PHOTOS: Kevin O’Leary, until yesterday a front-running candidate to lead the Conservative Party of Canada. (Photo: Ontario Chamber of Commerce.) Below: CPC candidates Maxime Bernier and Kellie Leitch (both from Wikipedia); and Ron Paul, the crazy uncle of the American Right, whose economic views are similar to Mr. Bernier’s.

The good news for Maxime Bernier? Kevin O’Leary has dropped out of the race to lead the sad-sack Conservative Party of Canada.

The bad news for Maxime Bernier? Kevin O’Leary has endorsed the candidacy of Maxime Bernier.

“The candidate that best mirrors my policies is Maxime Bernier,” Mr. O’Leary explained.

Perhaps Kellie Leitch really can win the CPC leadership now, thanks to yesterday’s development. Pundits better informed about this matter than your blogger say that without the Mr. O’Leary in the race, the slaphead reality TV talking head’s substantial fan base in Western Canada may switch to Dr. Leitch as the second most offensive choice worthy of their support.

Given this, people in Central and Atlantic Canada must wonder what the heck kind of people make up the conservative base out here in the New West. Unfortunately for those of us who live out here, we already know!

Well, if the bit about Dr. Leitch is true, we will not have long to wait for the utter destruction of the once-successful party of Stephen Harper and Preston Manning. So who can deny the thought that every cloud, no matter how dark, really does have a silver lining? (Note to readers who thought I was about to say “the once-great party of John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker and the like.” That’s an entirely different Conservative Party, as per blog posts passim.)

The truly astonishing thing about Mr. O’Leary’s 11th hour departure from the Conservative Party of Canada’s interminable leadership race yesterday wasn’t his reasonably sensible assessment of his negligible chance of defeating Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in a general election or the reason he gave for it – il ne parle pas français – but his apparent thought that he would have continued running if he’d had a reasonable chance of becoming PM.

More often than not people run for high office because they truly think they bring something worthwhile to the table or because they recognize they can’t win but want the opportunity a leadership bid presents to put ideas they believe in passionately before their fellow citizens.

Dr. Leitch, the candidate who promotes “Canadian values” (viz., blaming immigrants for the country’s problems), and Mr. Bernier, an economic nut case (Ron Paul Department, Canadian Division), both presumably fall into the former category. Michael Chong, who apparently doesn’t mind tilting at windmills in hopes of bringing a degree of decency back to Canadian conservatism, the latter.

Mr. O’Leary by contrast apparently reckoned we owed him because, despite his spectacular unsuitability for the job in almost every way imaginable, he’s been a TV host, has a big mouth and many uninformed opinions, especially about politicians here in the West.

In other words, he had essentially the same qualities that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States – although he obviously came to the conclusion either that lightning was unlikely to strike twice or that such a phenomenon wouldn’t happen in a sensible democracy.

It would be unfortunate for Mr. O’Leary if that thought were to get around south of the Medicine Line, lest he be forced to give up his residency in Massachusetts on grounds of insufficient belief in The American Way!

As I observed in this space on April Fools Day – an appropriate date to be contemplating the sorry candidates to lead the CPC – the race was “dominated by racist buffoons, economic fruitcakes and the Boston Stranger. Any candidate with the mojo to actually win a Canadian election languishes at the bottom of the pack.”

With a day to go before party members start casting their ballots, nothing has changed, except that the Stranger has packed up and gone home to Boston.

Alberta teachers and their employers sign memorandum of agreement

Here’s a prediction I’m confident to make: No matter what the details are of the memorandum of agreement signed yesterday between Alberta’s unionized teachers and an employer negotiating committee made up of school board bargaining representatives and government officials, the opposition parties and media will try to portray it as the NDP giving in to its “friends” in the union movement.

I’m also prepared to bet that, such inevitable rhetoric notwithstanding, it won’t be that great a deal from the teachers’ perspective.

But we will all have to wait to see.

Details of the agreement between the Alberta Teachers Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association will not be made public until after it is ratified by ATA members and local school boards.

If ratified, the deal will apply to all teachers in public, separate and francophone schools in Alberta. Local school boards will still have to negotiate local matters, but the hard questions will all have been dealt with.

ATA members will vote online, the government’s short news release said, while school jurisdiction representatives will vote on ratification on May 24.

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  1. One wonders how the Alberta Teachers Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association reached a deal that reflects the new reality of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench recent ruling?

      1. Does it matter? This agreement applies across all the school boards, so I don’t see how it would be affected by a ruling on the status of one of those boards.

        Frankly, I expect the Alberta government to sit on the sidelines until there is more clarity on how the appeals will play out. There’s no advantage to jumping the gun and some huge downsides to guessing wrong either way.

  2. Since the ballots were already mailed before Kevin O’Leary bailed out, his name will still be on the ballot. One could assume that some conservative members eligible to vote and who are not paying much attention to the CPC leadership race may still cast a vote for him, not realizing he is out. That should be interesting indeed!

  3. I was watching the Bernier/O’Leary press conference yesterday and got the feeling Bernier might not have been entirely happy about it. As they say, it is a mixed blessing – O’Leary leaving the race increases the likelihood Bernier will win considerably. However, O’Leary is a bit of a loose cannon who might at any time say something embarrassing or something that those more politically astute would take great pains to avoid. I am sure Bernier is hoping nothing blows up on the O’Leary front before (or after the) Conservative leadership is decided. If it does, he could be collateral damage.

    Whatever happens, Bernier does not seem to be the type of candidate that wants the Conservatives to be more moderate. I think the great debate amongst the Conservatives was whether they lost the last election due to style or substance. It seems like the Conservatives are leaning towards the latter conclusion now and moderation does not seem to be in their cards.

    O’Leary has already come to the conclusion that his appeal is limited. Unfortunately, the more doctrinaire Conservatives haven’t realized their appeal may be limited too or perhaps they just don’t care.

  4. I wonder how corrupt the current Liberal government will have to get to make a candidate like Leitch electable? I don’t think simple fraud will do it this time.

  5. No loss whatsoever. Let’s hope some of the others drop out. It distresses me to see the Conservative Party in such disarray. Trost, Leitch at one end, Bernier at the other.

    The new memberships mean nothing. The Party has two huge issues to deal with before they even get to their role as Official Opposition and prior to even thinking of mounting a successful election campaign.

    They need to elect an effective leader who is slightly right of center, who is acceptable to Canadian voters. They need to have a viable platform. Opposition for the sake of opposition, global warming denial, and zero environmental policies will no longer cut it. They also either have to unite the party or simply split and let the social conservative Reform types go off on their own.

    Canada needs an Opposition Party that is focussed on the economy and growth, not one that wants to focus on abortion, gay marriage, or ensuring that all immigrants to Canada are white, have English as their mother tongue, and Christian….preferably evangelical.

    1. I think you’re talking about the old, pre-CPC Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the party of Stanfield, Mulroney, Campbell & Clark. That party is dead & buried, killed by its own last leader, Peter MacKay.

  6. The lure of those Boston baked beans must’ve been too strong for our TV hero. He felt the call of home. However the flatulence produced by his candidacy will not be missed.

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