CPC Leadership Analysis: Stinking Albatrosses

BY SCOTT HAYWARD

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Peter MacKay had spent the better part of two decades plotting for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada and in a matter of seconds in late October 2019, he fatally undermined his aspirations by saying two simple words: stinking albatross.


Here’s a look at how two little words, and the attitude behind them, destroyed Peter MacKay’s supposed inevitability:


THE SET UP

 

In the wake of the 2019 federal election, despite Andrew Scheer reducing the Trudeau Liberal majority to minority status, increasing the seat count by 20%, earning the highest number of votes ever for the Conservative Party of Canada, and even beating the Liberals in terms of the popular vote, he was pressured by a certain segment of party insiders, caucus members, and media pundits (essentially the Conservative elite class) to step down as leader.

 

After weeks of being blamed for losing the election due to his social conservative beliefs (despite the fact that those were barely issues during the campaign given that he offered social conservatives no policy, and that social conservative candidates did far better than the non-social conservative Conservative Party candidates), he announced in mid-December that he would step down.

 

I remember that morning vividly. I was already home for Christmas, a well-deserved long vacation after Alissa and I decided to work 12-hour days for most of 2019 until the election. I remember feeling so exhausted with recruiting, training, and distributing volunteers during the campaign and gearing up for a potential epic battle at the impending Conservative Party convention that was slated for April 2020. I felt incredibly burned out after the election, to the point where I shut off my phone for the rest of my Christmas vacation.

 

That was my mistake, because I missed a call from an old acquaintance from four years earlier. She was a pro-life candidate who had run in the eastern part of the GTA. Alissa and I had helped her campaign in the final weeks of the 2015 federal election when she stepped in to save the party from embarrassment to take over a riding that had been plagued with scandal. She was warm, intelligent, loved to campaign, worked hard, and drew a lot of volunteers to her. I turned off my phone to be able to get the rest and peace I needed for the new battles to come in the new year. But it meant I didn’t return her call until after the holidays.

 

118537428_782912319142787_3144267625212898321_n.jpgAlissa and I with some pro-life door-knockers during the 2015 federal election.

 

It was a mistake on my part.

 

That person was Leslyn Lewis.


When Alissa and I returned to work in January 2020, we were refreshed and ready to accomplish our next goal: ensuring that Peter MacKay did not win the leadership. Most of the time we are working toward ensuring that pro-life candidates win nominations, by-elections, or leadership races; but in this instance, our goal was to stop a man who presented a very real existential threat to pro-life politicians and voters in the last political vehicle available to us to politically advance our cause.

 

At the outset, we had a few different pro-life options to champion to get enough pro-lifers involved to stop Peter MacKay. There were former cabinet ministers, relatively new caucus members, and former premiers considering the leadership.

 

When I finally returned Leslyn’s call, she told me she was very much in the race. She talked about her campaign plan, what policies she would champion, and how she wasn't running just to get her name out there, she was in it to win it. Since she was not a sitting Member of Parliament, I decided to host a meeting for her in Ottawa in mid-February. I invited Members of Parliament, staff, and pro-life campaigners from across the capital to come and listen to her pitch in a downtown Ottawa condo building.

 

After the meeting, many saw her raw potential. I met with many members of caucus the next day to get their assessment. Some were immediately on board, recognizing the potential that this woman could offer the party. Some thought that a Peter MacKay victory needed to be stopped at all costs, and that the way to do so was to support Erin O’Toole, a non-prolifer who was not an existential threat to pro-lifers in the party. Others thought that a Peter MacKay victory was an inevitability and succumbed to the fear that only he could lead the party. And the rest wanted to stay out of the whole thing.

 

Regardless, the assessment from all four camps of pro-life caucus members and staffers was clear: Leslyn had potential, but she wasn’t there yet, and she needed an expanded team. This was certainly an area where RightNow could help out. I reached out to pro-life campaigners I trusted to take a phone call with Leslyn, some who had turned down positions working with the current leader. In the end, I was able to pump in some talented pro-life people in the campaign, many of whom became high-level staffers on the Lewis campaign. 

