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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED -- Hanging the leader following an election, that failed to transpire as predicted, maybe satisfying to a minority, but does not address systemic internal problems

Postponement of the April Conservative Party of Canada convention, to November, is not a surprise. The Party National Council failed the Party membership by not curtailing efforts to push Andrew Scheer out.

The decision on whether a leadership contest was required was up to the delegates to the April convention. No group of party members has the authority or right to usurp the Party constitution and the authority of delegates to convention. Intervention was needed and did not happen.

The “leak” of an arrangement between the Party and Mr. Scheer on school tuition fees was unethical and those involved were in breach of confidentiality clauses and failed to protect the interests of the Party and its members. No amount of lipstick will make that pig presentable.

Instead of dealing with the culprits, the Conservative Fund chose to dismiss the Executive Director although the Fund does not choose or approve the person appointed. It appears that Mr. van Vugt was dismissed because Fund officials were embarrassed by the leak.

CBC Radio quotes Zehavi Zynoberg as a ‘commentator’. Zynoberg’s relatively short (5 year) history in politics has been entirely with the Ontario government (2 years as a constituency assistant, one year as a legislative assistant, and one year as a public engagement advisor) and part of this year as an advisor to a Toronto City Councillor. He is unqualified to speak for the federal Party.

Mr. Scheer and his team handled the October election campaign badly. I doubt that he would have survived the April convention, but in politics, four months is an eternity. Part of the problem for the Conservative Party was overconfidence that it would win in October. The convention should have been set for late January (about 90 days after the election) to avoid the mess that the Party is currently in.

The Party Leader is spokesperson for the Party and Leader in the House of Commons. It takes many more people to manage the Party as an effective support for the political wing (the Leader and elected MPs), manager of Electoral District Associations, manager of memberships, the fundraising arm and dozens of other operational duties.

Hanging the leader following an election that failed to transpire as predicted maybe satisfying to a minority but does not address systemic internal problems. There are serious rumblings of campaign and National Council interference in the candidate selection process across the country. That resulted in a reduction in support for the Party.

Efforts to dump Mr. Scheer prematurely, and unconstitutionally, have seriously damaged the Party brand. The Party appears leaderless and rudderless. The lack of a Party public relations effort is hurtful and uninspiring. The Conservative Party machine has sputtered to the roadside and sits there a derelict awaiting some competent and knowledgeable mechanics who are not on the horizon.

The National Council that presided during the election remains in place until the postponed convention. It must substantially up its game to prevent the party from suffering further disintegration and deterioration.

John Feldsted
Political Commentator, Consultant & Strategist
Winnipeg, Manitoba


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