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Kelly McParland: The Tories need a new leader



Lisa Raitt thinks Andrew Scheer should take a second chance at defeating Justin Trudeau, which is a nice thing to say.

As a non-insider, with a view of Ottawa politicians, I can see one way in which Scheer becomes prime minister. That would be for the prime minister to continue acting exactly as he had over the past four years, piling up, and other bad decisions. Jody Wilson-Raybould, treat India like a costume party, march off in a huff from electoral reform and run a re-election campaign dirty it could have been organized by Rudy Giuliani.

That would certainly do the trick. Trudeau survived the election because, despite his poor performance, he didn’t alienate enough. Another couple of years of such antics might do it, though.

The Trudeau team will co-operate. Even Gerald Butts, Trudeau's ear-whisperer, turning a majority into a minority, turning a majority into a minority per cent of those eligible to vote – isn't the mark of a high-performance political machine. So, odds are there to be some changes as the Liberals try to figure out why, if it wasn’t for Ontario, they’d be out on their ear.

Scheer believes what he believes

Scheer, too, says his party. It’s just hard to see how they could take place under his leadership. Scheer isn’t as emotive as Trudeau in baring his soul. He’s a social conservative with principles that appeal to a core group of conservatives. There is no question it hurts the party's fortunes in the election, and would certainly certainly do so again in the future. It’s a position that’s easy to attack and distort, and even a party like the Liberals, with so much of their own baggage, can manage to do so effectively.

In a post-election interview, Scheer professed to support a majority of Canadians. Adi I believe that the Canadians understand that number of people. What is important to them? ’He said.

I doubt he’s right, but in any case.

It’s possible to be the prime minister, as the past three Liberal PMs have proven. That’s because there isn't enough law, but don’t want to engage in the wrenching national argument. That’s not the case with Scheer’s obvious discomfort with same-sex marriage, which enjoys the overwhelming support of Canadians. Only one in 10 people tell pollsters they still oppose any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Scheer says his views have evolved, that same-sex marriage and is the law of the land, (and) support support support LGBT rights in other ways.

Perhaps he finds the parades unseemly. That’s fair enough, they can get fairly raunchy, and some – Toronto’s is an example – have taken over the political overtones. If so, he should probably just say so. But that's not Scheer: he has a deep-seated feelings on both issues, for one reason or another, Internet access is poor and modesty unheard of.

It’s perfectly his right, and admirable in its way, but it won’t sell in those areas where the Conservatives came up short. The Tories need a leader and a platform that can hold their base without striking urban voters as outdated and narrow-minded. They need to take the environment seriously. Hating the carbon tax is all well and good, but if you can’t offer anything better you lose the right to complain. The Toronto region is increasingly alarmed about gun violence, and want practical ideas rather than gun-rights lectures.

Scheer is not the person to do this. His identity is so baked in, that is unprincipled and opportunistic. He believes what he believes so fundamentally.

Trudeau can get away with it because he’s always been great about glitz and optics, a performer with a changeable script. Scheer could never pull it off. The party needs a new leader – a woman who can convincingly argue if she is believing in them.

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