrapped up pretty tight and made sure everyone was on message.

I will give credit to Harper for not letting socons open wormy, divisive cans like abortion. But he still offered them a lot of red meat - eg dismantling the Long-Gun registry, staunch opposition to drug-injection sites, muzzling government scientists, and other authoritarian moves... and his whole dour, scowly un-fun demeanour. There was no hiding his contempt for Canada's progressive urban voters.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:49 AM on May 28, 2017


So great to see Bernier eat dust!! How dumb do you have to be to run against supply side management in agriculture when your local conservative base is mostly farmers! In the end even the region he hails from votes against him (a feat with a well known Quebecer vs an unknown Anglo Canadian). What's his name who won seems like he doesn't have a chance in the next election though. Trudeau will win again unless something extraordinary happens, NDP is not looking good, I can't even give you the name of one person running for leader.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 10:31 AM on May 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Jagmeet Singh looks a shoe-in for the NDP, although he hasn't released much in the way of policy.
posted by saucysault at 11:52 AM on May 28, 2017




@ArtfulCodger

A lot of them became more conservative as a result. This would be my partner's dad. The guy went from liberal with a handful of conservatives opinions to "Islam is a threat to our civilization" and "Global warming is a hoax". More aggressive about the former, more passive about the latter. There's something about getting to the point your career as a civil servant where you make over 100,000$ a year that takes a solid 1/2-2/3 of people and turns them into monsters.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:09 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]




I live in Scheer's riding so I'm probably a lot more familiar with him than many in this thread.

In fact, when I live blogged the 2015 election that Trudeau won in a landslide, I said that I thought Scheer was a dark horse to win the Conservative leadership even though his name wasn't even coming up in leadership speculation at the time.

Scheer had a lot of advantages:
* born and raised in central Canada but employed and then elected in the prairies giving him a strong connection to two very different parts of the country.
* clearly ambitious as the youngest Speaker of the House in Canadian history
* youth (both himself and his young family)
* "smiling" non-offensive personality
* ...and his biggest asset by far is that, as Speaker of the House during the latter part of the Harper era, he was technically "neutral" which gives him distance from Harper that other MPs don't necessarily have. (Not a strength with Conservative voters maybe but a nice advantage looking ahead to the next general election.)

Oh, and fun trivia - Scheer's brother-in-law ran for the Saskatchewan NDP provincially. I'm sure Thanksgiving dinner is a fun time at their household! ;-)
posted by Jaybo at 10:19 PM on May 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Jaybo: Scheer had a lot of advantages:

Aye. I think that Metafilter has a tendency to underestimate Conservative support in Canada. Trudeau won in 2015 with a lower percentage of the popular vote than Harper got in 2011. All that Scheer needs is 4% of voters to swing back - those are such friendly, trustworthy-looking dimples, aren't they? - and Conservatives have a majority government again. Hell, all he needs for a minority government is to keep the raw number of votes that the Conservatives got in the last four elections and have the election turnout drop back down to 2011 or 2008 levels. The Conservatives only lost a couple of hundred thousand votes in the 2015 election compared to 2011; the big change was the millions of extra votes that the Liberals got. All that the Conservatives need, really, is apathy.

It's Scheer's support in Quebec that's most interesting. He can take for granted most Prairie ridings, other than a handful of city centre ridings. Harper didn't get as many suburban and rural ridings in Ontario in 2015 as he did in 2011, but there's still a usable base there from all the work the Conservatives did in the area during the past decade and a half. Can Scheer get back any of the pre-Bloc seats that used to be part of Conservative majorities?

There were a lot of people who voted against Harper in the last round not because they didn't like his policies but because he was too mean and had been around for too long. Throw in a recession - not an unlikely possibility, given the craziness south of the border - and Conservatives will start loudly reminding everyone how Harper's "fiscal prudence" managed to "save Canada's economy" in 2008. And some people will believe them.

The best attack that the Liberals might've used is that the young, inexperienced Scheer is Just Not Ready. But...
posted by clawsoon at 2:43 AM on May 29, 2017


Scheer will have the full backing of a Breitbart/Daily Stormer-style nightmare machine. I have no doubt he can win a 2019 election.
posted by Yowser at 4:12 AM on May 29, 2017


(The work in Quebec being a reference to the Conservatives stirring up nativist anti-Islamic sentiment, I presume?)
posted by Yowser at 5:21 AM on May 29, 2017


I was sure that Bernier had it until my husband--who lived for over 20 years in Quebec quite happily--reminded me to remember that any Tories outside of QC hate the province with a passion so they were never going to give it to him.

