EDITORIAL – Conservatives looking like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight

MP Derek Sloan during his rant against Dr. Theresa Tam. (Image: Facebook)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP race has entered a new phase with the cutoff for acquiring new party members having just passed.

As polls show the Conservatives with declining support since last fall’s federal election, they need a boost, and a leadership race would normally provide that.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Justin Trudeau in the daily spotlight with his media briefings, the Conservative leadership is an almost invisible non-event.

There are other reasons, too, one of which is the disturbing presence of MP Derek Sloan among the four leadership contenders. He’s the guy who recently posted a video online demanding that federal health officer Dr. Theresa Tam be fired, asking rhetorically, “Does (she) work for Canada or for China?”

Sloan has defended these remarks, saying they weren’t based on Tam’s race or sex but, at the least, they reveal poor judgment, the kind the party could do without.

Instead of distancing the party from Sloan, outgoing leader Andrew Scheer hides behind the mantle of objectivity in the leadership race.

B.C. Interior MPs Cathy McLeod and Dan Albas and a few others deserve credit for objecting to Sloan’s ridiculous remarks.

The Conservatives, however, have other problems. Scheer, it has been revealed, has quietly backed out of his pledge to renounce the U.S. half of his dual citizenship.

Asked about it Tuesday, he would say only that since he isn’t going to be prime minister, ending his U.S. citizenship isn’t necessary. That sounds just a trifle disingenuous.

And then there’s former health minister Rona Ambrose and her decision to join the board of the U.S.-based e-cigarette giant Juul. With so much concern about the potential health risks of vaping, a reasonable question would be, “What was she thinking?”

At a time when it should be regaining momentum, the Conservative Party of Canada is looking more and more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8419 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Conservatives looking like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight

  1. This PC party is not the PC party of old and a lot of their ideologies leave me cold – frozen, in fact.

  2. John Noakes // May 21, 2020 at 7:26 AM // Reply

    Could it be that the game of politics is more like a mirage than real life? Is what we see during the campaign something different than what we get after the votes have been counted?
    What you’ve pointed out, Mel, sure makes one think that what we have in Ottawa now isn’t perfect but what are the options?
    One might wonder if some of this stuff is just tied to politics on a Federal level. Even on a local level, are things done for people who have connections, ties or financial backing from certain others? If a developer has a close tie to someone in the local realm, do things go smoother for them if bumps in the road are encountered?
    Could we live without corrupt politicians? Sure we could and we’d be better off for it.

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