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Mister Wonderful Has Left The Building

Kevin O’Leary came, he looked around and he left- that wasn’t much of a surprise. From the beginning one had to question the commitment he made to the leadership process. He avoided most of the debates and continued to spend a lot of time outside of Canada. One also has to question his political smarts- IE waving a spatula around, selling Senate seats etc. I feel sorry for his team as they worked hard and put in long hours and they were totally committed to getting him elected.

Now the leadership race is back to where it was before O’Leary became involved. It is the same dull, boring race that has gone on far too long. The Hill Times raised a good point today when they took a look at the quality of the present leadership contenders.

Certainly the ones who chose not to run- MacKay, Baird, Moore, Kenney are missed by many of the rank and file. However, the Party will have to live with their decisions and move on. They have served the party well and put in their time to the detriment of their personal life. Politics is all consuming and after years of service sometimes you need to step away and re-evaluate what you are doing. I expect that some of them will eventually come back as political life is also very addictive. They can’t assume though that they will automatically return to their former profiles. Other MPs will step up, new ones will be elected and some will have the same potential and fill the void they left.

If the “A” team isn’t playing, where does that leave us now? Well, we have a lot of B, C and D level players. Quite a few of those remaining are not leadership material, but could make good team players in a supporting role.

One thing is essential, the “B” team (O’Toole, Bernier, Scheer, Raitt, Chong) have to step up their game and so far I haven’t seen much of an improvement. Whoever wins has to get sharper, more political and develop the instinct that allows them to pounce as the other side makes mistakes. They also will have to appeal to Canadians from all walks of life, not a narrow based constituency.

Too many Conservatives fell for the media hype after Trudeau’s election victory and felt the guy was unbeatable. Nonsense, anyone can be beaten and you don’t have to be from the “A” level team to come out the winner. Think back a few years and remember “Joe Who”.  Joe Clark took down Justin Trudeau’s father who I would argue was a much more formidable opponent than Justin.

Governments and Prime Ministers have a way of defeating themselves, some sooner than others. The Liberals are not invincible under Justin Trudeau and two new leaders from the Conservatives and the NDP will have an opportunity to shine.

In politics as in life, history has a way of repeating itself.

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