Actually Bernier didn't to terribly well in Quebec, due to his anti-supply management policy. There was a local movement of non-Conservatives signing up for memberships in order to oppose him. Even in his home riding of Beauce, Scheer got more support than Bernier. Bernier did better in Alberta, but the points system (all ridings have equal weight regardless of how many members live there) means that a vote in Alberta (where there are a lot of Conservative members) is worth far less than a vote in Quebec (where there are relatively fewer members).
posted by Kurichina at 6:44 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


@clawsoon - yes, the Conservatives must never be counted out. Their convention language more than hints that they're going to be working harder to tear Trudeau and the Liberals down - oh! Canada is doing so horribly! Wasteful! He's getting rolled by Trump on NAFTA! etc etc.

Of course there's plenty for the Liberals to achieve too, by goading Scheer into rookie mistakes, or by finding some wound they can tear at. And good economic data will not hurt.

I'm most concerned by the appearance (at least to me) that the Trudeau government is losing momentum. Internationally, he's hitting it out of the park, but at home it feels like we don't see him leading us down sunny ways as much as before, and he's been put more on the defensive a few times. Some of the pipeline decisions feel like a sellout; he could have worked harder to pitch those as a positive (if that's at all possible). The hearings for murdered indigenous women is being botched, and there have been some unforced errors - most notably backing away from the pledge to revise the federal electoral system.

I would like the Liberals to keep some light on the list of promises and how they're acting on them. Of course, if they are dropping the ball, then they deserve what they get and reelection isn't deserved, maybe.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:15 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


From the Beaverton, a commentary by Dr. Leitch: At least I beat the brown guy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:35 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Trudeau is a really effective campaigner. The only way I can see him being at risk for a second term is if the economy tanks or if there is a major scandal. He might face a risk if Quebec falls back in love with the NDP, or if the dippers can make more inroads in Atlantic Canada. He could also take a lot of heat over pipelines still; TMX is less certain and Energy East is getting ready to launch again. Both could spell trouble for the Liberals in BC and Quebec.

I don't see Scheer being very effective on most of these issues. Atlantic Canada remembers Harper still too well. Personally, I think the east is lost to the CPC for a generation. Quebec isn't a natural fit for Scheer either. He's from the wrong place but more importantly is not well politically oriented to speak to the issue most Quebecers care about. In particular he has not got a lot of common ground with the municipal, the environmental or the aboriginal groups that strongly oppose both pipelines.

I think Angus and maybe Singh could be really strong voices on the left though if the NDP choose either of them. But I don't see a wedge issue Scheer has a lot of leverage with.
posted by bonehead at 8:01 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Trudeau has managed to gather baggage that will hurt him next time around, even if it's over nothingburgers (does anyone actually care about electoral system reform other than as an anti-Trudeau talking point?)
posted by Yowser at 8:15 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yowser: (The work in Quebec being a reference to the Conservatives stirring up nativist anti-Islamic sentiment, I presume?)

They did some work in Quebec, but they did a lot more work with immigrant communities in suburban Ontario. Social conservative Brad Trost, for example - most of whose second-choice votes went to Scheer - got big support from Chinese evangelicals. Kenny is gone, and that will hurt the Conservatives in the immigrant-heavy suburban ridings that they identified as swingable a decade ago (and then won), but surely some of the goodwill he built up remains, with recent immigrants no longer an easy, automatic Liberal vote.

And, as racist as some Conservatives can be, they were smart enough to definitively reject the overt, one-note racism of Kelly Leitch.

I'm not saying that Conservatives will win, but that the Liberals aren't so invulnerable as many voters want to believe.
posted by clawsoon at 8:23 AM on May 29, 2017


Until the conservatives get over themselves on immigration, they don't have a hope of growing their base.

I'm convinced that the CPC could do extremely well in many first-generation Canadian communities, but for all of those communities issues like family reunification matter far more than any social or fiscal conservatism they do have. Many also care deeply about refugee issues. Kenny was the only one who seemed to understand that.