 

That campaign talent was able to fundraise over $300,000 for Leslyn in less than a month, guaranteeing that she would be on the final ballot.

 

Then COVID-19 hit.

 

Bit by bit, each campaign announced that they would no longer conduct in-person meetings, speeches, or events. Then businesses began to shutter. Our planned leadership debate, which was to have been hosted by RightNow, was first postponed and then canceled. The world changed and it wasn’t going to stop changing.

 

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The benefit to the Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan campaigns was that the COVID-19 restrictions became a great equalizer. An extra month of membership sales was granted to the four campaigns and RightNow took advantage. We knew that pro-life supporters would be home during the day, which meant that membership sale phone calls could expand from two hours in the evenings to eight hours during the afternoons and evenings. We also knew that the pool of volunteers could expand from perhaps a few dozen to a few hundred. We got to work.

 

We were able to find close to 500 volunteers for the leadership campaign. We were able to utilize those volunteers to not only sell memberships through our own RightNow list, but to have them sell to their own personal pro-life contacts. We were able to find over 120 riding captains, who were responsible for selling memberships to our contacts in their ridings, as well as their own personal pro-life contacts. We made sure to target ridings that we were told had a low number of current Conservative Party members in order to get more points per membership sale for the final count.

 

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When the race resumed in May, it looked far different. Leslyn had really found her voice in her Zoom calls and e-blasts. The Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole campaigns started to fall behind in fundraising and membership sales. Things began looking especially difficult for the MacKay campaign, which meant that it was starting to look more and more like we could accomplish our goal in early January: stop Peter MacKay.

 

Then George Floyd was killed.

 

It was as if the world was a tinder box and a match had been lit. The United States of America saw mass demonstrations in the largest and most beautiful cities. Peaceful protests turned into violent riots. People began ignoring COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing restrictions. What was happening in the United States became hotly debated in Canada as well. In Ottawa, a prime minister who had constantly and forcefully reiterated the importance of social distancing requirements ignored all that he had preached for months and went to preach on Parliament Hill to take a knee.

 

This was a key moment when Leslyn Lewis showed her leadership.

 

Sending out an email in response to the prime minister’s actions, she attacked his hypocrisy and exploited his weakness in a moment that no other candidate could capture. The numbers exploded. She also eloquently tackled the difficult issue of racism, giving a different narrative than what the mainstream media was portraying. She knew what the problems were, and she had solutions to fix them. Suddenly what was a two-person race became a three-way contest.

 

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Our goal had shifted from stopping a pro-abortion candidate from winning (Peter MacKay) to fuelling a pro-life candidate to win (Leslyn Lewis). We didn’t just want to be kingmakers (electing Erin O’Toole down-ballot), we wanted to crown the queen.

 

THE NUMBERS

 

In the end, we know she came close. Naturally, I think a look at some of the numbers is worth your time.

 

To have a mathematical shot at winning the leadership race, Peter MacKay needed at least 40% of the points on the first ballot. It wasn’t even close:

 

 

Here is how Leslyn placed in those ridings on the first ballot:

 

However, the really interesting numbers are in the second ballot results:

 

What is disconcerting is that only 61% of voters who put Derek Sloan first placed Leslyn second. Over 25% placed Peter or Erin ahead of Leslyn, and a full 13% dropped off completely (i.e. did not place anyone second). If all those 13% placed Leslyn second, the result would have been as follows:

 

 

However, that still would not have been enough to get Leslyn on the final ballot. What would have been required was for Leslyn to capture 87% of Derek Sloan’s second place votes:

 

Another interesting number is the amount of ridings that Leslyn lost by <20 votes on the first and second ballot:

 

 

This is to say that if pro-lifers were to sell an extra 513 memberships in 52 ridings, Leslyn would have placed second on the second ballot. That is approximately 10 extra memberships in those ridings. Surely the pro-life movement can find 10 more pro-lifers to purchase a membership to vote for a pro-life leadership candidate. It is of further interest to note that almost half (46%) of these ridings are in Quebec.

