The CPC leadership race may not end well
The Conservative leadership race reflects an internal struggle for the soul of the Conservative Party between two main groups: the Eastern Establishment (made up mostly of Red Tories) and the social conservatives grassroots of the party.
While these two groups may share some similarities with respect to the need for fiscal responsibility, they deeply differ on social issues. The Eastern Establishment considers social conservative policies a political liability — a stain which must be vigorously eradicated from the party’s platform. Ironically, the Eastern Establishment overlooks the fact that the strength of the party lies mainly in the West, where most of its social conservative members reside.
Social conservatives believe that both history and practical experience teach that traditional values which recognize the importance of the family, respect for the dignity and life of each human being, the necessity of hard work and self-reliance, and caring for the vulnerable, are necessary for a stable society. The Eastern Establishment believes that changing times require changing the traditional values to allow for abortion, assisted suicide, transgenderism, the decriminalization of drugs such as marijuana, and displays of tolerance such as marching in Gay Pride parades (hypocritically not extending its tolerance to social conservatives).
These differences on social policy have set the stage for the leadership race. The Eastern Establishment’s favourites are Peter MacKay, who bluntly expressed the opinion that social conservative policies hang around the Party’s neck like “a stinking albatross,” and Erin O’Toole, although expressing a desire to include social conservatives (he wants our vote) seems to have little regard for social conservative policies. This was apparent in an interview he gave on CPAC (Canadian Public Affairs Channel) on June 18, 2020, when he stated that abortion “is a right for a woman to make that decision, in fact, in law school is when I learned the case that granted that right and…I will defend all rights for Canadians.” O’Toole must have been asleep during the lectures on abortion since he has failed to grasp the fact that the Supreme Court decision Regina v. Morgentaler (1988) did not grant a right to abortion. On the contrary, it suggested Parliament bring forward new legislation to provide protection for the unborn child.
The Leadership Election Organizing Committee (LEOC) has tried its best to discourage and/or disqualify social conservatives in the race. Although LEOC gave no reason for its rejection of candidates, it was evident that it did so because some of the social conservative candidates put forward opinions which were not in accordance with its views or that of the mainstream media. Quebec-based candidate Richard Décarie stated that homosexuality may be a choice, a statement is supported by scientific studies. His application was rejected outright. Another social conservative candidate, Jim Karahalios, did the unthinkable by expressing concerns that Muslim advocates may attempt to include Shariah law in our judicial system. After initially being approved, he was disqualified. Another candidate, Derek Sloan, was accused of racism because he had the audacity to question the credibility and capability of Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. Sloan escaped disqualification as a candidate because the elimination of another social conservative would have undermined the credibility of the Committee. The other surviving social conservative candidate, Leslyn Lewis, escaped criticism because it would be politically incorrect to criticize her owing to her sex and race.
According to the partisan media, the winner of this race will be either MacKay or O’Toole. If such is the case, the Conservatives will soon be engaged in a bone-rattling journey into the next election caused by the divisions within the party. This will not end well for the Conservative Party.
Gwendolyn Landolt is the national vice-president and legal counsel of REAL Women of Canada.