These days in politics, diversity can be found at the centre of every discussion. Specifically, identiy politics tends to be at the epicentre of the majority of these conversations. Of course, when it comes to political alignment, western right-wing parties undergo heavy scrutiny when it comes to the level “diversity” of their candidates. While the race-obsessed faction of left-wing parties point to diversity of skin colour and religion as being among the most important factors of a successful political party, there’s a certain, more important type of diversity that goes overlooked: the diversity of thought.
The reality is, the majority of conservative parties provide some of the most inclusive policies that create an unchecked diversity of opinion. In most cases, the given conservative political party provides a tent that unites folks from all stances that are right of center, and in some cases, slightly left. The diversity of the CPC forces voters to do their serious research and become educated in order to identify with the candidate of their choice.
As Conservative Party members in Canada know, their party is going to have a new leader very shortly. On May 27, 2017, the newly elected leader of Canada’s founding party will be given the opportunity to take down Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the 2019 general election.
What makes the decision difficult for conservative voters in this race is the diversity of thought among leadership candidates. Although there are 13 candidates for the Conservative Party, each candidate brings a unique platform to inspire new conservative voters while collectively maintaining the traditional base. In this race, there are some noteworthy candidates that stand out more than the rest, starting with Maxime Bernier, who the most recent polls depict as the front runner.
Bernier’s stance is generally based around libertarianism. Although he is not a full-fledged Libertarian, considering his website includes policy that allows for foreign intervention when necessary, he seems to have a finger on the pulse of the libertarian-conservative camp of Canadians that has become most popular with millennials.
Since the start of his campaign, Bernier has preached in favor of free markets, lower taxes, and smaller government. This libertarian outlook is what really sets him apart from the other candidates. His take on lowering taxes, decentralizing the federal government, and loosening gun restrictions are on Bernier’s platform, and many seem to be on board with this style of Conservative leadership.
But while Maxime Bernier’s campaign speaks from the right-wing libertarian area of the spectrum, there are conservatives in the race that align with what are typically referred to as “social conservatives”. Perhaps the most noteworthy socially conservative candidate running is Brad Trost.
Although he’s behind in the polls, Trost has recently made news cycles for his comments explaining what he believes the role of the Conservative Party leader should be. He has stated that he would never march in a Gay Pride parade, nor would he ever fund them. Along with that, Trost holds a pro-life stance and is one of the few candidates promoting this position as a main issue.
As social conservatism contrasts the libertarianism, which seems to have taken the party by storm, some candidates, such as Kellie Leitch, have chosen other issues to attempt to stand out, showing the level of diversity within the right-of-centre strands of policy.
Leitch has chosen to make immigration her priority if elected as leader. The idea comes at a time when immigration from terror-ridden countries has become a main concern for the Western world. She explains that immigrants should be screened for “Canadian values” upon arrival into Canada. As she promotes a strong attitude towards immigration, her website also reads, “as Prime Minister, I will move the Canadian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.” Leitch is another controversial candidate in the race, perhaps because she is one of the few front runners promoting Canadian exceptionalism as well as showing concern for immigration issues, both taboo subjects as of recent.
Finally, another top name in the race, Michael Chong, provides Conservative Party members with a new brand of Green-conservatism, prioritizing environmental solutions as his campaign’s focal point. Chong has found himself in controversy with many conservatives for his support of a carbon tax. Although he explains that this tax would be “revenue neutral,” most conservatives reject the very concept of a tax on carbon emissions, let alone progressive taxation in any form. Chong has made this a major talking point for his campaign, and he is proving that there is some support on the right for a tax-based solution to climate change. As the Conservative Party is often criticized for its “lack of action” when it comes to climate change, Chong seems to be one of the more “progressive conservatives” running for Tory leadership.
With the Conservative leadership race coming to an end later this month, all of the candidates have stepped up their game and doubled down on their campaign priorities. In total, there are 13 candidates in the election, with a plentiful amount of policies to compare and contrast. This showcases the vast diversity of thought within the party as a new spectrum of conservative policy has provided members with lineup of options that suit anyone with a membership card.
The diversity of the candidates may not always be observable, but there is certainly no shortage of diversity within the potential direction of the party. When this race comes to a conclusion on May 27th, one thing is certain; although their ideas may collide, conservatives will unite behind the core principles that have inspired every platform. The candidates for the conservative party all support a free Canadian society based on fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. Each of the candidates share a similar vision of Canada while putting forth individual policies that they believe will benefit Canada the most.
As you can see, diversity is alive and well within the Conservative Party of Canada.