Straight talk for Scheer

An open letter to Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada:

Greetings. I won't waste your time with pleasantries - the writ is about to drop, so brevity is the soul of wit. But to ensure you, and the surrounding short-pants brigade, grasp the point of this missive, I will summarize here and then repeat ad nauseum, my thesis: you had better beat Justin Trudeau in this fall's election or else there is a good chance the party will disintegrate.

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That might sound extreme. But I assure you, if anything, it is understated, as growing discontent within the big blue tent bubbles ever closer to the surface. To put it plainly, Maxime Bernier's scathing last words for the Tories were essentially accurate: craven, ruthless, and unprincipled apparatchiks stand at the centre of the Tory machine, and their nigh total contempt for the base is on full display whether in government, opposition, or in votes held at convention.

To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Bernier or the People's Party of Canada, if for no other reason than that whole expedition has jumped the shark, as it can only justify itself in the light of a second Trudeau mandate. This brings us back to the beginning: you'd better win.

We can start with your own serious lack of popularity during the leadership race. You won by gaining the second and third ranks of other candidates' supporters, promising to deliver on the things that mattered to them. Without their support, your bid would have been in vain.

Yet trouble ensued, first with Bernier, then with Brad Trost, who held third at one point in the balloting and assisted your victory. Slowly but surely, either you or your people, almost all of whom are former Harper staffers, began to consolidate power by isolating and then eliminating former leadership candidates from the benches. This is an old story when it comes to politics, but the ruthlessness with which the long knives worked would have made some tyrants blush.

None of this mattered until a discernable pattern emerged in the nomination processes for local candidates across Canada over the last few months. There's no hiding the plain fact that socially conservative candidates have been purposely sidelined and disqualified, regardless of past service, or passing the party's initial scrutiny. These are contemptible and cowardly acts.

Please do not misunderstand me on purpose, or by accident: I do not believe that the Conservative Party ought to serve social conservatives or their allies exclusively. Tories are a coalition of many truculent factions, spanning every manifestation of "the right wing."

But the current rhetoric, policies, and trajectory of the party under your leadership inspire confidence in neither the Bernier-libertarians nor the Trost-traditionalists. And if it's expected that Tories are supposed to grin and bear more "Harperism," the kabal at central headquarters is in for a nasty surprise: the Right Honorable muzzled these groups for a decade to stay in power, but nearly all of his legacy has been undone, so what exactly did that hyper-control achieve?

On firearms rights and religious freedom, liberating the market and decreasing taxes, as well as reestablishing the supremacy of our democratically elected Parliament over the civil servants, activist judges, and CBC hosts imposing their radical agenda onto taxpayers, the Conservatives have failed to articulate a truly alternative choice to the Liberals. That's a spectacular feat of incompetence, given that the Dauphin cannot go a single day without making a gaffe.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough how precarious the alliance within the CPC is at this moment. If Trudeau isn't defeated, the iconic image for Tories will be the shocked faces of every progressive conservative at the leadership convention in 2017, as a social conservative placed fourth. Of course this wasn't surprising to anyone who had actually bothered to consult the base.

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