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How should Canadian conservatives vote in this election?

Samuel Sey
Courtesy of Samuel Sey

For the first time in almost 20 years, a significant number of conservative voters in Canada will not be voting for the Conservative Party. Instead, they will be voting for the new People’s Party. 

Just a couple of days before the federal election on Monday, recent polls suggest Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party holds a slight lead over Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party. 

According to a Nanos Research poll, 31.3% of Canadians support the Liberal Party. Another 29.2% of Canadians support the Conservative party, followed by 20.9% support for Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats Party (NDP), and 7.3% support for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. 

The Conservative Party is losing the election because they’re losing conservatives.

If the Conservatives lose the election on Monday, it will be because a significant number of conservative voters switched their votes to the People’s Party.

If Maxime Bernier didn’t leave the Conservative Party three years ago to create the People’s Party, the 7.3% of Canadian voters supporting the People’s Party in this election would probably be supporting the Conservative Party. That 7.3% of additional voters would give the Conservatives a 36.5% to 31.3% lead over the Liberals heading into the election.

If the PPC didn’t exist, the Conservative Party would probably win a minority government on Monday. That is frustrating to some conservatives. They are frustrated with Bernier and his supporters. They are ready to blame the PPC when Justin Trudeau gets re-elected on Monday.

Last week, the front page of one of Canada’s biggest conservative newspapers, The Toronto Sun, featured an article saying

“Without an extra boost of support at the ballot box, Trudeau will be Prime Minister once again. Yes, I’m looking at you, PPC voters … When conservative-minded people divide the vote, Liberals win. If you want Justin Trudeau out of office, voting for Bernier and the PPC is the last thing you should do. Vote for the only team that can replace Trudeau, O’Toole and the Conservatives.”

That kind of reasoning is exactly why the Conservative Party elected a leftist like Erin O’Toole as the leader of the party. Canadian conservatives have become more committed to voting Liberals out of office than voting (real) conservatives into office. 

Erin O’Toole is indeed a better option than Justin Trudeau, but that isn’t saying much. O’Toole’s platform is relatively more conservative than Trudeau’s, but Trudeau’s platform is also relatively more conservative than Jagmeet Singh’s NDP platform—if the election was a near tie between the Liberals and the NDP, would the author of the Toronto Sun article recommend voting for Trudeau’s Liberal Party, instead of the Conservative Party?

Is conservatism in Canada nothing more than being less leftist than the “progressive” Liberals and socialist NDP?

Erin O’Toole is relatively more conservative than Justin Trudeau, but that doesn’t make him a conservative. He’s a “progressive” or leftist, not a conservative. He isn’t like Stephen Harper or Andrew Scheer — and he doesn’t want to be.

O’Toole recently said:

“I know some of you may be hesitant [on voting for the Conservative Party] because of things you may have heard or impressions that are a little out of date…From the first day of my leadership, my priority has been to build a Conservative movement where every Canadian can feel at home … We’re not your dad’s Conservative party anymore.”

However that broad “conservative” movement doesn’t include real conservatives. Earlier this year, O’Toole unjustifiably kicked out one of the real conservative politicians remaining in the party. 

O’Toole is also the first leader of the Conservative party who openly supports abortion. And although he says he dislikes the wording on the Liberal Party’s Bill C-6, he supports a ban on conversion therapy. His positions on other social and political issues are also similar to Justin Trudeau’s, including his strong support for vaccine passports and mandates.

Since the results of the last election, the Conservative Party has consistently suggested they believe real conservatism isn’t a viable option for political success in Canada. That’s why they elected a “progressive” as their new leader. If they win the election, wouldn’t that reinforce their opposition to real conservatism? If Erin O’Toole wins the election, wouldn’t that move the Conservative Party even deeper into leftism?

If Trudeau wins, it’s bad for Canada. However, if O’Toole wins, it’s bad for conservatism. 

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to vote for the Conservative Party. However, real conservatives are in a lose-lose position whether Trudeau or O’Toole wins on Monday. 

For too long, the Conservative party have taken real Canadian conservatives for granted. Though they’re consistently unreliable, they know we’re consistently reliable votes for them. They know they are our only real options — well, until now.

The Conservative Party has become so leftist, they’ve left conservatives behind. So perhaps it’s time we leave them behind on this election — to make a point. Maybe it’s time we make it known to them we’re loyal to conservative principles, not the Conservative Party.

So how should Canadian Conservatives vote in this election? It’s not wrong to vote against Justin Trudeau by voting for Erin O’Toole. It’s a legitimate short-term strategy to protect Canada from Trudeau.

However, voting for the People’s Party might be the better long-term strategy to protect real conservatism in Canada.

So maybe the most anti-Trudeau vote isn’t a vote against Trudeau — but a vote against the conservatives.

If you want Trudeau to lose, vote for the Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party. However, if you want Trudeau’s ideas to lose — then vote for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party.


Originally published at Slow to Write

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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