“To use a good Canadian analogy, it was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net.”
That was former federal Conservative Party cabinet minister Peter MacKay’s summation of the performance of the party leading up to and on the day of the Oct. 21 federal election under the stewardship of Andrew Scheer.
While MacKay was roundly booed by supporters of Scheer, his blunt assessment was cautiously and quietly applauded by many others on the philosophical and political right. In my view, MacKay’s words needed to be said then and apply today.
The fact the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) proved itself unable to score a national electoral victory against a demonstrably inept and ethically compromised Justin Trudeau remains evidence that the game plan devised by CPC strategists and approved by Scheer for the national vote will, at best, be historically assessed as tentative.
The circumstance, which would ultimately lead to the departure of Scheer, was not nearly as important as his exit itself.
Scheer’s claim of success after having increased the Conservative parliamentary seat count and beaten Trudeau’s Liberals in popular vote numbers remains, to use another hockey analogy, as credible as claiming victory because your shot beat the goaltender — even though it ultimately ricocheted off the crossbar.
It would be like losing 6-5 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final and skating around the ice claiming moral victory because you outshot the opponent. It’s a pointless exercise if, simultaneously, the other team is hoisting the Cup.
What’s critical now for the CPC is choosing its new leader with forethought. It would ridiculously counterproductive to conclude multiple rounds of candidate-elimination leadership balloting, only to ultimately to crown a wobbly compromise choice.
Select the most qualified, forthright, ethical and determined leader, and a federal electoral victory awaits.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.