KINSELLA: Conservatives lack clarity voters want

“You conservatives spend far too much time wondering who you are,” I said.



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The Conservative delegate to the conference rose to ask a question.



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“Warren,” she said, clutching the microphone that one of the conference organizers gave her, “do you think we as conservatives should spend more time defining who we are? “

Before giving my answer, allow me to set the scene. I was at a Conservative Leadership Foundation weekend reunion, skilfully chaired by my friend John Mykytyshyn. On the midday panel, held in a stately conference room at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto, were two people far smarter and much more beautiful than me: TVO legend Steve Paikin and conservative strategist (and colleague Postmedia columnist) Tasha Kheiriddin.

But the question was addressed to me. So I answered it.

“You conservatives spend far too much time wondering who you are,” I told the assembled delegates, many of whom were masked and all of whom had been verified to be fully immunized. “I know who you are. You favor smaller government, lower taxes and law and order. You favor individual freedom. That’s it. That’s who you are.

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I took a break. “The Liberals, and I was one, don’t worry about who we are. We do not launch into great philosophical debates while standing in front of a mirror. We know above all what we are: To win. We win.”

And the Canadian Conservatives, for the most part, do not. Why? Well take a look at what’s happening in Ottawa this week.

Erin O’Toole’s vaccine hesitation continued, virtually eclipsing Parliament’s return. One Tory MP was found to have COVID, so a number of others may have been exposed during last week’s caucus meeting.

Meanwhile, a number of others were mysteriously absent from the reopening of a Parliament which they had previously insisted on reopening. Oh, and a statistically impossible number had “medical exemptions” from vaccination.

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So, a question: Do “Error O’Terrible” and his group of fools think we’re dummies? Do they think we haven’t noticed that they have equivocated and obscured – and just plain skated – on all of the reasonable vaccine questions that have been directed to them?

Whose leader was and remains: are you all vaccinated?

We still don’t know.

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As I told the conservative attendees gathered at the aforementioned conference: The COVID-19 pandemic is existential. As in, it relates directly to the existence of human beings. After five million of us were killed by this cruel and relentless virus, you’d think O’Toole’s Cabal would get it. But they don’t.

“I’m a war room guy,” I told the Conservatives. I would run majority war rooms for Jean Chrétien and Dalton McGuinty. “I don’t care about politics. I care about clarity. That’s what voters want: clarity.

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It does, I told them, even when the simplest option is awful. Donald Trump, for example. He was horrible. But he was speaking in simple, declarative sentences and you knew where he was.

But with Hillary Clinton – whom I proudly worked for, full disclosure, in two states and at her Brooklyn headquarters – you had no idea where she was. She was a superior human being to Trump in every way, and anyone in their right mind knew it. But she was ambiguous. She hesitated. She was jumping and weaving.

As Erin O’Toole and her team do, on one of the most critical public policy issues of our lives. And he thinks we haven’t noticed.

“We noticed,” I told conservative members of the conference, many of whom were nodding.

“And we are not impressed.”

– Warren Kinsella has run war rooms for Canadian political parties from British Columbia to Ontario.

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