Young Calgary conservatives push for CPC image change

Young Calgary conservatives push for CPC image change
WATCH ABOVE: Two young Calgary conservatives are pushing for a new image for the Conservative Party of Canada. As Adam MacVicar reports, they want to see a party that’s more diverse and inclusive.

Following the Conservative Party of Canada’s (CPC) loss in the 2019 federal election, Anthony Morvillo and Jesse Fehr wanted to see a change.

Morvillo, 26, and Fehr, 23, are not official members of the party, but have always voted blue.

“There’s such a disconnect between the younger generation and the Conservative Party,” Morvillo said. “So we thought we should do something about it.”

The pair began to work on new branding for the CPC, including a new logo as the first step to help appeal to younger voters.

The new logo includes a large “C” with a red maple leaf, and a lighter shade of blue that both Morvillo and Fehr described as a symbol of new hope for the party.

“The younger generation, they value image a lot more than the older generation and if they don’t like what they see, they’re most likely not going to look into that or buy into something,” Morvillo said.

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“It starts with a rebrand, and it starts with something new, and if a younger person can see something new, they will look more into it and possibly vote for the Conservative Party.”

A take on a re-branded Conservative Party logo designed by Anthony Morvillo and Jesse Fehr.
A take on a re-branded Conservative Party logo designed by Anthony Morvillo and Jesse Fehr.

Morvillo and Fehr then sent the new look along with a letter to all 121 sitting Conservative MPs, in the hopes of gaining more support for a new-look party.

“We want to see more diversity, we want to see inclusion, we want to see an environmental, caring country, a unified Canada,” Fehr said.

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Their goal of a new brand for the party comes as the Tory membership prepares to select a new leader.

“What leadership races are all about, especially after an election loss that the Conservatives just experienced a few months ago, is exactly about rebranding,” New West Public Affairs director Michael Solberg said on Friday.

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“How does the Conservative Party appeal to a broader base of people to compete against Justin Trudeau in the next election, and I think that’s ultimately the ballot box question that Conservative Party members will have in their minds when they cast their ballots come June.”

Capturing the millennial vote would be a smart move by the CPC, according to Solberg.

Solberg said that millennials now form the largest voting block in Canada, with the highest purchasing power of any demographic in the country.

“Where I do think [the CPC] has alienated voters over the last number of years is when you have candidates who are not progressive on some of the more high-profile social issues,” Solberg said.

“Millennials are particularly people who are impacted by views like that.”

Ten candidates have stepped up to compete for the party’s leadership, including former Nova Scotia MP and federal minister Peter MacKay, as well as sitting Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu.

But it was comments from Quebec MP Richard Décarie that being gay was a “choice” that have dogged the party, and prompted many high-profile Tories to condemn the leadership hopeful.

Solberg said the party will need to come to terms on social issues to make an impact on the younger vote.

“We need to settle some of those issues as well, and no longer have a debate on that, such as the rights for LGBTQ people, reproductive rights for women, these issues had their debate decades ago, and are now settled,” Solberg said.

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“The Conservative Party and the members within it need to come to terms with that.”

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Brad Trost, a former long-time Saskatchewan MP and Décarie leadership campaign volunteer, is also in favour of a new image for the party.

However, Trost said the party shouldn’t turn it’s back on socially conservative members.

“The people who are most attracted to the Conservative Party, by social conservative principles and policies, tend to be newer Canadians in the suburbs of the GTA and Vancouver, and they tend to be more female than male,” Trost said.

“These are groups that the Conservatives are struggling with, but are more socially conservative than the party as a whole, so why would we turn our back on voters we’re trying to reach out to?”

Trost said he would also like to see the party move away from the era of former prime minister Stephen Harper and become more entrepreneurial; a sentiment shared by Morvillo and Fehr.

“Just some new blood into the Conservative Party that’s not businessmen in suits. I hate to say it, but the fact of the matter is the past how ever many years has been businessmen in suits, and that’s all that it kind of appeals to,” Fehr said.

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“But there are a lot more people that care about conservative values, so that’s what we want to see.”

Morvillo and Fehr said they are in contact with Tory MPs who support their push for a new look, but ultimately agree that the decision to rebrand is now in the party’s hands.

CPC members will cast their ballot for a new leader on June 27.