An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHAT IS A CONSERVATIVE with a capital ‘C’ these days?
Is it the one personified by Pierre Poilievre during the campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada?
That’s the one filled with internal dissension, the one that was about championing Bitcoin, lending a sympathetic ear to trucker convoys, banning government leaders from the World Economic Forum, defunding the CBC, firing the Bank of Canada governor and blocking COVID mandates.
The one in which competitors — especially his main rival Jean Charest — were mercilessly attacked.
Or, is it the one reflected in Poilievre’s victory speech after he was chosen as the party’s new leader? The one in which he ignored all the stuff about Bitcoin and defunding the national broadcaster and firing people, and instead lavishly praised Charest, as well as the other “fine candidates”?
The one about putting food on the table, lowering taxes, fighting climate change, making life more affordable, fixing the healthcare system.
It may go down as one of the most hypocritical speeches of all time. To be sure, Poilievre’s intentions were clear — to paint the Conservative party as united and worthy of becoming the next government.
And to paint the Liberals as incompetent, as when he cleverly said Canadians want a government that at least knows how to run a passport office.
There was certainly some familiar Conservative rhetoric of old in the speech, such as promoting development, getting rid of what he called “dirty dictator oil” and increasing our own production, and bringing in responsible fiscal policies.
But beware. Lines such as “We will restore Canada’s promise” sound a little too much like making the country great again. And when he talks about “local-government gatekeepers” being responsible for the housing crisis, he points the finger directly at City Hall.
Canadians can be forgiven for their confusion over what the party is about. Will the real Conservative party please stand up?
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 ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.