Social justice warrior Michael Harris has just published an article explaining Why Andrew Scheer will never be prime minister. What are his arguments?
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.
I agree that this is a huge problem for Scheer. If Bernier had won the leadership, I might have considered joining the party. Scheer was definitely a status quo choice, when the electorate (me included) had just given the Conservatives a strong message that we weren’t happy with that.
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.
The Liberal’s are weak on the environment. If Scheer keeps his mouth shut and, whenever the subject is broached, attacks the Liberal record on the pipeline, this might even be a winning issue for the Conservatives.
In an attempt to dampen controversy over dubious pipeline projects, Trudeau has established a carbon-pricing regime. It may not get Canada to its Paris emission targets, but it’s better than burying your head in the tar sands and doing nothing.
Carbon pricing is a tax regime. To those of us who oppose higher taxes, this is a strike against the Liberals. We already have the highest gas prices in North America. The carbon tax is going to be a winning issue for the Conservatives with many voters.
His government is also imposing — at least eventually — other regulations on the energy industry aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Stephen Harper’s idea of regulating the energy sector was to hand the National Energy Board over to oil industry interests and declare that everything can’t be a park.
Most people don’t care about emissions in the oil sands. I’m much more concerned with the risk of a major oil spill in the harbor, and that is something the Liberals are weak on.
Scheer […] 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.
Of these, the only one I care about is the subsidization of the industry. But with the current Liberals being so fiscally irresponsible, those of us who care about government spending are likely to see the Conservatives as the lesser of two evils.
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.
I removed most of Harris’s overblown rhetoric on this subject. Again, I think if Scheer keeps his mouth shut on this issue and whenever it’s brought up, reminds voters of the giant boondoggle that was the Liberal long gun registry, the Conservatives should do fine.
Reason number four that Scheer will never be prime minister is his narrow band conservative values. He routinely says that such a charge is just character assassination, but his record speaks for itself.
Harris gives examples of conservative social policy on abortion and gay marriage. I agree these are big weaknesses for Scheer. Then again, Trudeau (the so called “great includer”) is not without weakness on social policy. His constant use of identity politics is more offensive to me than Scheer’s poor voting record on gay marriage twelve years ago.
The fifth reason Scheer won’t have to worry about measuring the drapes for 24 Sussex (should it ever habitable again) is that his party’s reputation for fiscal management is a pleasant fiction.
While I agree that Harper’s government wasn’t as fiscally responsible as they should have been, thinking that the Liberal record makes this issue anything other than a slam dunk for the Conservatives seems delusional.
I think Michael Harris overestimates how much people care about the environment, and underestimates how much they care about government spending and taxation. Scheer’s biggest problem is likely to be his lack of charisma and stodgy status quo approach, in my opinion. It’s too bad O’Leary dropped out: at least he would have put on a show.