Conservatives in Alberta and Ontario are poised for a come back. In Ottawa, they're hoping that Andrew Scheer will bring them back from the wilderness. But, Michael Harris writes, there are several reasons why Scheer and the Conservatives will continue to wander in the desert:
Reason number one, Harper deja vu. Canadians got a bellyful of Northern Republicanism with the former prime minister, so Scheer’s attempt to create a GOP-style political base in Canada built on the same values is doomed. It will just remind voters why they dumped these guys the last time.
Reason number two: Mother Earth. Justin Trudeau will eat Scheer alive on the environment. Though the Liberals have broken key promises on this file, and will pay a price in British Columbia for doing it, they have at least recognized there is a problem.
Trudeau and Co. have broken several promises on the environment. But the Conservatives still have trouble recognizing the environment's existence:
As failed CPC leadership candidate Brad Trost declared, he doesn’t believe man-made factors are causing global warming. Of course, Brad. It’s all those farting cattle.
Scheer doesn’t quite go as far as his delusional colleague, but he is a de facto climate denier all the same. Which is why he has promised to repeal mandatory carbon-pricing, approve the defunct Energy East pipeline and retain the $3.3 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
At least Trudeau is taxing carbon -- and instituting some kind of gun control:
Reason three: Scheer’s gun policy, which will play a part in the next election, is based on the NRA fantasy that the government is somehow coming for everyone’s rifle. There is also a little Davy Crockett riff thrown in for good measure.
The crowning absurdity of Scheer’s gun policy is his plan to create a firearms ombudsman, a permanent federal employee who would act as the champion of gun owners across the land. That’s right, Scheer wants a system that protects gun owners, not society.
That may be why he also says that the RCMP should be stripped of its power to reclassify guns. It may be why he wants to review the Criminal Code and scrub all federal regulations touching the acquisition, usage and transportation of firearms.
Most critically, like Harper, Scheer seeks to appeal to a narrow base. There simply are not enough votes there to catapult him into office:
A pro-lifer in the abortion debate, Scheer nominated Conservative MP Rachel Harder to chair the committee on the status of women. Harder, an anti-abortionist, was ousted by pressure from the Liberals and the NDP.
It was a stupid but revealing appointment. The pro-life movement was instrumental in getting Scheer the leader’s job. Perhaps that’s why he is in favour of having Ottawa fund anti-abortion groups.
Scheer also voted against same-sex marriage in 2005.
He is not where most Canadians are. It's true that Jason Kenny and Doug Ford are also not where most Canadians are. But Kenny and Ford only have to win enough votes in one province. Winning a majority of votes in the federation is an entirely different proposition.
That's why Scheer won't make it to the prime minister's office.