The Conservative leadership race is almost at the finish line. And the contestants are firing up their base, not building a big tent. Bruce Anderson writes:
On a range of policy issues, the Conservatives seem determined to re-create the same coalition of voters that supported them in 2015, when they were handed their hat. Stephen Harper’s party bet heavily against compassion for refugees and tolerance towards Muslim immigrants. Most observers in the Party acknowledged that the low point of the campaign was when Kellie Leitch and Chris Alexander stood at a podium to announce that Canada needed a special measure—a toll free snitch line—to report the barbarism of your next door Muslim.
That didn’t work very well. But both those former Ministers are running, and hanging out with the Ezra Levant crowd which never wants to talk about anything else. Too often the only news about this race was the fight over who cares enough to keep Canada ‘Canadian’, if you know what we mean.
To win an election in Canada, a party has to do what Justin Trudeau did -- appeal to millennials:
You don’t have to be elbows deep in polling data to know intuitively what we see in our studies—that most young people are progressive and open minded, global in outlook, interested in new ideas, compassionate about the refugees, concerned about climate change, and inspired by technology and innovation.
Younger voters want smart, creative thinking about how to shape an evolving Canadian economy in a constantly disrupted world. They want a society that’s welcoming and open, not suspicious, anxious and closed.
They need a big tent. But Conservatives seem obsessed with keeping "the wrong kind of people" out.