By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday November 4, 2015
Eight hopefuls seek Tory interim leadership: Analysis
Down, but not out. Two weeks after Stephen Harper lost his majority government, eight Conservative MPs have jumped into the fray to become interim leader and take on Justin Trudeau’s new Liberal government.
That’s interim, as in temporary. It’s not the big job of stepping into Harper’s dance shoes, reshaping the party and swinging it into the next election.
No one’s announced interest in that yet.
Interim leader gets the immediate, but critical job of leading a Conservative parliamentary caucus of 99 MPs — 33 of them rookies — and 47 senators through the next year or two until a new leader is chosen.
Eight Tories want that job.
The interim leader will be the lead foot soldier in holding the Liberals to account in Parliament, boosting morale in a caucus thrust into Opposition without the all the resources of government, and stabilizing a party once fractured along east-west, progressive-reform and French-English lines — one that could find itself divided again once the leadership contest kicks off in earnest.
Four women and four men, including two people who want to share the job, have thrown their hats into the ring. They are: Diane Finley, Rob Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Erin O’Toole, Mike Lake, Rona Ambrose, plus Michelle Rempel and Denis Lebel, who announced on the weekend they are running as a package deal.
None are household names. Some have a bit of profile in media or political circles, but most Canadians would be hard-pressed to identify any of them on the street.
Among the eight are a couple of women — Ambrose and Rempel — and possibly one man — O’Toole — who observers believe were interested in the bigger long-term job. A failed interim bid doesn’t exclude them from that. Only an interim leader is barred, under Conservative party rules, from competing for the top job.
Of the contenders to win caucus support on Thursday, none has spectacularly shone or, for that matter, completely messed up in jobs under the Harper government. All but one, Mike Lake, have sat at the cabinet table at a senior or junior level.
Only three speak French fluently, though there are varying degrees of competency among the rest. All pledge to tap into the resources of the party’s record harvest of Quebec seats — 11 in all. (Continued: Toronto Star)