However, getting there means going against the AM talk radio hotheads on immigration. I can't see Scheer doing that.
posted by bonehead at 8:42 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


bonehead: He could also take a lot of heat over pipelines still; TMX is less certain and Energy East is getting ready to launch again. Both could spell trouble for the Liberals in BC and Quebec.

I think that the biggest threat from the pipeline (and electoral reform) issues is to left-wing voter enthusiasm. One thing that Trudeau showed that he has in common with his father is his ability to excite and galvanize left-wing voters even though he's a centrist on some important issues. Can he galvanize those voters again? If everybody believes that the Harper Conservatives were definitively slain by Trudeau, and some of them realize that Trudeau is wishy-washy on the environment, maybe they'll stay home.

but more importantly is not well politically oriented to speak to the issue most Quebecers care about.

What is that issue? I'll admit I know little about current Quebec politics, other than the enthusiastic response to Jack Layton and the harsh response to Mulcair's niqab stand.
posted by clawsoon at 8:43 AM on May 29, 2017


Sorry Issues plural. Social equity, environment, but, in particular the pipelines. Scheer has already repudiated any carbon pricing model. He would appear to be taking a page from Harper's book on simply trying to ignore the whole climate change issue. That will not fly with most BC or Quebec voters.

Conservatives ape the US republicans sometimes when they start talking about provincial and local rights. They are strangely silent however when that talk turns to the environment/carbon pricing options and especially on pipelines.
posted by bonehead at 8:47 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


(let alone the miasma of culture-testing for "True" Canadians that Leitch brought up. That has very unhappy resonances for the CPC in the Quebec Charter of Values fights. Sure Scheer repudiated that, but even rumors of secret agendas can be very effective against the CPC.)
posted by bonehead at 8:49 AM on May 29, 2017


Beyond mostly angry white young men on the internet, I don't think anyone gives a crap about electoral reform. The thing about young keyboard warriors is that they can't be arsed to vote. Voter participation under 30 was something like 10% last federal election.
posted by bonehead at 8:56 AM on May 29, 2017


Turns out I'm wrong: it's closer to 56%, up from 2011 by quite a lot. Still don't think electoral reform has legs though.
posted by bonehead at 8:58 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sorry Issues plural. Social equity, environment, but, in particular the pipelines. ... let alone the miasma of culture-testing for "True" Canadians that Leitch brought up.

Is the province united on these issues, or is there still a split in some of the rural or old nationalist ridings that could let the Conservatives pick up some seats? They still won some Quebec seats in 2015, didn't they?
posted by clawsoon at 9:04 AM on May 29, 2017


CBC Radio is playing a clip from Scheer's first speech as leader in the Commons this morning. I think he used the word "progressive" about ten times in thirty seconds, which is interesting. It's also interesting that most of the clip was about "campus freedom of speech", which is something that Scheer was on about throughout the leadership race. I guess he's hoping that that's his first wedge issue?
posted by clawsoon at 9:31 AM on May 29, 2017


One thing that Trudeau showed that he has in common with his father is his ability to excite and galvanize left-wing voters even though he's a centrist on some important issues. Can he galvanize those voters again?

You can be galvanizing as the new kid on the block (with bonus points for Daddy), but as an incumbent you also have to show a track record of achievements, and that things didn't get worse under your management. You can't be fresh and new twice.

He will certainly keep those left voters if the Conservatives remain the arch-enemy, and the NDP don't gain credibility or traction.

Re electoral reform - yeah, I had hopes that there would be some examination, discussion and maybe changes. It would have been ok if the decision made was to not make changes AFTER some serious consideration, but it really feels like Justin just went "naaaah, too hard. Won't do it". which was a disappointment to me.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Beyond mostly angry white young men on the internet, I don't think anyone gives a crap about electoral reform.

Do you have data to back up this claim? I've been to rallies in support of this issue and that's not the demographic I saw.
posted by rocket88 at 9:48 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


The whole electoral reform thing is puzzling; I felt like the committee was given an unmanageable broad mandate ("identify and conduct study on alternatives to first-past-the post", along with looking into online/mail-in options and also exploring issues of diversity & engagement when the direction could have been more specific in terms of comparing FPTP to PR and preferential/run-off ballots, so that there could be a look at specific alternatives and comparisons made in terms of what this would mean), almost like it was set up to fail. And then the reception to their report I think has a lot to do with timing - the report came in on Dec 1, 2016, and Trudeau started speaking about the lack of consensus in February, and I'm wondering if there wasn't some thinking in our government (and possibly some other ones, who might have reached out quietly) that this was not the time for Canada to be experimenting with changes to our voting process; that stability in the face of the results of the US election might be better.

