Well the Tory leadership race is off and running. Really only two serious contenders at this point. Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole have entered the contest plus a few of the “Who Are They?”
Still plenty of time for some hard-right candidate or someone representing the Social Conservative movement to appear.
MacKay appears to be the front runner but that can evaporate pretty quickly. Most front-runners try to play a safe game and do nothing to upset people and they try to avoid mistakes. This can backfire and allow candidates with a bolder vision to come forward and close the gap.
The MacKay communication team’s recent screw up when they cancelled an interview because they didn’t want Peter to take a question is a case in point. Every Conservative MP who has ever done an interview knows that there will be an unexpected question that is designed to rattle them. Peter has done hundreds of interviews; they should have left him to answer it. Rumor has it that there is a shake up in his comms team- a good thing.
O’Toole has been a solid MP and a strong performer since first elected. He appeared to start his campaign by being very combative, something that is generally out of character for him. While there is nothing wrong with promoting your own views, you have to be careful that you don’t appear so out of character that you turn supporters away.
Another MP calling himself a candidate is Derek Sloan. He faced a lot of criticism around his comments that being gay was a choice. I must admit I haven’t heard that kind of stuff for quite some time. If he wants to run on a platform of bold ideas, he hurt himself with that comment.
Marilyn Gladu, another MP, has declared as a candidate too. Outside of complaining about the media ignoring her candidacy, has anyone heard of her outside of her own riding?
There are a few other names- Rick Peterson, John Williamson, Richard Decarie and Leslyn Lewis, but the reality of the contest is they have roughly 3 weeks left to raise $300,000 and get 3000 signatures and that is very difficult to do.
All of the potential candidates keep saying they are close to submitting their application and funds- but the reality is that this is just BS until they do. Some people’s egos are much bigger than their ability to lead a party. Watch for some of these so-called contenders to drop out and endorse other candidates.
As the February 27 deadline approaches it will be the serious contenders left in the mix. It will be interesting to see which of the so-called candidates are left standing. So far the race is a snoozer.