OTTAWA – What if Justin Trudeau is not the Liberal leader the Conservatives are fighting for in the next election?
It was a key issue in the minds of the Conservatives after the Liberals and New Democrats unveiled a scheme to keep Trudeau’s minority government afloat until 2025.
While Trudeau on Tuesday insisted he intended to lead his party into the next campaign, speculation abounded that the deal would pave the way for him to step down among conservatives who struggled to understand the consequences of the liberal NDP. maneuver on the functioning of Parliament and the Party. politics.
The so-called “trust and supply agreement” will get the NDP to support the liberal minority government in confidence polls in return for the implementation of measures that have long been central to the New Democrats’ political agenda, such as a national dental care program.
Temporary Conservative leader Candice Bergen criticized the scheme as a power grab that gives the Liberals a de facto majority to spend billions of dollars and drive the country further into debt.
“I think it goes to the heart of our democracy,” Bergen said.
“The Liberals and the NDP had and have an obligation to be honest and transparent and tell the Canadians that this is what they have done, and they did not. They can not be trusted.”
The idea that the event is an exit strategy for Trudeau was sent to the Star by several Conservative MPs, all of whom pointed to the math: by 2025, Trudeau will have been in power for a decade – or about as long as his . predecessor, the Conservative Stephen Harper.
Had Harper not been defeated in the 2015 election, he probably would have pulled around the 10-year-olds, some said.
In that light, some MPs and party stakeholders believe that the Conservatives need to turn on two fronts: away from focusing solely on their attacks on Trudeau and towards capturing the votes of liberal supporters alienated from the event.
“Conservatives – everywhere – need to start thinking about giving people a reason to vote for us, rather than reasons to vote against another party,” said Andrea Van Vugt, a longtime strategist.
In the House of Commons, the Conservatives told the Star, they intend to reach out to the new Democrats, who they believe will still be eager to force the government’s hand on issues outside the scope of the scheme.
Bergen said her party would also reach out to disgruntled Liberal MPs. In 2018, the then liberal Liberal MP Leona Alleslev courted to cross the floor over two issues that are very much in the spotlight now: the Liberal government’s record on defense spending and its handling of the economy.
Alleslev is now among those considering running for the Conservative party leadership, and is expected to launch his campaign within a few days.
Although none of the candidates is under the illusion that they would lead the party into an election campaign in a short time, the fact that there may not be one for another three years immediately came to Pierre Poilievre’s tone: the party must try to derail the agreement, and this can only be done by a leader who is already in the House of Commons.
“I am the only leader who could make the effort to mobilize the Canadian people, win the debates and procedural competitions on the floor of the House of Commons, force a vote of no confidence, go to the polls and win, while I have always done so. he said late Monday when news of the deal surfaced.
But Poilievre is not the only sitting MP seeking his party’s top job. Leslyn Lewis, Marc Dalton and Scott Aitchison – who launched their campaign over the weekend with a call for more unity among politicians – are also trying to get their own bids.
Among his political accomplishments, Aitchison counts for getting the Liberals to fold a Conservative private member’s bill on grief leave into existing government legislation.
But despite his enthusiasm for cross-party cooperation, Aitchison said the liberal-NDP event is bad news for Canadians.
“The consequences of a liberal NDP pact could not be clearer: higher taxes, higher inflation, higher prices and no plan to pay for it,” he said in a statement.
For those candidates who are not in the House of Commons – former PC leader and Quebec premier Jean Charest, Brampton mayor Patrick Brown, Ontario MPP Roman Baber – it became urgent how they would get a seat if they won the leadership race. kicked a notch up Tuesday.
Several MPs pointed to how Jagmeet Singh fought as NDP leader before winning his own seat in parliament, or the problems plaguing former Green Party leader Annamie Paul.
Charest has the greatest support for the caucus of the three external candidates, a Member of Parliament suggested, meaning it would be easier to find someone who could potentially step aside to trigger a by-election that would give him a seat.
The Charest campaign said its focus remains the leadership race.
Others see the three-year window as giving the party respite. The next Conservative leader will have time to introduce himself to the Canadians, upgrade the party’s operations and develop robust political ideas well in advance of going to the polls, something former party leader Erin O’Toole did not have time to do.
Then again, a Member of Parliament told Star that that time will also put more pressure on the incoming leader to do well in the next election.
There is also the country’s future to consider, Brown suggested on Tuesday in his response to the deal, which is why the Conservatives need to make sure they choose the best candidate.
“If we elect another leader who can not break through in the suburbs of Canada and beat the Liberals in their areas of strength, this NDP-liberal coalition will last even longer beyond 2025,” he said.
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