May 31, 2003

TORIES--THE LESS LEFT

Tory leadership convention filled with pretty faces lacking vision (Susan Riley, May 31, 2003, The Ottawa Citizen)
All the federal Tories can hope is that Peter MacKay, who is expected to win today's leadership vote at yet another pivotal party convention here, will keep the seat warm for Catherine Clark -- or for some other future leader with a lot more poise and depth than the leading contenders to replace her father have displayed so far.

This convention is supposed to showcase a "new generation of leadership," but what we are seeing is the party's B-team -- public-spirited, intelligent and hard-working candidates whose only virtue appears to be their youth.

The 37-year-old MacKay, a Nova Scotia MP and son of former Mulroney minister Elmer, was the most professional in his delivery, but his speech confirmed the worst fears of his critics -- that the party's caucus star is a pretty face void of vision. Even by the undemanding standards of the genre, MacKay's effort was more worthy of a candidate for student council than of a prime ministerial hopeful.

He would "restore Canada's place in the world," offer "leadership that listens to an engages Canadians" and, quite honestly, it is hard to find any quotes more penetrating than that. [...]

Predictably, it was David Orchard -- a strong and visible second place here, but too uncongenial to diehard Tories to muster enough support to win -- who delivered the most thoughtful, coherent speech (albeit to the wrong convention), replete with quotations and curious historical asides.

If Orchard is looking for work next week he should apply to run the new Canada History Centre. Few contemporary politicians communicate the ideas and personalities of our history as passionately.

Why are Canadian and British Tories members of their respective parties if not to run as conservatives? Take a look at this essay by Mr Orchard--What makes me a Conservative--and try to figure out how he'd be any different than Jacques Chretien? Meanwhile, Mr. MacKay, supposedly writing about social capital, somehow manages to call for its exact opposite, government actions, rather than social networks. And, of course, the single payer health care system is holier than a cow is to a Hindu. These guys are hopeless. Posted by Orrin Judd at May 31, 2003 9:53 AM
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