Who took Canada?

Written by Brenda Schimke

The federal Conservative party did well in choosing Erin O’Toole as their next leader. He was the candidate with the best personal attributes to deliver a victory.

Most critical for the Conservative Party, O’Toole is already in the House of Commons and is bilingual. Starting on day one, he will be able to directly challenge Prime Minister Trudeau.

O’Toole is a person who has respect for governmental institutions, the rule of law, and has had substantive careers as both a

Toronto lawyer and a member of the armed forces.

O’Toole traditionally is a progressive and doesn’t often represent the ugly under-belly of the party that too often shows disdain for immigrants, refugees, the LGTBQ community, environmentalists, Muslims, black lives and aboriginal rights.

O’Toole will more likely follow Preston Manning, the founder of the Reform movement, who said abortion was settled and should never become a policy discussion.

O’Toole understands walking in a gay parade isn’t about promoting a lifestyle, it’s about showing the Christian belief that all persons are created by God and loved equally by God.

It’s showing the democratic value that the rule of the majority must respect and protect the minority.

A campaign focusing on Trudeau’s ethical failings won’t be a winning strategy. Generally, in Western societies voters have come to believe that all politicians are corrupt—which is unfortunate and inaccurate, but real.

Many women, however, aren’t past Trudeau’s despicable treatment of former cabinet ministers, Jodie Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, and are ripe for the picking. O’Toole should also focus on the youth and students and present their alternative proposal for Covid-19 funding.

The majority of Canadian voters sit in the middle and are comfortable voting either Liberal or Conservative.

It is no secret that the Conservative Party under Stephen Harper and Andrew Scheer, and the Jason Kenney provincial party, use Republican strategies to Americanize our political discourse.

Yet polls consistently show that 70 per cent of Canadians find Donald Trump and the Republican Party contemptible.

The 30 per cent who approve are generally from the prairie provinces. That, in a nutshell, spells out why Conservatives have so much trouble winning Eastern votes.

Wade Davis, Professor of Anthropology at the University of BC and naturalized American, wrote “The Unraveling of America” in the latest edition of the Rolling Stones.

His words are profound.

“The American cult of the individual denies not just community but the very idea of society. No one owes anything to anyone. What every prosperous and successful democracy deems to be fundamental rights—universal health care, equal access to quality public education, a social safety net for the weak, elderly and infirmed—America dismisses as socialist indulgences.”

“Mask wearing is the simplest illustration of this point. Those who refuse to wear a mask during the pandemic say “it’s their individual freedom”.

Those who wear masks understand it takes cooperative fortitude and sacrifice to defeat the virus and save lives. O’Toole has the moral authority to bridge the chasm within the Conservative party and regain support from Canadians who want a liberal democracy, not an American brand of individualism, self-righteousness and hatred.

Non-partisans, the majority, are concerned about jobs, public health care, public education, the environment, peace and keeping their kids safe from gun violence, Covid-19, poverty and a polluted environment.

To win over Canadians, Mr. O’Toole must remember ‘unity’ doesn’t mean ‘unanimity’, ‘debate’ doesn’t mean ‘division’, and winning doesn’t mean ‘serving only your base’—making it imperative that his first act should be to ditch his divisive Republican slogan, ‘Take back Canada’.


B. Schimke

ECA Review

About the author

Brenda Schimke

Schimke is a Graduate with Distinction from the University of Alberta with a BCom degree. She has lived and worked in Alberta, BC and Ontario.