I don't know; it's disappointing, and at the same time it feels like a small issue compared to the bigger ones to confront right now around the environment, conditions on the First Nations, the missing & murdered aboriginal women inquiry (which is a bigger botch in my view), immigration/refugees, trade relations, etc. I don't know how much weight to put on it. At any rate, the committee's report is up for a vote on May 31; Parliament may yet decide to push forward with their recommendations.
posted by nubs at 9:51 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Re electoral reform - yeah, I had hopes that there would be some examination, discussion and maybe changes. It would have been ok if the decision made was to not make changes AFTER some serious consideration, but it really feels like Justin just went "naaaah, too hard. Won't do it". which was a disappointment to me.

Feels a LOT more like.... "nah our numbers are good, we'll be reelected as a majority if we keep things like they're now, lets not give the NDP a chance to hold the balance of power". Which is the opposite situation they had when they put it in the platform.

And if the conservatives get elected to a majority with 35% of the vote... well f**** you Trudeau.

I do agree that this has to be done cautiously and openly (not like the marijuana legalization which I think they're half-assing spectacularly). And it appeals to a certain strata of the population (white young men? not sure where you're getting that) but not a majority loses sleep over it, and it's certainly not an issues that drives voters to poll. Still it would make our government more representative and make it impossible to win on technicalities like WHERE your votes were situated.
posted by coust at 9:54 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I know a *lot* of left-leaning types who want electoral reform and are pretty pissed at Trudeau about it. Although I was told by someone that the NDP weren't on board and that's what scuppered the whole thing.
posted by sauril at 9:55 AM on May 29, 2017


The selection of Scheer should* take away the common conservative talking point about Trudeau having no real-world experience beyond some short stints as a teacher. Scheer has even less and essentially became a professional politician straight out of college.

* In an ideal world, where conservatives have even a tiny amount of self-awareness of their blatant hypocrisy.
posted by rocket88 at 9:57 AM on May 29, 2017


The selection of Scheer should* take away the common conservative talking point about Trudeau having no real-world experience beyond some short stints as a teacher. Scheer has even less and essentially became a professional politician straight out of college.

I'd love to see a teacher become leader of a party though the strength of the teacher's ideas, leadership, general competence.... but Trudeau inherited the liberal party by being the son of the former Trudeau not by those things. That would be a nice change from lawyers, doctors, professional politicians (people like Scheer who have almost never worked outside parties/parliament).
posted by coust at 10:02 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


I think the Conservatives would be pleased that MMIW has been sunk by association with an MRA group. Two birds with one stone and all that.
posted by Yowser at 10:18 AM on May 29, 2017


coust: I'd love to see a teacher become leader of a party though the strength of the teacher's ideas, leadership, general competence.... but Trudeau inherited the liberal party by being the son of the former Trudeau not by those things.

That and beating up Brazeau. ...the outcome of the fight fundamentally changed how each man was perceived by his own party and by the public.
posted by clawsoon at 10:23 AM on May 29, 2017


The Ottawa Citizen simplifying a complex issue down to a boxing match? What a shock.
posted by Yowser at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2017


"Beyond mostly angry white young men on the internet, I don't think anyone gives a crap about electoral reform."

The people I know who are passionate about electoral reform are ages 30 to 85, about equally male/female, and admittedly mostly white (but that's the dominant demographic of my family & community).

Many of them are frustrated by feeling compelled to vote "strategically" to try to keep the conservative parties from gaining power. They're (mostly) not sounding off on the internet though, they're signing petitions and engaging in postcard campaigns.

A few of them feel so betrayed they've vowed to never vote for the Liberals again, at any level of government, consequences be damned, if electoral reform isn't followed through on.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:30 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's also interesting that most of the clip was about "campus freedom of speech", which is something that Scheer was on about throughout the leadership race. I guess he's hoping that that's his first wedge issue?

"campus freedom of speech" is such a bullshit nothing issue and his base will eat it all up.
posted by Theta States at 10:30 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Yes, yes, as if the red carpet isn't rolled out for "controversial" (read: REALLY FUCKING TOXIC) speakers all the time at Canadian Universities. Hell, some of them are tenured professors.
posted by Yowser at 10:39 AM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Trudeau has managed to gather baggage that will hurt him next time around, even if it's over nothingburgers (does anyone actually care about electoral system reform other than as an anti-Trudeau talking point?)

