Schmale supporting Poilievre as Conservatives regroup to find new leader
Schmale believes Charest will do well in eastern Canada and Quebec, while Poilievre will sweep western Canada
Local MP Jamie Schmale has already picked his horse in the federal leadership race – the perceived frontrunner, Pierre Poilievre.
The MP, who had supported the more moderate Erin O’Toole, now throws his endorsement to the polarizing, firebrand MP from the Ottawa area who has already received the endorsement of 27 other Conservative Party of Canada MPs.
“I was shocked a little by how definitive the vote was to remove Erin,” says Schmale, but said that “Pierre is already making the case for what he would do differently than the Liberals.”
Schmale believes the race will likely come down to a battle between Poilievre, former Progressive Conservative leader and Quebec premier Jean Charest (who is expected to announce tomorrow in Alberta), and social conservative MP Leslyn Lewis.
Schmale believes Charest will do well in eastern Canada and Quebec, while Poilievre will sweep western Canada. He is unsure where British Columbia might break but believes the convention in September will be a battle for Ontario.
“I believe the campaign should be about ideas,” Schmale said.
When asked if a seven-month leadership race could have negative impacts on the party as candidates desperate for delegates snipe at each other’s weaknesses, Schmale said he was “disappointed” by the length of the campaign and hoped the new leader could have been chosen sometime later in the spring – a scenario that would have benefited the frontrunner.
Schmale said there was and still is general frustration with what is going on within the party. Schmale suggested that party members are frustrated with the party losing “winnable elections.”
“It is not all Erin’s fault,” Schmale said. “We need to work on communication. We had solid plans under O’Toole and Scheer. We need to do a better job simplifying complex issues for the voter.”
Schmale made it clear that a near-endorsement of Jean Charest by the conservative newspaper, the National Post, means little to him. “The Post has history with Charest. Media endorsements mean nothing. It is up to the members to select a leader.”
On the Ottawa truckers’ issue that galvanized international attention, Schmale says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used “the sledgehammer of all laws” (the Emergencies Act) to deal with the convoy, calling it a “parking issue.”
“We (the Conservative Party of Canada) support the message the truckers took to Ottawa,” Schmale said. “We support the end of federal mandates too, as do the majority of Canadians. We believe that Trudeau put gasoline on a fire by calling the truckers names.
When the point was made that the decisions about vaccinations to cross the border was originally American policy and that Canada could do little about it, Schmale suggested that the Liberals could have done much more with like-minded American border state politicians to eliminate the mandate and get the border open and trade flowing.
Schmale believes that the Liberals chose a curious time to implement the Emergency Powers Act when it wasn’t deemed necessary during 9/11 or the financial crisis of 2009.
“Mandates only became an issue when Trudeau found himself behind in the polling during the last election. His tone changed and he was looking for an issue to boost his popularity. That is when mandates became an issue.”
When asked why none of the trucking organizations in Canada supported the convoy Schmale said, “I think there is a disconnect between truckers and their organizations. Truckers felt that this was their chance to be heard by Ottawa.”
On the war in the Ukraine and Canada’s reaction to it, Schmale believes the Liberals “have done everything that they could have.”
“We offered full support of the initial moves made by the government,” Schmale said. “We support sanctions, dealing with the oligarchs and their possessions, support for NATO and adding additional Canadian forces to protect Latvia.”
When asked about the implementation of a no-fly zone or a “more robust” role for NATO being called for by some Ukrainian-Canadians, Schmale said that Canada would need to weigh the consequences of all decisions before they are made. Schmale pointed out that a no-fly zone could potentially bring NATO and Russian forces into deadly contact with potentially tragic consequences for all.
“Our main focus should be to cripple Russia economically,” Schmale said.
Schmale figures that the four pressing issues once parliament reconvenes will be the presentation of a budget by the government, the situation in Ukraine, the cost of living for the average Canadian and rectifying supply chain issues.