November 05, 2015

This young Conservative says "rebranding" the party isn't the answer

Stephen GraystoneRebel Blogger

After an election defeat, it's become customary to blame the outcome on the party leader.

Because they lead the party, it's understood that they bear responsibility for their party's positive or negative image.

Often times, this candidate started their journey by running for an existing political party, and shaping it to suit their personal leadership style.

Such is not the case with Stephen Harper.

He was the one who took over the Canadian Alliance, and undertook the task of uniting the right, to create a "one stop shop" for conservative voters.

Within three years, he and the new Conservative Party had unseated the "natural ruling" Liberal government.

After two minority governments in 2006 and 2008, Harper finally achieved a majority in 2011.

It was during the 2011 campaign that I, as a 19 year old conservative, felt a calling to do my part.

I volunteered on the London West reelection effort of Ed Holde. Throughout a big portion of my youth, Stephen Harper was all I knew about conservatism in Canada. He created this party, and was leading it to another victory.

I've already heard calls of people wanting to rebrand: a woman leader; bring the progressives back; change our message; shift to the Left, etc.

These ideas could not be more wrong.

What the Conservative Party needs is a leader much like Stephen Harper, but perhaps a bit younger and with more charisma.

Don't forget that it was he that gave us almost a decade of continued power in the House. There is nothing wrong with our brand or message as it stands. On election night, one could hardly call the conservative's loss a "defeat" as we still remain the official opposition with almost 100 seats.

Voter fatigue doesn't mean defeat -- it means you just need to find a new voice to keep them captivated.

As they say, why fix what ain't broken?



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commented 2015-11-09 18:26:52 -0500
Oh God, so you liberals actually liked the legacy of Pierre? Aiyaiyai. Jack, you damn well know there was nothing new about how Harper handled his MPs. He was no different than Martin or Cretien.
commented 2015-11-09 10:50:44 -0500
Bill, the ideology is part of the problem. Whether you believe in the media boogeyman or not, the fact is that their platform did not stand up to detailed scrutiny nor find much appeal among Joe Average. They managed to win a majority in 2011 despite this so called Media Party, so something else must be at play here – a combination of voter frustration and poorly run campaign meant the opposition’s platform gained traction.

Their “big tent” strategy could also be viewed as a compromise of principles, trying to appeal to everyone and ending up not appealing to anyone, beyond principled core voters who would support them no matter what. They didn’t really offer fiscal conservatism; their handouts were pretty much the opposite thereof. Their social conservatism, which was deliberately hidden, but not removed, is not appealing to most. Finally, they really didn’t have any ideas, their whole campaign was “Justin isn’t ready”. It was doomed from the start.
commented 2015-11-08 19:34:20 -0500
The Conservative party does not need rebranding – they need an effective way to get their ideology out. The MSM has been denied to them because of the partisan nature of its ownership-editorial bias. Post-Reform amalgamated conservatism was a big tent party which held the best facsts from several political ideologies – populism, democratic constitutionalism, practical libertarianism, fiscal conservatism and Von Mises market economics – essentially, freedom oriented and belief in empowering the individual legally, politically and economically and disempowering redundant statism, true sustainable liberty and prosperity – a powerful humanist message. Certainly the opposite of low-expectation, celebration of failure liberalism.

They must stigmatize liberal politics as appealing only to the low info voter and selfish corporate insiders (the party of idiots, thugs and losers) while exhaulting the wisdom and evolved ethical standards of neo conservativism.
commented 2015-11-08 18:42:01 -0500
Jack Carter commented – There were many conservatives who hated Harper as well. They would have also preferred someone else to be leader of the Conservative Party."

I can tell you’ve never been to a CPC leadership vote – Harper always got a large margin of support

Then we get this zinger – “let’s talk about Pierre Trudeau, who is still voted to be Canada’s best Prime Minister and which every Prime Minister after Trudeau has been compared to.”

