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Patrick Brown visit to Hamilton shows difference in strategy in Conservative leadership race

Patrick Brown visit to Hamilton shows difference in strategy in Conservative leadership race

Most of the focus in the early going of the Conservative leadership race has been on Pierre Poilievre who has been attracting large crowds with a populist message. Other candidates are taking a different tack, focusing on signing up new members. Former Quebec Premier Jean Charest told CBC recently that the name of the game is signing up new members, not attracting crowds. Referring to Maxime Bernier who ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of the Conservatives before forming the People’s Party, “Didn’t Mr. Bernier also have big crowds?” said Charest, referring to the former Conservative leadership hopeful who went on to found the People’s Party of Canada.”Now, as far as I know, Mr. Bernier does not have a seat in the House of Commons, neither he nor anyone else from his party.”

Similarly, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is also focusing on signing new members. In Hamilton Saturday he tweeted, “Thanks to MP Dan Muys (MP for Flamborough-Glanbrook) and  (Ward Seven) City Councillor Esther Pauls for joining my membership drive across Hamilton on Saturday afternoon. We are building a diverse and inclusive big tent Conservative coalition that can win in Hamilton and across the country.”

As the mayor of the city with the highest number of South Asian and Muslim residents, Brown is making a concerted pitch to these voters. Political observers noted that the failures of both Andrew Scheer and Erin O’toole stemmed from the domination of the party by roughly 250,000 members who skewed strongly right. It forced both leaders to pander to conservative ideology during the leadership campaign and then try to move to the centre during elections. The strategy of Charest and Brown is to bring enough new members into the fold to dilute the influence of the hard-liners and thus appeal to a broader cross-section of Canadian voters..

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