Best way to limit number of candidates is to require they be bilingual
The Conservative Party of Canada 2017 leadership race revealed that having more than a dozen leadership candidates is politically ineffective. For the 2020 race, the party establishment set very demanding qualification criteria: garnering 3,000 signatures from current members and $300,000 in donations. The purpose of the signatures is laudable in that the origins of the CPC were “grassroots” when I helped the Right Honorable Stephen Harper create this party in 2003 and 2004.
But if the party had really wanted to limit the number of candidates efficiently, it need only have required a level of bilingualism specified by the Official Languages Act for senior public servants. For at least the past 40 years, the ability of the leader of national political party to speak to Canadians in both official languages has generally been recognized as a necessity since the leader will either be prime minister of Canada or the leader of the opposition.
As a pro-life, pro-traditional family candidate, my exclusion from this leadership race for no officially stated reason (after collecting more than 3000 signatures), and the unjustified ouster of another pro-life candidate Jim Karahalios (after generating more than $300,000 for the CPC), shows that the party establishment completely flouts CPC members’ democratic right to choose their leader.
At the time my candidacy was disallowed, I was not yet supported by elected, federal Conservative Members of Parliament, but this was not required to be eligible to run. As with many candidates, I did not agree with everything stated in the CPC principles and policy. But, then, neither did Stephen Harper when he was party leader, leader of the opposition and prime minister. This was not a requirement for eligibility to run for leader.
Is there still a place for pro-life, pro-traditional family members within the CPC? This is the fundamental question that emerges from this leadership race, as well as two key categories of candidates. Two candidates are pro-abortion: Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole; two are pro-life: Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan. This clearly demonstrates the critical importance of this issue for the future of the party. The more or less liberal positions of the first three candidates mentioned, above, leave only one possibility as choice number one: Derek Sloan, a true “conservative, without apology.”
The deadline of August 21st for the party to receive ballots to choose the next leader will be decisive on the question of the place of traditional pro-life, pro-traditional family members within the CPC. From the beginning of this race, the Liberal-lite Peter MacKay rejected the large support base of socially conservative, grassroots members, referring to us as a stinking albatross. The other Liberal-lite candidate, Erin O’Toole, declared to anyone who wanted to hear it that he intends to march in Gay Pride Parades across the country.
The choice of a “Peter/O’Toole” leader would, therefore, indicate a return to a progressive-conservative or Liberal-lite party, leaving very little room for social conservatives (“socons”) like us within the party. That is why I launched the anti-globalization, genuinely nationalist and conservative movement (not a party), ConservativeUNION.ca, to defend values of Western Christian civilization. You will hear more about it after August 21st.
May God bless our efforts!
Richard Decarie was an excluded candidate from the CPC leadership race of 2020 after some 30 years as a volunteer on campaigns and as a staffer to senior elected officials, including Premier Daniel Johnson, Jr. and Stephen Harper when he was Leader of the Opposition. Decarie is an independent business development consultant based in Greater Montréal.