Heh -Besides never having been to a CPC party meeting, I can tell you also have never been west of Kenora or north of Montreal. PET is universally detested in the west and in Quebec – so much so that authorities had to put security around the grave site in St. Remi because locals were always breaking in and using it like a urinal
commented 2015-11-06 12:32:16 -0500
The rebranding fools think that more appeasement is the answer to what was a failure of appeasement.
commented 2015-11-06 04:20:35 -0500
The fed cons need an unapologetic loud mouth like Trump or King Ralph.

The last thing we need is a conservative leader that is trying to fight the losing battle of trying to appeal to the left.
commented 2015-11-05 23:03:49 -0500
Whoever wrote this has no idea who Rona Ambrose is and certainly doesn’t know she’s a very intelligent woman. Go Rona Ambrose Go!
commented 2015-11-05 22:58:25 -0500
After 2 – 3 years, Canadians will be feeling the remorse of voting in JT and wishing that Harper was still at the helm.
commented 2015-11-05 22:14:55 -0500
As a Conservative, I believe the experiences of Rona Ambrose is the right one. And many will agree with me.
commented 2015-11-05 20:00:26 -0500

Give me a break. There were many conservatives who hated Harper as well. They would have also preferred someone else to be leader of the Conservative Party. Some conservative politicians even quit over the way Harper does thing ala his tyrannical my way or the highway of running Canada.

Yes, let’s talk about Pierre Trudeau, who is still voted to be Canada’s best Prime Minister and which every Prime Minister after Trudeau has been compared to.
commented 2015-11-05 17:33:21 -0500
Most Canadians, to my sadness, and in direct opposition to rational and sanity, are left, not even centre left. There was no stink to Harper, and the agents of the Liberal party know it. What they hated was the message, a message of reasonable conservatism. Wouldn’t have mattered who lead the charge, they would have smeared anyone. All in the style of Saul Alinski, their great teacher. Now let’s talk about Liberal stink….from the stink of Pierre Trudeau…to absolute rotting stench of Cretien and the same old same old of Trudeau (without the intelligence to match of course)
commented 2015-11-05 15:57:38 -0500
History!. That is why it would have been an absolute stunner had we won another term. Just do a check and see how many governments in any ‘legitimate’ democracy lasted more than ten years.
The other, and completely unpredictable factor was that Mulcair never realized until it was too late that he was fighting the wrong opponent. Then he did what most do when they screw up. He came up with the Mickey Mouse. claim he was happy to sacrifice his own ambitions just to defeat Harper.
Will the Conservatives bounce back. Well unlike the Liberals who lost almost all their seats after the ‘stink’ of corruption wouldn’t go away, the conservatives, as pointed out in the article, still hold close to a hundred seats. So, because of history, of course they will
commented 2015-11-05 13:20:41 -0500
And your way of thinking is why the Conservative Party probably won’t win an election for quite some time. It will take years for the stink of Harper to finally go away, so the last thing the party should do is find someone like Harper. Someone like Harper will also never beat Justin Trudeau.

The only reason why Conservatives won in the first place, is because Liberals AT THE TIME fucked up and did some highly questionable things. So it’s understandable that Canadians would want to avoid giving power to Liberals AT THE TIME again.

The reality is that Canada is a socialist country in many regards and the majority of Canadians are liberal/center left. In other words, if you go any more right than Stephen Harper, The Conservative Party would be unelectable in Canada.
commented 2015-11-05 11:26:30 -0500
It’s been The #Progressives that were melded in to the conservative/reform party that have been the PROBLEM all along. They were “invited” at that time (2004) to leave and join the Liberals, but some of them just hung around and made mischief. That’s a Progressive for you.
commented 2015-11-05 09:34:32 -0500
Agree. The campaign itself had problems, but the conservative message nor the leader was not the problem at all. All polling showed the people on side with the substance of Harper and the Conservatives, but for various reasons, enough people were convinced to vote opposite. We have four years to figure out those reasons in a definitive manner and learn how to combat them.