 

 

WHAT WORKED WELL

 

One of our greatest fears when the leadership race first started was voter and volunteer fatigue amongst pro-lifers across Canada. Many pro-lifers had signed up to get Andrew Scheer elected as leader in 2017 and then almost immediately continued onto nomination campaigns in target ridings across Canada. When the Trudeau Liberals were mired in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, those efforts were doubled in order to get more pro-lifers elected. After an election where the number of pro-lifers increased in the House of Commons by 70% from 40 to 68 Members of Parliament, the media and party insiders blamed the election loss on Andrew Scheer for being pro-life (even though he repeatedly refrained from campaigning on any pro-life policies).

 

However, we were more than encouraged by the response of pro-lifers across Canada to the leadership race. We were able to recruit and train over 120 riding captains to sell memberships to their pro-life contacts in specific ridings. We were able to sell twice as many memberships compared to the previous leadership race in less than half the time. We were also able to onramp many talented and effective pro-life staffers into the pro-life leadership campaigns.

 

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

 

While we were impressed and happy with the incredible response from pro-lifers to get involved in the leadership race, we have identified certain areas of weakness that need to be shored up in the short- and medium-term. When one views the results of the leadership race, it is a quick conclusion that the pro-life candidates did very well in Western Canada, Ontario, and parts of the Maritimes. However, the candidates did rather poorly in Quebec and most of Atlantic Canada.

 

It should be noted that the average number of voters in Quebec and Atlantic Canada per riding was 166. This pales in comparison to 685 voters per riding in Ontario and Western Canada. This suggests that each additional pro-life voter identified in Quebec and Atlantic Canada has more than 4x impact of each additional voter identified in Ontario and Western Canada.

 

In fact, if Quebec were not part of Canada or did not exist, here is how the first and second ballot results (based on points) would have been:

 

But Quebec does exist and is part of Canada, and will be for a very long time. The reason to discuss the numbers of what could have happened without Quebec is not to cause us to throw up our hands in defeat, but to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The fact of the matter is that, unfortunately, neither Alissa or myself know French and we will not be able to master the language any time soon. However, we cannot wait; we need to hire Francophone staff to build up our list of pro-life supporters throughout Quebec so that in the next leadership race the graphics above apply not just to the numbers outside of Quebec, but within Quebec as well. 

 

Furthermore, while we are happy that RightNow was able to sell 10,000 memberships to pro-lifers to vote for the pro-life leadership candidates, that is only 33% of the RightNow database. Another area for improvement is for pro-lifers who are reading this blogpost and did not participate in this leadership race to start getting involved in the political process. Pro-life candidates only win when pro-lifers get involved in the political process. Additionally, many pro-lifers in our RightNow database stepped up to the plate and volunteered when asked and we are incredibly grateful, but there were far more pro-lifers who were contacted who did not volunteer. An hour or two of making membership sales phone calls from more volunteers resulting in a 10% increase in volunteer hours could have identified and sold those 513 required memberships in those 52 ridings to put Leslyn Lewis on the second ballot.

 

Another area for improvement would be the involvement of other pro-life organizations in these much-needed ridings. Many pro-life organizations were reached out to (particularly in Quebec) that have large enough lists that could have made a mathematical difference in the leadership race for pro-life candidates. RightNow reached out to these organizations and offered bilingual volunteers who were willing to call through these organizations’ lists on those organizations’ behalf to sell memberships to their contacts so that they could also vote for the pro-life leadership candidates. This way, RightNow would help those other pro-life organizations make an actual, mathematical, and positive impact in the leadership race, while respecting internal and legal rules and regulations regarding the utilization of lists (especially maintaining privacy stipulations). Sadly, almost every pro-life organization that RightNow approached declined our offer of help.

 

It's not good enough for pro-life organizations to send e-mails to supporters about the leadership race. In order to make a real difference, organizations must individually phone supporters, sign them up, and keep track of who they signed up and where they live so we can easily track the results and know where and how to improve for next time. It's also the only path that will enable us to win. 

 

Finally, it should be noted that as pro-lifers we need to build each other up and not tear each other down. And while this may come as a shock to many people, there is no such thing as a perfect candidate. Every pro-life candidate we have identified has had some sort of flaw (some deeper and more profound than others). But that is okay, because they are human (like the rest of us, myself included) and we must work with what we have available. We must have measured expectations. 

