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What comes next? Some thoughts from a rookie Conservative MP.

New Tory MP Garnett Genuis: ‘We’re going to need to have some important conversations’


 
Monday, October 19, 2015 - Calgary, Alberta -  Conservative party supporters arrive to an empty room as they wait for party leader Stephen Harper to speak from Calgary, Alberta on Monday, October 19, 2015. (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Conservative party supporters arrive to an empty room as they wait for party leader Stephen Harper to speak from Calgary on Oct. 19, 2015 (Photograph by Chris Bolin)

Garnett Genuis is the member of Parliament for Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan.

What comes next for Canadian Conservatives?

Where do we as Conservatives go from here? Since the modern, united Conservative party was created, we’ve won three out of five elections. We’ve won one majority and two minorities, while giving up one minority and one majority. That’s a relatively good record. Frankly, our latest loss wasn’t so big. It just stings a little more, because the collapse of the NDP made the magnitude of the Liberal gains much bigger than the magnitude of our losses.
As a newly elected Conservative MP, I feel as if I just caught the ball on a Kansas City home run. Still, I’m looking forward to being part of the discussion about where we go from here.

The numbers I started with, three out of five wins since the formation of our party, are important for us to reflect on. Those who think we lost this time because of a failure to position ourselves well on the ideological spectrum have to explain why we formed government after 2006, 2008 and 2011. The outgoing Prime Minister (well, not that outgoing) was the longest-serving Conservative Prime Minister since Sir John A. Macdonald.

Election post-mortems always end up making it sound as though the winner did everything right and the loser did everything wrong. This is understandable, since winning campaigns probably do more things right than losing campaigns. However, winning an election can be as much about luck and timing as it is about policy and leadership. Winning campaigns would do well to still look for ways they can do better next time, and losing campaigns should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

As Conservatives, we’re going to need to have some important conversations about where we go from here. I already sense there are some who want to take advantage of what happened to fundamentally re-orient our party, especially with respect to our positions on key issues. But the modern, united Conservative party has had an above-average run. Certainly, we have a better success rate than any of our predecessor parties achieved.

Voters I spoke with during this campaign certainly had some complaints about us. But none of those complaints struck at the core of who and what we are as Conservatives. Our support for low taxes, open trade, balanced budgets, a serious and hard-headed foreign policy, and an approach to citizenship that prohibits those who would destroy our way of life from trading on the value of a Canadian passport, remains very popular, even among many who, ultimately, did not vote for us.

As we go forward, we should make a particular point of talking with and listening to those who voted for us in 2011, but did not in 2015. Our new leader, especially, will need to have the contacts and credibility to renew our relationships with conservative-minded new Canadians. We should be willing to change where necessary, including policy positions. But if we change too much, we risk alienating key swaths of supporters. We won’t grow from 30 per cent to 40 per cent by alienating any group of conservatives.

Whatever direction we take, it is clear to me that, 12 years since the formation of our party, we are strong, united and capable of respectful and sincere internal debate. We are still the most successful and effective conservative political vehicle that has existed in this country in more than 100 years. There’s some bath water on board, but also a whole lot of baby.


 

What comes next? Some thoughts from a rookie Conservative MP.

  1. People like Garnett Genuis are the problemm

  2. Very well written commentary.

    The Conservatives have positioned themselves to regain power. Might not be in 2019, but it will be some day.

    • What? How have the position themselves to regain power? They don’t have leader or even an interim leader. Policies wise duh, parliament has not even resume or anything for that matter has been debated yet. I suggest you wait until December to start saying that the Conservatives are positioning themselves to assume power in 2019

    • Both the Liberals and the Conservatives at times find themselves turfed out. Eventually, each returns to power. The Conservatives have just been turfed out, it will be a while before they return to power.

      In the meantime, learning to have respectful and sincere debates with non-Conservative supporters would be a very good thing. Harper governed for Conservatives, the rest of us didn’t count. Unless the Conservatives can learn to respect other’s views and govern for all Cdns., the return to power will take a very long time.

