Banning Candidates (Even Bad Ones) From Conservative Leadership Race Is A Terrible Idea

The Conservative Party is supposed to be a democratic organizations where the members chose their leader, not a top-down elitist club.

According to a Globe & Mail report, there is now discussion within the Conservative Party hierarchy as to whether Richard Decaire, the former Quebec Separatist who had been heavily criticized by many for his comments LBGTQ people, should be allowed to run or not.

The report indicates Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner and Conservative MP Todd Doherty want Decaire banned from the race, while others, including Alberta Conservative MP Rachael Harder and MP John Williamson believe Decaire should be allowed to run.

Personally, I disagree with Decaire’s comments on LGBTQ Canadians, and think it was good to see many top Conservatives slam his remarks on that issue.

A Conservative-Party led by Decaire would almost certainly get crushed in a general election, and his chance of winning the leadership race is almost non-existent.

With that said, it would be totally wrong for the party to ban him.

If Decaire, or anybody else for that matter, meets the criteria in terms of memberships and fundraising, he should be allowed to run.

The Conservative base, made up of party members, should decide who wins the race. If people want to vote for Decaire, they should be free to do so, and if they want to vote against him, they should be free to do so as well.

But banning him would be totally anti-democratic. If the Conservative Party elite are confident that he doesn’t speak for the party, then let him run and let the members prove he doesn’t represent the party.

At its best, the Conservative Party is supposed to be the party that supports more democracy, more ability for individual MPs to share their views and propose legislation, and more citizen referenda. By banning Decaire, or outright banning anyone ahead of time, the party would be going against their principles, and showing contempt for their members.

The Conservative Party needs more democracy, not less.

Spencer Fernando

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