Several Quebecers tempted by the leadership of the Conservative Party

As the contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada begin to position themselves, we realize that it is from Quebec that several candidates come from, despite the party’s poor results in this province in the last election. Or perhaps because of these failures, precisely.
P mong these prospective candidates: former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the current member Gérard Deltell and former Conservative Senator Michael Fortier. But also the businessman and close to the party Bryan Brulotte, the longtime Quebec conservative Richard Décarie, the former member of the conservative political staff Aron Seal and the entertainment industry magnate Vincent Guzzo.

Mr. Guzzo, who owns a large chain of cinemas in Quebec, has been known for a few months in English Canada by participating in the reality show Dragons’ Den, the equivalent of In the Eye of the Dragon. Mr. Guzzo maintains that he is currently probing his support and assessing his chances of success.

He said Tuesday that the number of potential candidates in Quebec suggests that Quebeckers are impatient to see the Conservatives come back to power in Ottawa. “It indicates that we have made the mistake in the past to say that the party has its base in the West,” he said. “The truth is that there are more similarities between Alberta and Quebec than people think.”

The potential list of candidates is actually already longer than it was in the last party leadership race in 2017. The Quebecer Maxime Bernier then almost won against Andrew Scheer. The only other Quebec candidate in this campaign was Steven Blaney, former minister of Stephen Harper and re-elected last October in his riding of the Quebec region.

An “outside candidate”?

According to Vincent Guzzo, it was not Mr. Scheer’s opinions – particularly on abortion and gay marriage – that scared voters, but his inability to express them clearly. Drawing on his experience in business and the entertainment sector, he believes that politicians are becoming increasingly disconnected, and that the Conservatives must seriously ask themselves whether to opt once again for a mature leader. party ranks.

In 2017, a high-level “outside candidate” got into the running: Kevin O’Leary, who had also been a Dragons’ Den star , used the same language, but was never able to get the base support and threw in the towel before the ballot – he supported Maxime Bernier.

“The truth is that there are more similarities between Alberta and Quebec than people think”
– Vincent Guzzo, candidate for the leadership race of the Conservative Party of Canada

Guzzo says he is not Kevin O’Leary and that he has a better understanding of the political machine he would need to win. He is currently consulting with family members, party base and local leaders, and is waiting to see who else shows up in the race. He maintains that the “winning recipe” will have to be changed because it will not win more the next time.

“I don’t need attention, I don’t need publicity, I don’t need to be seen in the newspapers. “I have no problem supporting someone who could do a better job of reaching Canadians and speaking on behalf of Canadians.”

If Jean Charest, who was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in the 1990s, was among those who emerged, he would have to face Richard Décarie, who was deputy chief of staff to Stephen Harper when his party was in the opposition. Mr. Décarie is currently involved in strategic communications in Quebec.

He said Tuesday that he could not bear the idea of ​​seeing Jean Charest, who was a provincial Liberal, take over at the head of the Conservatives, which he said would constitute a “slap” for the “real blues” who built this party in recent years.

“I think we really have to get involved to block the way for him […] democratically, debate and have the members vote. In this context, it encourages me to introduce myself, and if it does not show up, we will see where we will be. ”

He too – like other “social conservatives” – believes that Mr. Scheer did not lose because of his positions, but because he failed to defend them.

“Some believe that Andrew Scheer deceived the social conservatives, but because he lost the elections, the former Progressive Conservatives now want to kill the Conservative Party,” he argued.

The Conservatives will elect their new leader on June 27 at a leadership convention in Toronto.

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