It's been a year since the Harper government was sent packing. But, Gerry Caplan writes, if those vying to replace Stephen Harper are any indication, their defeat taught the Conservatives nothing:
There’s the widespread view among people within the party that the problem was their “tone.” It’s not at all clear what they think they mean by this, but it seems to have little to do with a series of mean and bigoted policies that failed to appeal to any but the Conservative base.
The Harperites have, so far, not morphed into Boris Johnson or Donald Trump. However, they haven't morphed into anything:
For example, take Kellie Leitch, who seemed at first to be ashamed of her shabby role in the Conservative pledge to establish a tip line to report barbaric cultural practices to the RCMP, but has since doubled down on the very notion.As a leadership candidate, she is promoting a “discussion” of Canadian values for immigrants. Yet when given an opportunity by interviewers, she refuses to discuss anything except how very, very much she wants to discuss. So she simply advances her meaningless slogan, then repeats it over and over again without any elaboration.
Chris Alexander now claims he loves immigrants. But, Caplan asks, "Who can doubt his sincerity?"
Then there's Maxime Bernier. "Quebec MP Maxime Bernier wants to turn Canada into a libertarian dystopia; he’s the Ayn Rand candidate, beloved no doubt by many impressionable first-year university students."
And, of course, there's Brad Trost:
Someone named Brad Trost – allegedly an MP from Saskatchewan – offers to turn the clock back by repudiating both a woman’s right to choose and same-sex marriage.The Conservative Party itself entered modern history only in May when its convention voted that marriage need not be defined as between a man and woman, something Canada itself had decided a decade ago. But history is moving far too fast for Mr. Trost and for that third of the convention delegates who voted against the resolution. But early indications are that they are resisting Mr. Trost’s reactionary lure.
Harper's Conservatives were always stuck in the 19th century. The only member of the party who wasn't was Michael Chong. And, for that reason, Chong will face a tough slog for the leadership of the party.
Lessons learned? There's no evidence of that.