When Maxime Bernier lost the leadership of the Conservative Party by a smidgen, his supporters circulated a story that the leadership had been stolen from him. Stephen Maher writes:
On June 5, 2017, a week after Andrew Scheer upset Maxime Bernier to become leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I had an off-the-record interview with a senior Bernier organizer who was challenging the results.
The Globe and Mail had just reported that 133,896 voters cast 141,362 ballots, which meant that there were 7,466 more ballots cast than people to cast them. The Bernier team believed that many people voted twice, once by mail and once at their local ballot location.
“It is so goddamn easy to double vote in this,” the organizer said. “In fact, if you are in some of these ridings, you could likely triple vote. You could mail your ballot in, go to your riding … and then go to the convention.”
To make matters worse, as soon as the ballots were counted, they were destroyed. The party said the results had been certified by an accounting firm, but they hadn’t.
“There were a lot more ballots in that box than there were supposed to be,” Max’s guy told me. “The party’s explanation is that there were thousands of innocent mistakes made by volunteers across the country. That’s sort of like saying we flipped the coin and it landed on its edge.”
“What one can derive from all the comment, public and private, from the party, is they have no interest in doing anything but saying, ‘Everything was great. F–k off,’ ” the strategist explained.
Here’s the theory: The Harperites weren’t going to let the man from the Beauce take over their party, fire all of the people who built it and take it in some unknown libertarian direction. Much better for Scheer, a known quantity, to win, since he would leave everyone in their jobs, and keep control of the fund-raising machine.
There is a fire burning across the country against Justin Trudeau. That fire is white-hot among Conservatives. And it's white-hot among the members of the PPC. But the People's Party also wants to burn down the Conservative Party of Canada:
It is starting to look like [Bernier] will have his revenge on Monday, denying the Conservatives the votes they need to finally dispatch Justin Trudeau.
If the polls are right, the People’s Party will get a lot more votes than last time, mostly from people who voted for Scheer’s party in 2019, likely enough to allow the desperate Liberals to hang on.
You don’t need to read the polls, actually, to know what is happening. In the course of the last 10 days, as the LPC-CPC race got tighter, the Conservatives have been forced into the same kind of strategic-voting pitch that the Liberals always use at the end of a campaign. It started with a vaguely worded meme on a social-media surrogate account, and ends up with O’Toole making an explicit pitch to would-be PPC supporters, echoed by allied commentators.
There will be lots of strategic voting today. We'll know the final count in about four days.
Image: Northern News