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EDITORIAL: The Conservative Hunger Games Begin

The Conservative Party is making the Hunger Games look enjoyable.

This week Conservatives Members of Parliament will come together to vote the future of the Conservative Party. Will they stick with the pony that brought them or go with a new fancy one and force a leadership race in 2022.

Will Erin O'Toole win and survive the test of leadership or will he go down in history as just another failed Leader of Opposition like Andrew Scheer, Michael Ignatieff, Stephane Dion, Stockwell Day, Preston Manning, and Thomas Mulcair.

O'Toole has an uphill battle to fight, with over 60 MP's already signing a letter stating that they want a review of the Durham-ON MP leadership.

If he fails to secure his leadership and win the vote the party will be pushed into another leadership race, a third in more than 5 years (2017, and 2020). Each time the party become more divided.

Andrew Scheer won in 2017, but Maxime Bernier split from the party after his loss and formed the now surging Peoples Party of Canada.

When O'Toole won in 2020, the party tried to form a united front, but months after his win he had to kick out a leadership challenger, Derek Sloan. Sloan has gone on to run in Alberta as an Independent MP, and now leaders the Ontario Party which is heading into the Ontario Provincial Election.

Now the party is at a cross roads - will they stick with the Leader who promised them the return to the promise land of government, or will they turf him to go with someone new and more energetic than O'Toole.

While the focus is on the leadership ballot and not a future leadership race, we wanted to take a moment and look at potential leadership contenders.

Of course there are the presumed frontrunners for the leadership race, Pierre Poilievre CPC Finance critic has been a strong performer in the House of Commons has support from coast to coast to coast and is well positioned to be the front runner in the leadership race.

Poilievre was expected to run in the leadership race of 2020, but at the last minute announced that he was dropping out due to his young family. With still a relatively young family will he jump into the race if there is one? Time will tell.

Leslyn Lewis the star of the 2020 leadership race, who won the most votes on the second ballot surely would want a second crack at the leadership. Her support came from the more social conservative part of the party. She is likely to run again and would have a leg up this time as she is more well known and now has a seat in the House of Commons.

Another MP who may want to take a crack at the leadership and has been floated a few times in both the 2017 and 2020 leadership races is Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner. The Calgary MP is liked within the party has strong support from the more moderate part of the party, supporting the end of the blood ban for gay males. She is well positioned to give a serious challenge to any potential frontrunner.

Also in Alberta, Lakeland MP Shannon Stubbs could consider a run for the leadership. She was recently turfed from O'Toole's shadow cabinet due to some issues, but many saw that as a removal of a potential leadership challenger. Stubbs is well respected, comes from the Reform/Canadian Alliance part of the party and could be seen as a consensus candidate if the field becomes crowded like it was in 2017.

Provincially there is speculation on who may run for the federal leadership if O'Toole does indeed walk the plank.

In Saskatchewan former Premier Brad Wall is always floated as a potential leadership challenger due to his long term support from Conservatives when he was Premier of Saskatchewan. Current Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is also in contention due to his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province of Saskatchewan. Conservatives love his views on the pandemic and his removal of some of the restrictions.

In Ontario, Doug Ford has never been quiet about his aspirations for higher office. He has a election coming up in June but he could potentially jump ship and run for the CPC leadership. Many might remember his run at the Patrick Brown in 2018. While the towers were crumbling down around Brown, Ford announced - before any mention of a leadership race - he would run for the leadership. He won that race and then won the Ontario election. Could lightening strike twice for Ford?

Right here in Alberta provincially Jason Kenney has been floated as the white knight that could save the CPC. He is considered to many as someone who came to Alberta save it from the 'evil' NDP, and now needs to go back to Ottawa and save the country from the 'evil' Justin Trudeau. He has been tainted in the Blue province as someone who has been to chummy chummy to the Liberal PM during the pandemic, so his hopes might be dashed if he wanted to go back to his old stomping grounds in Ottawa.

This list wouldn't be completed without mentioning Brian Jean former MP and former MLA in Alberta. Why is he on this list you may ask. Well simple. He seems to enjoy politics and cant make up his mind if he wants tot stay out of politics or be part of it. Either way. I'm not saying he would run for the CPC leadership, just be interesting to see if he does run or not.

Either way this week is going to be long, draw out, and while the CPC internally fight, the Liberals again have no opposition and are entering into a spring session where their main rival is more worried about the leadership of the party than actually worrying about the state of the country.

To that I say, Conservatives may the "odds be ever in your favour". If you don't smarten the heck up Trudeau will continue to be the Prime Minister.


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