Me, I care. I think it was set up to fail. It's not the only thing he's done that I've disliked -- and since I've never voted Liberal it's sort of moot -- but I think he has done a lot of crappy things. He did that nice thing with the cabinet ministers and then figured that was enough.
posted by jeather at 10:46 AM on May 29, 2017


Also I too had never heard of Scheer until this weekend.
posted by jeather at 10:47 AM on May 29, 2017


I'm fairly certain that half the western world going to hell in a handbasket had an impact on Trudeau's handling of electoral reform.
posted by Yowser at 11:04 AM on May 29, 2017


The people I know who are passionate about electoral reform are ages 30 to 85, about equally male/female, and admittedly mostly white (but that's the dominant demographic of my family & community).

Admittedly this is anecdotal and comes for me from the contrasting silence on the issue I hear from my friends and family off line (some of whom are politically fairly connected) vs the voices that are speaking out, mostly on-line. Even those who were political or interested in politics had little interest or even understanding of the issue.

Indeed, I think the population really doesn't understand voting reform well enough to really make a choice yet. It was vastly ambitious to make a promise to be able to do the job in a single election cycle. The parliamentary committee went pathologically squirrly and partisan. Given the electoral realities, I'm not certain any political party could be trusted to do this right. All of them have a vested interest in their own short-term gains which in all cases seemed to over-ride the good of the country. We need something like a non-partizan convention lasting a few years to do this right, in my view.

Frankly, that's what Trudeau should have done in my view. Said something like "this is too complicated for our timetable. We need to take more time to study this thoroughly and thoughtfully", and then struck a Commission to report back in 2021 for action then prior to the next +1 election cycle.
posted by bonehead at 11:10 AM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


This leadership race was a test case for a couple of electoral reform ideas, with its mail-in ballots and ranking. The number of mail-in ballots which were rejected because they hadn't been properly filled in or ID'd was 4%, IIRC, which dwarfed the 1% margin of victory. (Dwarfed it even more when you consider that the final round of counting was from a smaller pool of votes than the first round - did I hear someone say that the first round had 140,000 votes, and the last round had 50,000 votes?) What would happen if that many votes were rejected in a federal election, and the final margin was that small?
posted by clawsoon at 11:21 AM on May 29, 2017


You're not going to argue me into thinking Trudeau handled electoral reform well. There are a lot of ways it could have been done better -- pretty much anything else would have been. And if this had been the only thing I disliked, well, that would be a wonderful standard that few politicians could reach. But overall I think he's done a lot of things poorly.
posted by jeather at 11:30 AM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


Andrew Scheer: Not a loudmouth asshole, but an outspoken defender of loudmouth assholes.

He pushed free speech* hard in his outreach to the party, and made it clear that you'd never be forced to act nice to a Muslim person, a trans person, or any other minority.

I think he'll have a hard time repeating Harper's muzzle on divisive social issues after promising so much free speech to his base. A

* The assholes should face no consequences kind of free speech, not the speak truth to power kind. I hate that the alt right has redefined free speech this way.
posted by Banknote of the year at 12:33 PM on May 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


For those interested in the mechanics of the ranked ballot and the CPC per-riding points system and how the voting rounds worked out, someone has scraped everything off of the CPC website for analysis. The pre-digested google doc is fascinating to me.
posted by figurant at 1:21 PM on May 29, 2017 [3 favorites]




So Scheer has some uncomfortably close links with Canada's answer to Breitbart. What could possibly go wrong there?
posted by Artful Codger at 3:32 PM on May 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's also interesting that most of the clip was about "campus freedom of speech", which is something that Scheer was on about throughout the leadership race. I guess he's hoping that that's his first wedge issue?

Part of the reason, I think, is that it's such low-hanging fruit. Campus political issues can range from the ridiculous to the sublime. That being said, young folks aren't so hot on racist/misogynist/homophobic/transphobic speakers being invited to their campuses and they say so. This is red meat for Scheer's base.

In his campaign, he talked about defunding universities for "failing" to protect free speech, and cites Jordan Peterson in doing so. What he fails to mention about the Jordan Peterson issue is that it had nothing to do with Peterson's research or views. Rather, it was about how Peterson chose to treat trans and non-gender-conforming students.