  3. Are we looking at Harper 2.0? And what is it about conservatives that they still have this on their mind
    “an approach to citizenship that prohibits those who would destroy our way of life from trading on the value of a Canadian passport” We don’t ask Canadian of Italian descent whether they are connected to the Mafia? And we don’t kick our white dudes who rides Harley and wear colours that define their affiliations out of our country so why pick on the minorities.
    Low taxes are great except when it causes everything else to crumble around you. Open trade is great except when we give our right as a country to corporations that are owned by other countries. Allowing their people to work in country because the trade deal says so is not a good idea. Balance budgets is what every government tries to do at the start of their fiscal year barring unforeseen economic events. The problems arises when the actual don’t match the budget that a government put out for whatever reason. That usually mean they did not do a good budget or they were not good a managing their costs. As for serious hard headed foreign policy is not following what your neighbours to the south always seem to get involve in or making foreign policy by trying to get the approval of a electoral group that has strong connections to their home countries.

    • Trudeau has a star candidate and now MP from Toronto, Bill Blair, who was an outspoken Toronto police chief in favour of the racist practice of carding, and who also was in charge of the police on the ground during the G20, when they were corralling demonstrators.

      • Mars appears to be doing damage to it”s moon Phobos.

  4. This is hilarious.
    “We are still the most successful and effective conservative political vehicle that has existed in this country in more than 100 years.”
    It’s like Mulroney’s two enormous majorities vanished into thin air.

    • Mulroney’s two enormous majorities DID vanish into thin air. There was nothing left of the so-called “Progressive Conservative party” after Mulroney.

      99 seats >> 2 seats. Mulroney didn’t build a sustainable political party.

      • Yes, there was. In fact, Red Tories are still around

        It was Reform…..the very people we’re throwing out now…..who did the damage.

      • And, we are about to see if the party Harper created under the Conservative banner is sustainable.

  5. Like so many Cons, he doesn’t recognize that the Liberals won and NDP lost because of the massive anybody but Harper and strategic voting campaigns. Canada would have put Mulcair in power just as quickly, but at the end he lost it to the polls where he fell behind. The only alternative was to vote Liberal.

    • Dippers use that excuse every election

  6. Sadly, some of the newly-elected Conservative MPs appear to believe the line being put out by most of the HarperCONS: “Our policies were good. We didn’t lose THAT badly. We just need to tweak a few things.”

    Conservatives still don’t “get” that the ONLY reason they won (with some cheating) 3 elections is because, in 2006, Canadians REALLY wanted to spank the Liberals for all their scandals, and in 2008 & 2011, the Liberals selected a leader who was simply un-electable as PM.

    The CPC vote went down by 250K whereas the Liberal vote went up by about 4M.

    By any measure, that is a trouncing.

    The CPC is back to being the Angry-Old-White-Man-Regional-Rump party it was back when it was called Reform and CRAAP.

    It keeps speaking of a big tent, but its policies and attitude are inherently exclusive.

    Since its inception, the CPC message has been: If you don’t look like the overwhelming majority of our demographic and/or have views other that ours, we have no lessons to learn from you. You are not welcome here.

  7. “Our support for low taxes, open trade, balanced budgets, a serious and hard-headed foreign policy, and an approach to citizenship that prohibits those who would destroy our way of life from trading on the value of a Canadian passport”

    And there you have it — the pinched and unimaginative conservative mind. We didn’t get from where we were a hundred years ago to where we are now with this kind of tedious and uninspiring paean to rote custodianship.

    Oh, I know we’re not supposed to look to government (by the people, for the people) as the means by which we’ll build the more-enlightened, more-equal, more-sustainable societies of the next hundred years — by golly, the corporations will get us there more-efficiently, with more-profit for… uh… oh, yeah.

    So young, Mr. Garnuis, but already so sadly lacking in ideals.

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