 

Given all this, it was particularly disappointing to see a pro-life leader like Tanya Granic Allen throw accusations and insinuations at one of the pro-life candidates, Leslyn Lewis. When Leslyn clarified Tanya’s concerns in a very public and transparent way, Tanya did not correct the record, but doubled down on her attack. Given that Leslyn only received 61% of second-place votes from those who placed Derek first, it is mathematically probable that Tanya had some sort of small, but profoundly negative, impact on ensuring that a pro-life candidate did not win the leadership race.

 

WHAT PRO-LIFERS CAN DO NEXT

 

This leads into what pro-lifers can do going forward.

 

Pro-lifers should ask the pro-life organizations that they support with their time and money if they got involved in the leadership race and if not, why not. As stated above, RightNow provides an easy, helpful, and ethical way forward for these organizations to get involved in these important political opportunities. It is recommended that pro-lifers invest their time and finances into pro-life organizations that will actually get involved in political action when they are able to; otherwise, rubber chicken dinners and newsletters do not elect pro-life politicians, and without pro-life politicians, our cause is even more vulnerable to hostile politicians and government officials. Which means we will only continue to live in the only democratic country in the world with no law on abortion. 

 

At RightNow, we worked our lists hard to sell memberships to help the pro-life leadership candidates. After the membership sales deadline, we recruited volunteers to boost their campaigns. We did a mix of e-blasts, text-blasts, newsletters, live phone calls, and social media updates to inform pro-lifers on why and how they could get involved with the leadership race. There was no possible way that anyone in our RightNow database did not get contacted at least three times about purchasing a membership and volunteering.

 

However, in a leadership vote system where each riding is awarded 100 points, it is important to have breadth as well a depth. For RightNow to grow our database of pro-lifers in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, we need people on the ground. And not just any people, but well-trained, well-connected, and determined employees. Yes, employees and not volunteers. Why? Because politics changes on a dime.

 

For myself, I was in Manitoba when the COVID-19 restrictions first came into effect in mid-March. It was an amazing summer of seeing friends and family (although being very much apart from my fiancée, a paramedic in the GTA). At the end of my time in Manitoba, I had organized a large family gathering since our wedding plans went from having a guest list well into the triple digits to only four. Not having family at my wedding is one of the most difficult pills to swallow for this year, which is why I organized a family get together in Manitoba before I was scheduled to leave. However, I received a call from one of the pro-life leadership campaigns imploring me to come back to Ottawa post-haste to help them with a specific task that only I (and very few others across Canada) could accomplish in such a short time. It meant leaving with less than 24 hours notice and canceling my last family get together, my bachelor party (steaks, scotch, and golf), and leaving behind the province I love so dearly. Politics turns on a dime and if we want pro-life candidates to turn with it, we need people to adjust their schedule on the spot and they should be compensated for doing so. That is why we need employees and not just volunteers to fuel this growth.

 

Furthermore, fuelling this growth in Quebec and Atlantic Canada will require employees to actually live there. We need them on the ground to connect with various faith communities, youth groups, and other organizations to build up our database in these key areas. Currently, RightNow only has two staff. That is not by choice, but by necessity, since we lack the monthly funds to hire additional employees. I am happy to announce in this blogpost that as of September we will be posting weekly and emailing bi-weekly on a campaign to increase our monthly investments to the point where we can hire two additional employees to fuel our growth in geographic areas of weakness. You can help quicken this process by signing up to be a monthly investor here.

 

The importance of building up RightNow’s own lists should also be stressed. While we appreciate hearing of existing pro-life organizations in our areas of geographic weakness that could partner with us for pro-life campaigns, our experience over the last four years has been that most of them are very reluctant to get involved in any meaningful way politically. We cannot rely on the openness of other pro-life organizations to get their contacts involved in political opportunities; we have to do it ourselves.

 

GOING FORWARD

 

There are many positives to take away from this leadership race.

