With two leadership campaigns going on in two different parties, you’d think we’d hear a lot about ideas, the candidates, their ideas and how they would make their parties better. You’d think you hear some productive conversations and real professional stuff. Instead it seems to be the complete opposite at this point. We’ve seen bad moment after bad moment in the Conservative Race and the Green Race just started yesterday so surely they wouldn’t follow suit, right? Well today we’ve got examples from both races that point to more fails from the Leadership Campaign trail. Let’s start with the frontrunner on the Blue team, who had a really bad day yesterday:
Well where to start with Peter MacKay here? Firstly that interview was just cringeworthy, despite the fact that he pushed back on his own staff in defense of CTV journalist Heather Wright. But it should be noted that he didn’t push back to the point of telling his staff to go shove it and he didn’t continue the interview. He complied with his staff and allowed that bad scene to play out and gave up the chance to put some actual meat on this bone he is trying to construct about doing things differently. Instead he left with his tail between his legs, like many other candidates who have done the same.
It should also be pointed out that despite the fact that he tried to denounce his Tweet from the weekend on Justin Trudeau’s yoga expenses and the messages it sent, that’s all he did. He refused to take it down, he refused to apologize and despite his pleas that he would be the bigger man and do better, he did nothing to actually do better. If anything, he did the opposite by giving lip service to that while refusing to do anything of substance about it. That’s a bad look.
Then add to that the furor that he managed to create within his party on the Israeli Embassy. I find it noteworthy that he made that comment to a news outlet that’s run and owned by a member of Erin O’Toole’s campaign team. But putting that aside, regardless of the merit of MacKay’s comments, he had to know that would set people off and open him up to attacks from “True Blue” Conservatives. No matter how you slice it, yesterday was a bad day for Team MacKay.
As for the other race that started yesterday, we found out about the rules of that race and what it would take to get into it. The big thing that jumped out about the rules for the Green Leadership was the big $50,000 entry fee. That’s something that you can justify, but it’s a big figure for such a small party and it seems like it was designed to keep certain potential candidates out. Well it seems that one of those individuals feels the same way and well, he has a thing or two to say about it:
“Green Party for Sale”??? “A slap in the face to the working class”??? “How is anyone who does not spend their time at country clubs counting money with the elite supposed to participate in this race”??? Yep, that seems to be going over swimmingly with the candidate who made of point of going after Elizabeth May for her leadership while his own was being challenged in Quebec. To say that this reaction wasn’t predictable would be just untrue. If anything, this reaction was completely predictable, almost as if this is what the Green Leadership were hoping to see.
And folks here’s the funny thing; for all of Tyrrell’s bluster about the grassroots and all that, I have zero sympathy for him. There is a serious argument to be made for an entry fee in that range and while he quotes the NDP’s $30,000 entry fee from 2017, something tells me that if that was the fee in this race, he’d make the same comments about that too. It’s totally reasonable to be able to raise some money to run in such a race and what I find the funniest of all is that Tyrrell talks about the grassroots and the working class in his complaints about fees. To hear Tyrrell say it, you’d think that it’s impossible for campaigns to raise money without big donors when someone like Bernie Sanders shows us on a regular basis what can be done with many small money doors. In the end, that is the approach that Tyrrell seems to think he’s all about yet at the same time, he gripes that basically having to walk that walk and take that approach is too hard. So yeah, all very predictable.
In the end, I doubt that Tyrrell’s pleas will go anywhere and I see no way in which the Greens actually lower that fee. By saying this might keep him out now he’s laying the groundwork for the usual gripes we hear from the hardcore socialist crowd in this country; that it’s just too hard for them and that it should all be made easy for them to get where they want to go.
But here we are on Tuesday and we can see that it’s already been a bad start for both leaderships this week. Who knows, it’s early and maybe some good news will come along for one of these campaigns but to this point, good news has been scarce for those parties seeking new leaders. Neither of these are good looks and they surely aren’t helping to win Canadians over to their sides. And all the while, the happiest people are in the other parties, who get to sit on the sidelines and watch these circuses go by.