Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives have taken the approach of pretending that Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada doesn’t exist. They avoid referring to them or debating them. They are hoping that the party will simply sail into the sunset without making any measurable impact on the election. Is this a wise strategy though?
While many try to paint Bernier as an extremist, he doesn’t present as one when speaking and the proposals he makes are supported by a large segment of Canadians. It must be remembered that not long ago Bernier lost the leadership race of the Conservative Party of Canada by only a hair’s breadth. He clearly resonates with many within conservative circles.
I ran Twitter a poll as something of an experiment as a response to the somewhat Liberal leaning outcome of the popular Twitter personality of “Crackmacs”. I contended that the outcomes of Twitter polls only reflected the following of the person posting the poll as opposed to people at large. I cut and paste the same wording of his poll and posted it, including hashtags.
Some folks carry more politically diverse followers than others. Clearly I am not one of them. I knew that I would have a strongly Conservative leaning poll outcome but even I was surprised with how much this was the case.
With nearly 5000 voters we found over 90% choosing Conservative.
Years of my abrasive style of tweeting and my political leaning has developed a pretty strong pool of Twitter followers. Again though, these results only tell tales about my social media following and are useless when compared to the electorate at large.
One may note the 300 comments on the poll. Of those, there were well over a hundred people manually responding that they will vote for the PPC but didn’t have the option in the poll that I had presented.
This prompted me to post a new poll with just 24 hours to vote and to only give the CPC and the PPC as options.
In drilling down with the assumption of the voting pool being predominantly conservative to begin with, we can get some numbers where more can be read in to the results.
With over 3000 votes in 24 hours this is a pretty healthy sampling of a conservative pool. Again though due to the type of following I have gathered, the libertarian leaning would be stronger and the red tory types would be weaker. PPC support in that case would be a bit over represented as well.
I think there are enough numbers in there to make some broad conclusions though.
Support for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada within conservative circles is too strong to continue to ignore. Those kind of numbers cut clearly into spoiler territory in many ridings in Canada and it would be foolhardy to ignore them.
Rather than continuing to pretend that Max doesn’t exist, I think it is time that Scheer and company started to consider what Bernier is doing to draw people to him.
Conservatives are tired of being shut down on contentious issues. Political correctness has gagged too many players on too many issues which are important to Canadians. Bernier is taking those issues on directly while Scheer takes the standard mushy, noncommittal middle approach. We have had 4 years of mushyness with Trudeau. Its time to see somebody taking the reins and putting themselves out there. So far Bernier is the only one willing to do so.
Immigration is not a sacred subject and the extreme position is actually an open borders one. Nobody reasonable wants to halt all immigration but most people want to see an immigration system with reasonable controls. Equalization is a real issue to many in the West. Supply management and the ever increasingly expensive and biased CBC are subjects worthy of getting on.
Hell in 2016 Scheer said he would axe the CBC news division, now he is saying he would scrutinize their work to ensure more Canadian content. Come on! Take a stand somewhere!
If the CPC wants to stop the bleeding of precious votes to the PPC they will need to start talking the right language and talking it soon. If they continue to look like a somewhat more conservative version of the Liberals they will lose those votes for good.
Should the CPC suddenly embrace all of the PPC policies and platform? Of course not. Bernier is only polling at a few percent across the country.
Bernier is also taking a big bit out of the traditional conservative base though and the Conservative Party of Canada can’t afford to keep pretending that he isn’t there.