 

Pro-lifers were able to fuel a candidate from relative obscurity in early January, to perhaps being on the final ballot in early March, to earning more donors, almost as many donations, the highest number of votes, and almost the same amount of points as the winner, in the candidacy of Leslyn Lewis.

 

While Andrew Scheer owed his leadership election victory to a few key movements with in the Conservative Party, the Erin O’Toole campaign owes their victory solely to pro-lifers voting for O'Toole down ballot. Andrew had a mixture of dairy farmers in Quebec, first place votes of Erin O’Toole, and pro-lifers from down-ballot votes that helped him catapult past Maxime Bernier on the final ballot in the 2017 leadership race. Andrew could not have won without any of those groups, but it was not just one group that did it alone. For Erin, that is not the case. If Peter MacKay had developed a deep and sustained respect for pro-lifers and pro-life policies and campaigned as such, he would be Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition today.

 

Therefore, there are a few different groups that RightNow will be working with over the next few months after this leadership race:

 

ERIN O’TOOLE AND ERIN’S OFFICE

 

As stated above, the Erin O’Toole campaign owes their down-ballot victory over Peter MacKay solely to pro-lifers in the Conservative Party of Canada. What did Erin do to earn those second- and third-place votes? Erin committed to:

 

  1. Defunding abortion overseas
  2. Implementing conscientious objection rights for healthcare professionals
  3. Fighting the expansion of criteria for assisted suicide
  4. Free votes for all of caucus (including cabinet ministers), and not dissuading pro-life pieces of legislation
  5. Free and open nominations

 

Our first reaction to these commitments during the leadership race is to reach out to Erin O’Toole’s office and offer our assistance in working with them to accomplish these goals in the proper time period (e.g. Erin is not the prime minister and thus cannot defund abortion overseas at this particular point, but can include it in the party’s electoral platform for the 44th general federal election).

 

However, these are also red lines for pro-lifers. Should Erin or his team renege on any of these commitments, RightNow will first reach out to his office to rectify the situation. Should his office not be interested in keeping these commitments, then we will be informing pro-lifers of his broken promise and working hard to hold him accountable in the election. That being said, this is an act after all other attempts have failed and one that is not desirable on our part.

 

PRO-LIFE MPs WHO ENDORSED ERIN

 

This brings us to the next group to work with: the pro-life Members of Parliament who endorsed Erin O’Toole as leader. While we are disappointed that these Members of Parliament did not support a pro-life leadership candidate, there is some level of understanding given the real threat of Peter MacKay winning the leadership of the party, who posed an existential threat to pro-lifers being involved in the Conservative Party of Canada. As such, RightNow will be reaching out to these 22 Members of Parliament to ensure that they work with Erin to see his five commitments to pro-lifers implemented. We will also be relying heavily upon these Members of Parliament to be rather forceful with Erin and his office should Erin or his office renege on any of his five commitments to pro-lifers. It is important to remember that Erin could have made these commitments sincerely to pro-lifers, but members of his office could break them behind his back. This is an area in which pro-life Members of Parliament can help hold Erin's staff accountable to their the leader's commitment.

 

Be sure to reach out to these pro-life Members of Parliament who supported Erin and encourage them to work with RightNow to ensure Erin keeps his five commitments to pro-lifers and to be more supportive, publicly and privately, of parliamentary pro-life initiatives:

 

