That being said, I cannot say that I'm a great fan of Andrew Scheer the newly-minted Saccharin-sweetened leader of the federal Conservatives.
Although presenting as a kinder, gentler, less dogmatic and more accommodating leader than his predecessor Stephen Harper, his act rings hollow with me as the reality of his ascension to power and his quest to achieve electoral victory in the next election reeks of the same fetid politics of backroom deals with enemies, underhanded and unethical practices that plague modern-day politicians, who sell body and soul for political success.
Scheer won the leadership essentially by having the Quebec milk lobby sign up thousands as newly-created Conservatives in the run-up to the leadership convention. This for the implicit promise of Scheer's support for maintenance of the supply management system that keeps the price of dairy products absurdly high while keeping cheaper American products out of Canada.
The dairy cartel was frightened by Scheer's main competitor for the leadership, the free-trade champion Maxime Bernier, who was on record calling for the gradual abolishment of the practice of supply management, a fancy phrase for a cartel.
As it turns out the vote was exceeding close with a point-based voting system giving Scheer the narrowest of victory of 17,221 points (51%) versus Maxime Bernier 16,578 (49%). It is estimated that 3,000 of these points were courtesy of the phoney Conservatives recruited by the Scheer forces, which means that had these fake Conservatives not voted, Bernier would have won comfortably.
It was a modern take on the old stuff-the-ballot-box cheat.
Now there are some ostriches in the Conservative party that maintain that Scheer didn't organize the fake Conservative manoeuvre but Scheer more or less admitted to the subterfuge in a speech less than a week after his victory.
"Scheer appeared at the Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner — Canada's version of the White House Correspondents' Dinner, just with infinitely less media attention and viral moments — in Gatineau, Que. on Saturday night to roast both politicians and members of the media.His blasé and humorous reference to what was a despicable act of cheating rubbed me the wrong way and soured me on the man who is in the end, just another cheap politician.
Scheer said he was a little bit annoyed at something he had seen mentioned about him in the news: that he was "beholden" to a certain segment of the Conservative party.
"I can tell you I made deals with nobody," Scheer told the audience.
"I certainly do not owe my leadership victory to anybody in the Conservative.." he added, before stopping to pick up a milk carton under his podium and taking a swig. Link
This last week saw Scheer trolling for votes amongst disheartened Quebec separatist voters who hitherto supported the Bloc Quebecois.
"Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer rallied his troops in Quebec on Sunday, promising them there would be more former Bloc Quebecois members joining their ranks. In a speech at a party meeting in Saint-Hyacinthe, he told some 400 supporters there would be more new members like Michel Gauthier, the former Bloc Quebecois leader who announced Saturday he was now a card-carrying Conservative party member."It seems that the idea of separatist support for the Conservatives is gaining momentum even in the most strident separatist circles where pragmatism within those circles seems to be coalescing around the Conservatives as the Bloc melts down. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the sitting members of the breakaway Bloc Quebecois caucus bolt to the Conservatives where Scheer stands to welcome them with open arms.
And that makes me uncomfortable because Scheer is promising these potential nationalist/separatists a bag full of goodies in a more de-centralized Canada where Quebec will be offered even more powers at the expense of Ottawa.
I don't like Andrew Scheer, but I loathe Justin Trudeau and his cadre of Liberal drunken-spenders even more.
Sadly Andrew Scheer is in my view nothing more than the lesser of two evils, and so I'll be voting Conservative with one hand dropping my vote into the ballot box while my other hand is holding my nose.