So much for “unity.”
The Charest campaign has been a masterclass in gaslighting.
On one hand, the campaign talks endlessly about “unity” and overcoming “divisiveness.”
On the other hand, it relentlessly attacks the views and perspectives held by the majority of Canadian Conservatives.
Charest’s argument has basically been that unity means he wins and Conservatives submit to his worldview, and anything other than that is ‘divisive.’
This argument is – at the core – deeply illogical.
And it has to be, because an acknowledgement of reality would show that Charest is facing significant rejection from Canadian Conservatives.
Survey after survey – and party membership numbers – make it clear that Pierre Poilievre is both more popular, and less unpopular, than Charest among Canadian Conservatives.
This means more CPC supporters view Poilievre positively, and fewer view him negatively, when compared to Charest.
The latest poll to show this is the recent Abacus Data survey, which shows 58% of CPC supporters view Poilievre positively, compared to 11% who view him negatively.
Meanwhile, 37% view Charest positively, while 18% view him negatively.
Poilievre thus has a +47 net score, while Charest is at +19.
That same survey showed the Conservatives trailing the Liberals 31% to 29% in a hypothetical matchup if Poilievre was the leader, while trailing even more (28% to 25%) if Charest was the leader.
In the Charest-led CPC scenario, the PPC gets 11% of the vote, compared to 5% in the Poilievre scenario.
This again demonstrates that Charest is largely unpopular and divisive within the party he is seeking to lead, and many Conservatives would leave the party if he became the leader, while the party holds together much more under Poilievre.
A self-fulfilling prophecy
And now, facing the possibility of rejection by Canadian Conservatives, there are growing indications the Charest camp is mulling over the creation of a new party:
“The Charest camp (and in particular the ‘Rising Star’ who is using this race to sell her book) are pretty openly talking about creating a new party if (when) they don’t win the CPC leadership.
The Charest camp (and in particular the 'Rising Star' who is using this race to sell her book) are pretty openly talking about creating a new party if (when) they don't win the CPC leadership.
— Bryan Breguet (@2closetocall) July 20, 2022
Here are some key portions of the La Press article, translated:
“But the fact remains that in the entourage of Jean Charest, the hypothesis of a kind of center-right coalition has been openly discussed for several weeks.
Tasha Kheiriddin spoke on Sunday of the hypothesis of a “conservative-liberal” coalition, in an interview with Radio-Canada on the occasion of the publication of her essay on the future of the Conservative Party of Canada ( The Right Path , which will be ” The straight path” in French).
Kheiriddin, a conservative political commentator, works as a strategist in the Charest team.”
“Here is what Kheiriddin writes, translated by Radio-Canada: “Given the acerbic climate which reigns in the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party, it will be very difficult for the supporters of one of the two camps to live in harmony with the other field. A centrist party will alienate populists. And vice versa. There is a third possibility: the recreation of a liberal-conservative party, like the one that founded Canada. »
“In short, the campaign to appoint the next Conservative leader is only the first act, not the epilogue. What is being prepared, the plan B which is being discussed, is a possible in-depth reconfiguration of the federal partisan political map.”
In what seems to be a response to this, Kheiriddin downplayed – though did not completely dismiss – the possibility:
As I point out in #therightpathbook, a split in @CPC_HQ benefits the @liberal_party It is not the preferred option. #Conservatives need to keep the party together to win. #cdnpoli #cpc #cpcldr https://t.co/JblkI0AitP
— Tasha Kheiriddin (@TashaKheiriddin) July 20, 2022
“Not the preferred option” is far from a full-throated denial.
It would seem that – just as Patrick Brown long hinted at running from Brampton Mayor even when he was still in the race – the Charest campaign is already hedging their bets.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. They can claim the party will be split if Charest doesn’t win, then split it after the race is over.
Conservative members must keep this in mind as they consider their decision. If the Charest camp is already potentially musing about disrespecting CPC members before the votes are even in, how could Charest ever be trusted?