Civil war is about to descend on the Conservative Party of Canada. Michael Harris writes:
The biggest loser of all in Election 2015 is the Conservative Party of Canada. That party is now a tangle of angleworms in a jar. That’s what happens when an organization allows itself to become a cult and the cult leader fails utterly. It’s always the flood after a Sun King falls.
The fingers are pointing everywhere in the Conservative camp now, assigning blame. The party is already returning to its bitter old divisions — with Reformers in the West blaming Ontario for betraying them, and the remains of the old Progressive Conservatives in the East convinced that the job of reconstruction has to be taken out of the hands of Albertans.
This battle won't be between North and South. It will pit East against West:
Everyone knows that Jason Kenney has a death-grip on the party apparatus — just as they realize Kenney doesn’t have what it takes to win a national election. Adding to his problems, Kenney’s celebrated grip on the ethnic vote may have been permanently weakened by Harper’s hate-mongering wedge assault on Muslims over issues like the niqab — a remarkably ugly gambit that may have impressed bigots but spooked all immigrants.
Ontario Conservatives are hungry for a leader from Ontario after the values of the party’s Western wing offered up failed wedge politics as its only answer to the problem of winning a fourth term. There are several candidates waiting in the progressive wing, from the principled Michael Chong — who resigned from cabinet rather than allow Harper to rule by personal fiat — to former PC leader Peter MacKay, who nicely managed to miss the Tory trainwreck by getting off at the last station. And then there’s the wild card in the mix, Doug Ford. A wounded bear is more predictable.
Harris suspects that, even though Harper is no longer the official leader of the party, his fingerprints will be all over the process which chooses his successor.
The Conservative Party was an intentional misnomer. It's always been the Harper Party.