Winning the party leadership race and winning the general election are two different things. A policy that appeals to loyal political parties may seem unsalable to a large portion of the population.
Newly elected Conservative leaders Pierre Polivre and Daniel Smith have struck a balance between staying true to their election promises and presenting voters with a winning political outcome. You have to understand what you are doing. Self-proclaimed political pundits were no doubt whispering in the ears of new leaders, advising them to change direction from leadership the moment they won their respective elections.
Both leaders seem to have resisted the temptation to turn back. So far, at least.
Neither Erin O’Toole nor Jason Kenny were willing to step down from their roles as party leader. They were both dishonorably territorialized by their own party compatriots. In O’Toole, it was by caucus, and in Kenny’s, it was by popular vote by party members. In both cases, the leaders were perceived to have made high promises while keeping conservative principles low. Polivre and Smith must have the fate of their predecessors in mind when considering a change in policy stance.
O’Toole flip-flopped on some key planks of his leadership campaign as soon as he won the race. His promises to end the carbon tax, stop funding the CBC, repeal the recent firearms ban and allow MPs to vote freely have faded, much to the chagrin of Conservatives. Party members relented when O’Toole’s abandonment of conservative principles didn’t lead to votes in his 2021 federal election.
Kenny’s removal from leadership was a slow process, but less decisive, as intense leadership reviews yielded only 51% support from membership. He returned Alberta’s conservative values to the state government and took Alberta’s lead over the NDP as a reformist who fought Ottawa for state rights. As Prime Minister, he set up several commissions and committees, such as the “Fair Trade” Commission, to consider how states could stand up to the federal government. After that, he shelved almost all panel recommendations. Members had had enough when Kenny promised he would never impose vaccine passports on citizens. They dismissed him as party leader as soon as they had the chance.
Many experts in Ottawa and Alberta expected, if not demanded, that both Smith and Polivre pivot left from their leadership platforms. It’s hard to imagine they would, seeing the harsh recent results delivered.
Both leaders need to do something that conservatives have not done in Canada for quite some time. It’s about campaigning as a conservative and winning an election. This is not an unreasonable request of the members, nor is it an impossible task.
If a pivot to the left was the formula for success in winning Canadian elections, Erin O’Toole would be the prime minister today. , Kenny would not have fallen behind the NDP in the polls before being dismissed as UCP leader.
Voters are not as ideologically driven as many political strategists think. They tend to vote on instinct as much as they do on a particular policy stance. They want to feel confident in who they vote for, and they want a positive vision. does not appear to be Alberta is not a left-leaning state, but when the Conservative Party seemed discredited in 2015, voters gave Rachel his NDP majority government to Mr. Notley.
Pierre Polivre and Daniel Smith never win elections by calling themselves liberals. You can change the priority of your stance, but you cannot undo it. Given Bitcoin’s devaluation, it’s no surprise that Poilievre hasn’t put cryptocurrencies at the forefront of its agenda these days. Similarly, Smith has softened the rhetoric about the proposed sovereignty law, though she hasn’t repealed it, although her policy can’t completely remove her plank.
Federal elections are likely not to take place for at least a year, so Poilievre has some more time to work. He only has seven months left before Smith has to face the voters.
The establishment has done everything it can to oppose Smith.From now until next spring’s election, everything she says will be portrayed as extreme and controversial. If you can withstand the barrage, you can win with conservatives. If she pivots, she is finished. That could inspire Polyvre to stay true to his values.
Pivoting is not an option.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.