It’s time for the Conservative Party to confront its identity crisis.
That was the thesis of a recent Maclean’s magazine column written by social entrepreneur and avowed Conservative Scott Gilmore, who is lamenting the state of his party and calling for a national discussion about whether it’s time for it to split into different factions.
“I didn’t expect it to be a very common view,” Gilmore told The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos this weekend.
“But I’ve been stunned at the thousands that have responded … and that everybody has a very similar story, which is that they believe in fiscal conservationism but at the same time, they’re more socially moderate.”
As the Conservatives get set to pluck a new leader out of a field of 14 possible candidates on May 27, Gilmore will be sitting down to dinner with people across the country to talk about the party’s future.
“The intention is to have a conversation about, ‘does the party reflect our values?’ And if it doesn’t, what do we do to change that,” Gilmore explained.
His own discomfort began during the last election campaign, he said, when the Tories floated the notion of a “barbaric cultural practices” tip-line.
“That was preposterous, and it was added on to other things that were going on in the party at the time that made me think this is getting to be a little too much.”
Looking at the positions of the candidates in the current leadership race — which have included promises to boycott gay pride and to send troops to patrol the border — only cemented those concerns, Gilmore said.
“I was left asking myself, how is it possible that I’m supporting a party where these ideas are not just tolerated and welcome, but they actually reflect the most popular leaders?”
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MP Michael Chong is the only candidate capable of beating Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in 2019, Gilmore predicted, “because his values are the most reflective of Canada, writ large.”
So why not just vote Liberal, instead of breaking the Conservatives into far-right and more moderate factions?
“Because I don’t believe in big government. I believe in fiscal conservationism, I don’t believe in identity politics, I believe we need a strong defence,” Gilmore explained.
“So I shouldn’t be forced to hold my nose and vote Trudeau.”
Watch the full interview with Scott Gilmore above.