I'm reminded of the time when my now-husband, who's blind, presented a political science prof at our alma mater a letter from the campus accessibility office stating the accommodations he'd require in the class (lecture notes, etc, nothing terribly exotic). This prof, who was one of those "I'm an asshole but FREE SPEECH, RIGHT?" people handed the letter back and said "I don't believe in that."

This, folks, is who Andrew Scheer is.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:59 PM on May 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


CBC Radio commentator just now on Scheer's time as speaker: He was like a kindergarten teacher; always telling people to be nice to each other, hard to be afraid of.
posted by clawsoon at 5:55 AM on May 30, 2017


Breaking: man with strong opinions on oil doesn't understand fungible commodities.

Why Andrew Scheer wants to put national flags on gas pumps :

“If somebody in Toronto or Montreal was filling up their tank and saw those flags of the country it was coming in from, it would remind them that there are out-of-work Canadians in our energy sector; there are projects on deck to be approved. Let’s get some support from hard-working Canadians to buy our energy from Canada and get Canadians back to work.”
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:38 PM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute...

Sean Cullen or Andrew Scheer?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:40 PM on May 30, 2017


mandolin conspiracy: "Let’s get some support from hard-working Canadians to buy our energy from Canada and get Canadians back to work."

Sounds like he wants some sort of energy program that's national. Hmm. Maybe he could call it the National Energy Program...
posted by clawsoon at 12:42 PM on May 30, 2017 [10 favorites]


Scheer: "Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain. And with this new National Energy Program, I'll put Canadians back to work. Just watch me."

Trudeau: "Dude. Stop."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:46 PM on May 30, 2017 [4 favorites]




Scheer is pulling some serious "Ethical Oil" there. I'm guessing he's going to triple down on the Rebel Media Express Train to white nationalism.
posted by Yowser at 2:31 PM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


does anyone actually care about electoral system reform
YES

mostly angry white young men on the internet
HEY NOW I'm not that young... so maybe you're complimenting me? Yeah, that's it, you mean I'm fun and youthful, yeah...hip, young me... my knees hurt...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:37 PM on May 30, 2017


I care too and while white and male I just bought a wristwatch so you know I can't be young.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 PM on May 30, 2017


Yeah, I'm not white and I'm not male, nor am I particularly young, and I do care about electoral reform. Trudeau's abandoning of that issue and blatant breaking of that campaign promise really pissed me off greatly. I didn't vote for him but I was hoping he'd at least do the right thing and do what he'd promised. He's certainly not the worst politician ever, but I can't really trust him.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:27 AM on May 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


Scheer said a huge percentage of energy in eastern Canada is currently imported from countries like Saudi Arabia, the United States and Venezuela and his plan is to show consumers that.

Um. A couple things.

First thing: Among the myriad reasons Venezuela is so fucked up right now is that nobody's buying their oil. In 2015, Canada imported 1.8Mbd of Venezuelan crude. To put that in perspective, in the same year, Alberta alone (Alberta!) imported 2.0Mbd from friggin' Azerbaijan.

Second thing: All that oil from all over gets mixed up together, and the stuff made from it gets mixed up even more. There's no way to track which drops of gasoline come from where. Might as well just paste this to every gas pump.

Bonus third thing: It's all well and good to help the roughnecks keep their jobs, but what would this proposal, if it were even remotely feasible (which, again, it isn't, at all), mean for the rest of us? Higher oil prices, surely. What do we do when oil is expensive? We buy less of it. We avoid it as much as possible. We convert our oil heaters to gas or electric. We buy electric cars. What the hell kind of good does that do the roughnecks?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:51 PM on June 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, across the aisle, the NDP leadership race is looking like it might be getting bumpy.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:25 PM on June 3, 2017


Ashwagandha, I wish that article had given more details about what exactly the NDP was doing to frustrate Stogran. Do you happen to know?
posted by clawsoon at 6:16 PM on June 3, 2017


Strogan spent the two days after the debate he participated in arguing with prominent NDP activists who critiqued anything he said, or who questioned his decision to go for the leadership without first doing any other partisan work (like running for a nomination). I don't think he understood the culture of the party. At least, he realized it quick enough to drop out and not become the NDP version of Kevin O'Leary.
posted by Kurichina at 12:42 PM on June 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


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