[Edited to correct the deadline for joining and being able to vote in the leadership campaign. It’s actually March 28. Apologies; I have no idea how I got the date wrong.]
Yesterday, I paid my $15 and joined the Conservative Party of Canada. At this very moment, they’re deciding whether Trump-style hate will be on the ballot in the next election in the form of Kellie Leitch and Steven Blaney. If one of them, or a similar candidate, wins – and Leitch is the current favourite – then there’s a 50/50 chance that our next Prime Minister will be a Trump acolyte (the NDP, in its wisdom, having decided to get out of the business of actually contesting elections). That’s the lesson from the US election.
Canadians are fortunate that we have a say in who the next potential prime minister will be. We have a vote in the future of our country. The Conservative leadership election is open to all Canadians who
have been members of the party for at least six months [EDIT: the deadline is actually March 28] . The vote is on May 27, so if you sign up in the next two weeks by then, you can have a say in who becomes the next Conservative leader, and the next potential prime minister. And there are candidates, such as Michael Chong and Chris Alexander who have directly repudiated Leitch’s particular brand of hatemongering. (Full disclosure: I also gave $25 to Chong’s campaign.)
If you’re shocked by the low voter turnout in the US election, here’s your chance to put your money ($15) where your mouth is. If you support the Conservatives, there’s no reason for you not to become a paid member and stand up for Canadian values. If you haven’t previously supported the Conservatives, when you join and check out the profiles of the candidates, you might find that some of their policies aren’t quite as evil as our tribal approach to politics would lead you to think. And you can always influence these policies, because we’re all Canadians here and we have a say in what happens next.
One of the only silver linings in this entire election season was seeing some Republicans repudiate their party — a fundamental part of their identity — to focus on what united them with others Americans, rather than on the seemingly intractable partisan divide. Over the past few decades — in Canada as in the United States — we’ve lost touch with the fact that there are some fundamental Canadian ideals that transcend party affiliation. Respect and support for the weak and the marginalized is one of them. Punching down is never cool. We have to make sure that everyone is able to do the best they can in this country.
Now, how we make that happen is fair game for political disagreement. But before we get to that fun debate, we have to decide what type of Canada we want. That’s what’s on the ballot in May. If you fear what happened in the United States on Tuesday, here’s your chance to finally make a difference.