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Numerous candidates have recently declared and frankly, I've never heard of many of them and don't expect them to make much waves. What they're doing is building some sort of name recognition within the party to eventually be considered for a shadow cabinet post, if they don't have one already. Lisa Raitt stepped down in her portfolio to look at making a run.
Here's the stack of candidates:
What you've seen so far are candidates mostly making waves with attention-grabbing controversial policy statements (see Kellie Leitch). She made the cover of Macleans. She's fundraising well.
Meanwhile, Michael Chong is playing the steady long-game and Maxime Bernier is nearly full out with a pure libertarian plan that is drawing some attention but hard to sell to centrists.
I saw Erin O'Toole on CTV Power Play the other day and he was okay. Just okay. Don't see him as PM, but as a cabinet minister, sure why not.
Look at the internet interest of the candidates for the past 90 days in Canada (in chunks of 5 as per above list):
For Michael Chong, Maxime Bernier, Kellie Leith, Deepak Obrhai, Andrew Scheer:
Kellie Leitch dominates interest overall but Maxime Bernier dominates in Quebec.
For Brad Trost, Steven Blaney, Erin O'Toole, Dan Lindsay, Chris Alexander:
Brad Trost dominates overall but Steven Blaney dominates interest in Quebec.
What does this all mean for leadership candidates?
- If you want to grab attention, it may only last a couple days, so you need to keep the momentum going. And in our now Twitter-dominated social media politics, you need to be relentless in your frequency.
- Start with your base and build from there. It's no surprise there's competition in Quebec to attract disaffected soft Bloc supporters and their harsher stances on divisive issues. Steven Blaney declared his candidacy and has come out wanting to ban the Niqab.
- Get on TV. People need to see and hear you.
All that said, I tire of this Twitteresque/140 character attention sound bite crap and prefer discussing policies that actually affect our families, i.e. economy, taxes, jobs, health care, and education. Being that health care and education are provincial responsibility (supposed to be), economics, jobs, trade, and justice are what I think most Canadians care about federally, not the endless divisive debates on what people wear or national unity. Just look at the U.S. Presidential Election. It's sad how it has played out. I don't want Canada to have crappy campaigns like that where issues and ideas are subservient to crash statements that divide. The U.S. wasn't this divided since the Civil Rights Movement and Civil War.
With that, my advice to all the candidates is to talk economy and taxes and don't waiver from breaking down and presenting what your plan would do in cost savings to average families. Should you be bold about it? Absolutely. Why not?! Let the naysayers take the debate to you.
FrontrunnersFor me, the only candidate doing that right now is Maxime Bernier. If he can maintain momentum and build beyond Quebec, he has a shot at winning.
I see the eventual front-runners to be:
Michael Chong -- who I think has the most growth potential and ability to syphon off disaffected liberals
Maxime Bernier -- he'll get the base of libertarians for sure, if he hasn't already, but growth potential is limited unless he can convince liberals that libertarian and liberal are supposed to be the same thing. Unfortunately, his English speaking ability may turn off harder Western folks who'll need some selling on that his policies line-up
Kellie Leitch -- because she's been controversial and is doing well in fundraising. Can she build her base beyond that controversy?
Lisa Raitt -- she could win it. She's moderate, relentless, smart, but her French will need work.