Sometime in the coming weeks Canada’s Conservatives will meet to try to understand what went wrong in the election which saw them once again holding an edge in the popular vote but falling 40 seats behind Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
By rights it should be a short meeting.
When a party campaigns on relaxation of gun control at a time when 82 percent of Canadians want gun control, (Ipsos) you are in trouble on that issue. Similarly, when you can’t get your own candidates to get vaccinated at a time when Ipsos says between 70 and 80 percent of Canadians support vaccine mandates, depending on whether it is teachers, health care workers or the rest of us, again you are swimming against the tide. With these kinds of numbers, it would be well for those Conservatives who want to get rid of O’Toole because he swung too far to the centre, to reconsider. If he had taken stronger positions against gun control and mandatory vaccinations, it’s likely the Conservatives would have won even fewer seats, than the 119 they got. You can’t win an election when you are offside with the majority of the public on key issues like these. The conservatives will have to decide whether to stay true-blue and cater to what is clearly a minority– and essentially never form a government; or to look for ways of appealing to a broader cross-section of Canadians. They should be thanking O’Toole for keeping them as close as he did with the ball and chain he was handed.