Member of Parliament

Riding

Province

Email

Phone

Michael Barrett

Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes

Ontario

Michael.Barrett@parl.gc.ca

866-498-3096

Bob Benzen

Calgary Heritage

Alberta

Bob.Benzen@parl.gc.ca

403-253-7990

Kenny Chiu

Steveston-Richmond East

British Columbia

Kenny.Chiu@parl.gc.ca

604-257-2900

Marc Dalton

Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge

British Columbia

Marc.Dalton@parl.gc.ca

604-466-2761

Kerry Diotte

Edmonton Griesbach

Alberta

Kerry.Diotte@parl.gc.ca

780-495-3261

Dave Epp

Chatham-Kent-Leamington

Ontario

Dave.Epp@parl.gc.ca

519-326-9655

Garnett Genuis

Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan

Alberta

Garnett.Genuis@parl.gc.ca

780-467-4944

Pat Kelly

Calgary Rocky Ridge

Alberta

Pat.Kelly@parl.gc.ca

403-282-7980

Robert Kitchen

Souris-Moose Mountain

Saskatchewan

Robert.Kitchen@parl.gc.ca

306-634-3000

Damien Kurek

Battle River-Crowfoot

Alberta

Stephanie.Kusie@parl.gc.ca

403-225-3480

Stephanie Kusie

Calgary Midnapore

Alberta

Damien.Kurek@parl.gc.ca

780-608-4600

Philip Lawrence

Northumberland-Peterborough South

Ontario

Philip.Lawrence@parl.gc.ca

905-372-8757

Dane Lloyd

Sturgeon River-Parkland

Alberta

Dane.Lloyd@parl.gc.ca

780-823-2050

Larry Maguire

Brandon-Souris

Manitoba

Larry.Maguire@parl.gc.ca

204-726-7600

Brad Redekopp

Saskatoon West

Saskatchewan

Brad.Redekopp@parl.gc.ca

306-975-6555

Lianne Rood

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex

Ontario

Lianne.Rood@parl.gc.ca

519-245-6561

Jamie Schmale

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

Ontario

Jamie.Schmale@parl.gc.ca

705-324-2400

Martin Shields

Bow River

Alberta

Martin.Shields@parl.gc.ca

1-844-241-0020

David Sweet

Flamborough-Glanbrook

Ontario

david.sweet@parl.gc.ca

905-648-3850

Tako Von Popta

Langley-Aldergrove

British Columbia

Tako.VanPopta@parl.gc.ca

604-534-5955

Gary Vidal

Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River

Saskatchewan

Gary.Vidal@parl.gc.ca

844-365-9664

Brad Vis

Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon

British Columbia

Brad.Vis@parl.gc.ca

604-814-5710

 

It is also interesting to note the average results (by points) on the first ballot and second ballots for the ridings those pro-life Members of Parliament who supported Erin represent:

 

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PRO-LIFE MPs WHO ENDORSED PETER

 

The final group that RightNow will be reaching out to are those pro-life Members of Parliament who endorsed Peter MacKay as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. RightNow was especially disturbed by these endorsements as Peter MacKay presented a credible existential threat to the role and place of pro-lifers in the Conservative Party of Canada. As such, RightNow will be reaching out to these pro-life Members of Parliament with the expectation that they engage in all of the following:

 

  1. Encourage Erin (publicly and privately) to keep his five commitments to pro-lifers in the leadership race on a go-forward basis
  2. Publicly and privately support pro-life legislative initiatives on a go-forward basis
  3. Communicate publicly and regularly with tweets, Facebook posts, and statements, speaking engagements, and so on, on pro-life issues whenever they arise, and to never fail to push back when our opponents overreach on these issues

 

Be sure to reach out to these pro-life Members of Parliament who supported Peter and encourage them to work with RightNow on the three tasks aforementioned:

 

 

 

