Two articles from the print edition, which you should buy anyway: I ponder the significance of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s odd new CD; and I try to figure out who will replace Stephen Harper as the next federal Conservative leader.



  1. Rona Ambrose is from Edmonton.

  2. “Harper needn’t watch his back. No one’s there.”

    Doesn’t this also imply that no one’s backing him up? ;)

  3. Hmm, Wells has a national name, speaks French (hopefully with not too much of a Parisian accent now), and could pass in many circles as a red-tory. Maybe he should run.

  4. Mike Said: Rona Ambrose is from Edmonton.

    And I’m fairly certain Stock Day was from Red Deer.

    But if we’re going back, Jim Prentice originally hails from South Porcupine, ON.

  5. No, Rona Ambrose’s riding is in West Edmonton.

  6. Rona Ambrose was born way up in the northwest quadrant of Alberta and ended up in or around Spruce Grove, AB, which is about a half hour west of Edmonton. (Which is where I’m from, actually.) But Edmonton is basically close enough I guess.

    Stock’s lived basically everywhere and was born in Ontario, though he did end up in Red Deer. He was the Alberta MLA for Red Deer North from 1986 to 2000, and now of course he lives in BC.

    Preston Manning was born and raised in Edmonton; Harper is, as I think many of us know, from the GTA – he moved to Calgary for his second shot at university, at U of C. Though those two at least ended up in Calgary for their political careers, so we can count them, I suppose…

    Maybe our esteemed host here meant the, um, conceptual Calgary.

  7. Origins of the would-be leaders aside: why not Jim Flaherty? He seems to resonate pretty well with the Conservative base, he’s got that Irish barfight sort of image, he does well in debates, has his ducks in a row on camera… my personal opinions aside, I think he would get a fair number of votes, no?

  8. And there’s this: both Ambrose and Prentice are from Calgary. So were Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, Joe Clark and Harper. Well, Day moved to British Columbia in 2000, but he probably didn’t fool anyone.

    This is so wrong it’s not even funny. It can’t even be based on where these people were MPs, because Ambrose and Day have never been Calgary MPs (or MLAs, for that matter).

  9. Even when Harper leaves, as he will eventually (and we can expect that if defeated by a significant margin, he will most likely leave rather than hanging on like a Clark or Diefenbaker) the Conservative Party will continue to operate the same way it does now.

    At present the Conservative Party is probably the most centralized, top down operation in Canadian political history. A small cadre of career staffers and organizers going back to the Reform days control everything, and if the Boss goes there will probably be a nasty but brief internal struggle, after which they will probably line up behind one candidate, and throw all of the ressources of the party (mailing lists, donors, the organization of the leadership selection process), fairly or unfairly and with little regard for the rules, behind him.

    As for the candidates, you can bet that Michael Fortier(if elected) will run, benefiting from his exceptional communications skills, but losing out because he has some of the same flaws as Bernier, and because Lawrence Cannon, who runs the Quebec Party Office, detests him.

    Flaherty and Baird would probably at least try to make a go for it and fight over the Blue Tories in Ontario. MacKay would definitely be in, despite no chance of winning and would win Atlantic Canada while fighting Fortier for control of Quebec.

    The Party remains the strongest, and the best funded, in the West. There we could expect a short, nasty battle to become the new political boss there. Prentice and Ambrose, a Red Tory and a Woman, probably wouldn’t be seen as acceptable by the more conservative party base, which means the fight would probably end up being between Kenney(seriously) and Solberg. Barring an attempt by Stockwell Day to run a campaign based exclusively on religious conservatives acting as a spoiler, the winner of that fight would take the vast majority of delegates in the West, and be the front runner for the leadership.

    Of all the candidates mentioned, Prentice would probably make the best P.M. which might get him somewhere with Conservative voters, but could just as easily translate into a positive opinion carrying with it no actual votes.

  10. Sorry, meant to say points. Tories don’t have delegated conventions.


    The one interesting thing would be to see who Harper would prefer to have as his successor. He seems to genuinely like Jason Kenney and John Baird, both whom don’t seem very Prime Ministerial, so it would be interesting to see how that turned out.

  11. Paul Wells said:

    “When Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance merged in 2002 it was not a partnership of equals. Alliance members outnumbered Progressive Conservatives 10 to one.

    With tens of thousands of new memberships sold since 2002, nobody knows the proportion now, but it’s probably still closer to 10 to one than five to one.

    Are the CPC still offering Alliance and PC memberships? Maybe thats why “nobody knows the proportion now”. It’s not necessarily limited data that prevents analysis rather it’s a false assumption by you that there are still two parties.

    Perhaps you could look into your crystal ball/instant guesstimate machine and tell us the ratio of liberal party membership holders that are Dion supporters and which percentage support Iggy or Bob Rae? Chretien vs Martin Liberals? Liberals outside Toronto and Montreal?

  12. There are some inside the party who mutter that Prentice doesn’t have a chance because of his stance on gay marriage…

  13. Hello! What about Jean Charest?

  14. Maybe they could recruit the ghost of John Bracken so he could once again insist they adopt the word ‘Progressive’, thus giving them a hope in hell of winning the country. I suppose they’d rather stay true to their Reform roots, tho. Where’s Bob “back of the shop” Ringma these days? Darryl “Do you have the fortitude” Stinson? Ooooooh, what about Myron Thompson?

  15. Truegrit, I actually had a Tory of some modest prominence mention Charest to me after I filed this column. It would certainly be a surprise if he applied for the job, but life is full of surprises.

    As for the Calgary thing…you’re right, everyone. Boneheaded.

  16. I’m going to assume Zamprelli is a Liberal because nobody else would look back at the Progressive Conservatives with such fondness. Only two PC leaders had more success than Stephen Harper at winning the country. And he’s not done yet.

  17. Not to nitpick or anything Ryan, but Joe C. got 136 seats in ’79, so that’s three. I am not a Liberal, just homeless.

  18. True but he sustained it for about 5 minutes and was clobbered in 2 other elections as leader. We haven’t had an election yet because Harper has held his gains. Even at this stage I would consider him an exponentially more successful political leader than Joe Clark.
    That aside, the basic point stands that I don’t understand this nostalgia that exists among some people for the PC Party. If the Liberals can be called the most successful democratic political party of the 20th century, and they can, surely that says something about how weak their primary opposition was, particularly when it spent nearly all of that time obsessing over its electability! There is really nothing more you can say about the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada than that it was among the most hapless political parties in the democratic world. That is why I say the only person who could want that back is a Liberal.

  19. “Maybe they could recruit the ghost of John Bracken so he could once again insist they adopt the word ‘Progressive’, thus giving them a hope in hell of winning the country.”

    Yes, because Canadians are extremely shallow voters who choose their leaders based predominately on the parties’ names.

    By the way, some numbers for you…

    Conservative Party (1867-1942): in power 53% of the time
    Progressive Conservative Party (1942-2003): in power 26% of the time
    Conservative Party (2003-present): in power 52% of the time

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