There’s been a lot of chatter and a lot of advice coming from outsiders, and much of it is utter rubbish.
Remember, the Conservatives are not a rump party. They were not reduced to two seats or to third place status as the Liberals were in 2011 left with only 34 seats.
They hold 99 seats and took almost 32% of the popular vote across Canada, with seats in every part of Canada except Atlantic Canada.
So the Conservative Party is not in crisis mode.
They have a strong front bench of critics starting with interim leader Rona Ambrose. They have strong leadership contenders from both inside and outside of the party.
The party is in good shape and the movement is growing. Just look at The Rebel literally starting in our living rooms – Ezra and I – back in February and now we’re a growing concern. Groups like Conservative Voice are popping up to push fiscal conservatism, adding to groups like the Fraser Institute and Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The conservative movement is in good shape.
But another reason not to listen to people that say the party needs to be the Progressive Conservatives again and shed those pro-lifers or the religious right or this group or that group is that you don’t build something by subtracting from it.
Ronald Reagan used to talk about the legs of the conservative stool, saying you need all the legs to hold the stool up properly. It’s a good analogy.
Over the next little while, the movement needs to grow and become stronger. It’s up to the movement and its various parts to sell their fellow Canadians on their message. The Conservative Party is simply the electoral vehicle.
Rather than shut out this group or that group we need to find where each group has common ground and work together. The Liberals didn’t win just because of Justin Trudeau’s smile or hair or his promises, they won because progressives, including many New Democrats, united behind him as a way to advance their issues - maybe not all of their issues but enough.
There will always be those criticizing this or that part for not being pure enough but those people are happier to wish for the perfect rather than compromise and take the good.
Yes, you can compromise too much – but we aren’t there yet. And I’d rather compromise a little than let progressives rule the roost unfettered.
So as you look to 2016, don’t despair. It’s a time of rebuilding for conservatives across the country.
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