Ask progressive Canadians what they want for Christmas and their answers are likely the Secret Path deluxe boxed set, electoral reform and of course, a time machine. But what they should be saying is this, “I would like a membership to the Conservative Party of Canada.”
Why? Because while tsk-tsking Kellie “Canadian values” Leitch, Chris “lock her up” Alexander and the general Trump-fication of the Conservative Party on social media is fun, it’s not exactly an effective way to fight anger politics.What is is putting in place a party leader who, instead of campaigning on misinformation and catering to ignorance, supports ideas that will result in a Canada that is inclusive, open and forward-thinking.
I hear you snickering, “If that’s what you want, you don’t vote Conservative.” But I’m not talking about voting for the party in an election. Instead, I’m saying to get a party membership and then on May 27, 2017, vote for the leader who essentially will do the least harm to Canada.
As of December 2016, there are 14 registered candidates. Arguably the best known is Kellie Leitch, who has been making headlines with calls for immigrant screening (something we already do), a proposal to legalize pepper spray and of course her Trump-inspired tweets.
A quick glance on Twitter will reveal heaps of dislike for Leitch. But in an early November poll by Mainstreet PostMedia, she led the race with the backing of 19 per cent of voters. It’s not inconceivable that the woman who called Trump’s victory an “exciting message that needs to be delivered in Canada as well” could end up as leader of Canada’s official opposition. But she can be stopped: Simply become a Conservative Party member and vote for someone other than her.
Becoming a member is extra important if you live in Quebec or Atlantic Canada, where your vote will weigh more than if you live in Ontario or Western Canada. In the Conservative Party, instead of having one-member equals one-vote, each riding is given equal weight in the voting process, regardless of the number of party members/votes that reside within that riding. Since the majority of party members live in either Ontario or out West, a few members in Quebec or the Atlantic provinces can have a big influence.
If Santa doesn’t bring you a membership, you have until March 28 to purchase one in order to be eligible to vote on May 27. A one-year membership is a mere $15 and while yes, it does mean that you are financially supporting the Conservative Party of Canada, you can always make yourself feel better by giving $30 to Sierra Club Canada or maybe Lifeline Syria.
Then start reading up on the candidates. Several are likely to drop out at the end of the month when a second $25,000 candidate fee is due. After that point, the race should really start to heat up, especially with a debate scheduled for January 17 in Quebec City. Watch it and watch out for language designed to appeal to voters who are angry, shortsighted and let’s be honest, racist.
Given Leitch’s success mimicking Trump, she’s likely not going to be the only one who takes the low road. Thankfully, with only a $15 investment, we can try to stop her and any fellow “alt-right” wannabes.