Member of Parliament

Riding

Province

Email

Phone

Dean Allison

Niagara West

Ontario

Dean.Allison@parl.gc.ca

905-563-7900

John Barlow

Foothills

Alberta

John.Barlow@parl.gc.ca

403-603-3665

James Bezan

Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman

Manitoba

james.bezan@parl.gc.ca

204-785-6151

Blaine Calkins

Red Deer-Lacombe

Alberta

blaine.calkins@parl.gc.ca

587-621-0020

Colin Carrie

Oshawa

Ontario

colin.carrie@parl.gc.ca

905-440-4868

Todd Doherty

Cariboo-Prince George

British Columbia

Todd.Doherty@parl.gc.ca

250-564-7771

Ed Fast

Abbotsford

British Columiba

ed.fast@parl.gc.ca

604-557-7888

Cheryl Gallant

Renfrew-Nipissing-Prembroke

Ontario

cheryl.gallant@parl.gc.ca

613-732-4404

Matt Jeneroux

Edmonton Riverbend

Alberta

Matt.Jeneroux@parl.gc.ca

780-495-4351

Mike Lake

Edmonton-Wetaskawin

Alberta

mike.lake@parl.gc.ca

780-495-2149

Ben Lobb

Huron-Bruce

Ontario

Ben.lobb@parl.gc.ca

519-524-6560

Tom Lukiwski

Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan

Saskatchewan

tom.lukiwski@parl.gc.ca

306-691-3577

Kelly McCauley

Edmonton West

Alberta

Kelly.McCauley@parl.gc.ca

780-392-2515

Phil McColeman

Brantford-Brant

Ontario

phil.mccoleman@parl.gc.ca

519-754-4300

Rob Moore

Fundy-Royal

New Brunswick

Rob.Moore@parl.gc.ca

506-832-4200

Bob Saroya

Markham-Unionville

Ontario

Bob.Saroya@parl.gc.ca

905-470-2024

Kyle Seeback

Dufferin-Caledon

Ontario

Kyle.Seeback@parl.gc.ca

519-941-1832

John Williamson

New Brunswick Southwest

New Brunswick

John.Williamson@parl.gc.ca

1-888-350-4734

David Yurdiga

Fort McMurray-Cold Lake

Alberta

David.Yurdiga@parl.gc.ca

780-743-2201

Bob Zimmer

Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies

British Columbia

Bob.Zimmer@parl.gc.ca

250-787-1192

 

The average results (by points) on the first ballot and second ballots for the ridings those pro-life Members of Parliament who supported Peter represent are extraordinarily telling:

 

 

This shows a severe disconnect between the pro-life Members of Parliament who endorsed MacKay and their own riding party members, voters, volunteers, and donors.

 

Taking the average results in the above ridings and comparing them to the average results for the pro-life Members of Parliament who supported Leslyn Lewis, here is what the results could have been if those pro-life Members of Parliament who endorsed Peter and Erin endorsed Leslyn instead:

 

 

While we are disappointed in the 42 pro-life Members of Parliament who endorsed candidates other than Leslyn or Derek (especially disappointed in those who supported Peter MacKay), we wish to forge a path forward where these pro-life Members of Parliament can begin to effectively advocate for the pro-life agenda in the political realm.

 

However, should any of those 42 pro-life Members of Parliament not wish to work with RightNow, we will inform and advise pro-lifers in those ridings between now and (during) the next general federal election.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Although we wish that we had a pro-lifer win the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, the pro-life movement made significant gains in this leadership race. It is mathematically conclusive that Erin O’Toole owes his leadership victory solely to the down-ballot support of pro-life members of the Conservative Party of Canada. As such, pro-lifers have a much larger claim to the five commitments that Erin made to pro-lifers during the leadership race.

 

 

Another positive effect of this leadership race is the team of pro-life campaigners grew significantly. In the last Conservative leadership race, RightNow had zero riding captains; this time we had over 120. In the last Conservative leadership race, RightNow sold 5,000 memberships over 15 months; this time we sold 10,000 in 15 weeks. In the last Conservative leadership race, RightNow sold less than a dozen memberships in high-value ridings in Quebec; this leadership race we sold over 300.

 

But it’s not enough.

 

While pro-life members of the Conservative Party of Canada once again played kingmaker, we were 513 votes short of potentially taking the crown ourselves. This suggests that if pro-lifers can fund additional RightNow staffers to identify pro-lifers in key ridings over the coming months and years, the next top-endorsed leadership candidate will win the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.

 

Finally, we now know which pro-life Members of Parliament are going to take a bold, calculated stand to advance the pro-life agenda in the political realm, which ones will make a timid decision, and which ones will make a harmful decision. This will be very informative for RightNow and our volunteers for the upcoming election. While we will be offering a path forward for those pro-life of Members of Parliament who made timid and harmful decisions in this leadership race, it will be up to them on whether or not they wish to journey with us on that path; the ball will be in their court and there will be reasonable expectations that will need to be met on their part.

 

However, at the end of this leadership race I can confidently say that I am humbled by the incredible response from pro-lifers across Canada to remain and increase their involvement in the political process. I look forward to implementing the next steps on your behalf and working with you for upcoming nominations, elections, and leadership races.

 

To all of you stinking albatrosses, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

 

 

 


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