Names fly as Conservatives anticipate leadership race

Names of potential leadership contenders begin swirling within hours of Stephen Harper’s defeat to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives at Rideau Hall to ask Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Parliament, beginning the longest federal election campaign in recent history, in Ottawa August 2, 2015.  (Blair Gable/Reuters)

(Blair Gable/Reuters)

TORONTO – Charest, Raitt, Ford, Kenney…Mulroney?

The names of potential leadership contenders began swirling around Conservative circles within hours of Stephen Harper’s defeat to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, including that of another man who grew up at 24 Sussex — Mark Mulroney.

Mulroney, son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, is the head of equity capital markets at National Bank. Brother Ben is a well-known broadcaster with the CTV network.

His name might be sheer speculation, but in these early days before the race crystallizes, party members will have fun blueskying the contenders.

The structure of the race itself hasn’t taken shape yet. A conference call of the party’s governing body will take place Tuesday night to appoint a committee tasked with organizing the leadership contest.

Ontario MP and former cabinet minister Lisa Raitt isn’t ruling out a run, but said there’s analytical work to be done before anyone heads down that road.

“We need to understand what happened before we understand where we’re going in the future,” said Raitt, who is advocating for a meeting of all current and unseated caucus members.

“Until you know what the problems were, you can’t put yourself forward being the solution.”

Early Tuesday, a group promoting former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford put out a press release supporting his potential candidacy. Ford delivered a 10-minute speech at a Harper rally just a few days ago.

“I can’t answer that now,” Ford told Toronto Sun reporter Don Peat on Tuesday when asked about the unfolding race.

He was seen having lunch recently with another possible contender, MP and former cabinet minister Kellie Leitch. Leitch has been said to be kicking the tires for a possible run.

Of all the names, MP Jason Kenney’s is the one most mentioned, and the one believed to be the best organized and placed for a run. Party insiders say Kenney has been quietly putting together a base of support for many years, particularly through his contact with ethnic communities across the country.

He is also likely to have the strongest support within the caucus itself, having lent his campaigning and fundraising assistance to so many of the MPs and candidates.

MP Michael Chong, a politician who earned a reputation for defending the voice of individual MPs and calling for civility in the Commons, is another person who comes up in conversation.

But the fact that the Liberals won such a decisive majority might dissuade some from considering a run, since the next Conservative leader would be in opposition for an indefinite amount of time.


Names fly as Conservatives anticipate leadership race

  1. It’ll be at least 8 years before it matters….plenty of time

  2. Yup, the Conservatives have many things to look at and the time to do it.

    Canada, and the Press, should be checking on the make and models of shredders being used at the Langevin Block.. The industrial quality will have to be evident to be able to chew up not just paper but hard drives and cell phones. Shouldn’t the GG be calling Harper for a little sit down by now.. Harper is still the PM with no mandate and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Harper create some constitutional crisis to retain the office of PM. Those moving trucks sitting just down the street from 24 Sussex with their engines running are now on overtime..!!

  3. Hello all;

    We will find out who the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative party are in the due course of events. My guess is that Mr. Harper wants to hang around, choose his successor (because he naturally knows best) and be “king-maker” of the future Conservative party.

    Either that, or his own party is going to ask him not to sit simply because like so many other Canadians, they are so, so, so very tired of hearing from him and nobody is listening anymore.

    How low the mighty Mr. Harper has fallen. He had to go, and now that the job is done, now that he is gone; I am just so pleased.

    Secondly, what kind of integrity can the Conservatives bring to the House of Commons as the Official Opposition given their complete lack of integrity when in Office?

    I’m laughing already. Like the Liberals before them not so long ago, and I hope that Mr. Trudeau takes heed, it is going to be so much fun watching the Conservatives tie themselves up in knots during debate.

    What can they possibly object to without getting laughed out of the House of Commons?

    Others may still admire the ignorance, bigotry and prejudice of Conservative ideology but as a Canadian I am simply too strong, too proud and too free for that.

    But, this is all getting ahead of myself. For now, it is good enough just to bask in the glow.

    Best wishes and best regards to all;
    Mr. Brian Leslie Engler

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