|New Conservative leader Andrew Scheer|
So sadly, I'm going to probably feel a lot more irritated in the years to come now that Scheer has narrowly won the federal Conservative leadership. And not just because his face reminds me of someone who could've starred in the 1984 Stephen King horror film "Children of the Corn."
|Stephen King's 1984 horror "Children of the Corn"|
I have a confession to make: as a pragmatic democrat, I decided to actually join the Conservative Party as a member to vote in this race. I had been extremely concerned about the chances of a Trump-style idiot like Kellie Leitch or Kevin O'Leary taking over one of Canada's main parties that I decided to put my money where my mouth is.
However, the exercise proved ineffectual in determining the outcome as my choices were, in order: Michael Chong, Lisa Raitt, Erin O'Toole and Deepak Obhrai. That support for Chong hung in until the 10th ballot, after which it swung behind O'Toole. I had toyed with possibly picking Maxime Bernier as my fifth pick, but his policies on health care and the CBC were simply unacceptable to me. So any influence I had on the final result evaporated for the final count which put Scheer over the top (not that my one vote would've changed the outcome.) If any social conservatives get wind of my actions, I'm sure that last fact will be comforting to them.
The support for the two social conservative nobodies on the Conservative leadership ballot - Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost and former MP Pierre Lemieux (who lost his seat in 2015, begging the question why would someone who can't win their own seat be considered a decent leader for the party) - was disturbing, if not surprising.
Trost was a joke of a candidate whose only major contribution to the debate was to emphasize how much he hates gay people. That seemed enough to garner him almost 15% of the entire Conservative membership on the 11th ballot, putting him far ahead of other leadership candidates who actually brought some leadership ability to the table.
That reminded me of the disgusting rise of Ontario MPP Sam Oosterhoff, who, despite being 19, home-schooled, with almost zero adult life experience, decided he was MPP material and signed up hundreds of fanatics from his local fundamentalist church in Niagara region to support him. That was enough for Oosterhoff to push aside seasoned veterans for his local nomination and elect him MPP in a safe Tory seat.
It seems that the only qualification that matters to these social conservatives is shared hatred of gay people, among other issues that continue to drive a wedge between them and the vast majority of Canadians. Only in the Conservative Party do these folks have influence, demonstrating how truly out of touch the Conservative Party is from the rest of the country.
“Frankly, looks like my voters were part of [what] put [Scheer] over the top,” said Conservative MP Brad Trost.
“Me and Pierre Lemieux had about 15 per cent of [the points] on the first ballot. That’s the hard core social conservative [vote], and they cut disproportionately to Mr. Scheer. Had they even split 50-50, he would not be the leader today. So, that tells you pretty much how this thing went down.”
Scheer is also a social conservative, but more in the Stephen Harper mold of being a politician willing to flirt with other social conservatives but never actually implement their extreme agenda into government policy. In that sense, I don't fear Scheer re-opening old social issues. But nevertheless, I find little comfort in a politician who hates my guts just because I'm gay and wants to deny me full citizenship in my own country, but simply won't because he's afraid of the political consequences.
That's why I disliked Harper so much and why I dislike his successor too. Scheer is very much just a smiling, younger version of his predecessor. Nothing else is changed: he still sounds arrogant discussing Harper's so-called "principled" foreign policy, such as unconditional support for every single thing the Israeli army does to Palestinians.
Special memo to Scheer (which I'm sure he'll completely ignore): the progressive, Canadian position supporting justice for all, including Israelis and Palestinians, is actually more principled than your ideology.
Let's face it: Christian fundamentalists like Harper only supported Israel simply due to their religious beliefs that Israel must remain in Jewish hands until the Rapture finally happens (at which point, all Israelis will drop dead and shuffle off to the Christian hell while true Christian believers ascend into their glorious Heaven.) Or something like that.
This compromise winner who only garnered 50.95% support on the 13th ballot to clinch victory I suspect will have a very difficult time beating Justin Trudeau in 2019. Especially if he starts throwing little bones to his social conservative base in the party as thanks for putting him over the top.