Listen Up! The flavour of the month for media attacks is Andrew Scheer



Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

So, Now what?

Sometimes I wonder at the nature of politics. Is there anything more fickle?  Barely a month since the federal election and look how things have changed. Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau are playing nicey-nice. The Prime Minister is almost a shadow of himself; less arrogant, more conciliatory and hardly a nasty or divisive comment out of his mouth. And Premier Ford has been let out of the basement and is well on the way to leading the fight for Canadian unity.  I wonder how long all of this will last?

Meanwhile, the flavour of the month for media attacks is Andrew Scheer. Trudeau, and even Ford, are pretty well getting a pass. When it comes to the Premier of Ontario, only the Toronto Star continues its daily attacks and they simply do not know how to do anything else.

But Andrew Scheer is a different ball of wax. The long knives are out and the main-stream media, if they are not leading the charge, are certainly aiding and abetting!  As I write this, I note that National Newswatch has no less than nine anti-Scheer posts on their site, four of them up top. It seems that the smallest slight against Scheer, from the most insignificant Tory grunt, is fodder for national headlines. The CBC especially excels at this.

The media of course, are not in this alone. They are fed by bloodthirsty wannabes within the Conservative Party. This is not entirely surprising as Andrew Scheer did not win the election and Conservatives are known for knifing their leaders at the first opportunity. It is one of the few occasions when the main-stream media jumps to the side of the Conservative cause.

But those who really believe that Scheer missed scoring ‘on an open net’, are wrong. They underestimate the brilliance of back room Liberal strategists, with skills honed over decades, that include an innate ability to throw hand grenades at the appropriate time and create situations that give them a fighting chance, no matter how much their Leader screws up. I have known some of them in the past and I know a few of them now. They have my utmost respect when it comes to blood politics.  Without a doubt, there was always someone in the Liberal net.

I continue to find it interesting that while Justin Trudeau significantly reduced his Party’s fortunes, and while Andrew Scheer actually won the popular vote and greatly improved Conservative representation in parliament, it is Scheer and not Trudeau who is the flavour of the month when it comes to attacking the leader. This may be because Liberals tend to do their dirty laundry in private. Conservatives do not.

I have written previously that I believe that Andrew Scheer deserves a second shot. I still do. However, as I watch what is going on, in the back rooms and from supporters of some candidates who did not win the leadership last time around, and adding the maneuvering of much of the media, the less I believe that it is going to come to pass.

I also find it very interesting to note that while Andrew Scheer continues to face fire and brimstone, Ontario Premier Doug Ford appears to be climbing out of the ashes. He and Mr. Trudeau are buddies now!  More or less. That makes it a little difficult for some in the media to jerk him around. He had a lousy first year as Premier, mostly of his own doing. That’s why the movers and shakers in the Scheer campaign had him virtually locked up, a move they surely must regret now, because Doug Ford could have helped them win some close seats in areas of the GTA, where he remains popular. This is another reason why you do not knife your own people in the back. Now Doug Ford has no compulsion to be loyal to Andrew Scheer or the federal Conservatives, and the door is open for him to be seen to be working with the Trudeau government in the interests of both Ontario and national unity.

In my view, it takes a strong person to ignore the vicious attacks rained upon Doug Ford by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal campaign. It was as if they were running against him instead of Scheer. And it worked, primarily because the Conservatives were unwittingly complicit by treating Ford like a pariah. It made it easy for the Liberals to do the same, especially when Ford was not in a position to defend himself.

But Doug Ford has allowed this to evaporate like water off a duck’s back, in favour of a working relationship that allows him to take a leading role in issues of national unity, a matter of primary importance to Canada. To the surprise of many and the chagrin of some, he may yet rise to be seen as a real statesman for Canada.

Doug Ford is not your typical politician. He is not polished and there are some who see him as a bit of a buffoon. Yet he is affable and people who meet him, like him. He actually returns his messages and phone calls, a rarity at that level in politics. Doug Ford has made mistakes and he has owned up to many of them. How often have you seen the Prime Minister do that, except when he had no choice?

What Doug Ford has recognized is that government cannot be all things to all people. Equally important, he realizes that necessary and important government responsibilities, including health care, education, the environment and the poor, cannot be adequately funded, if our national and provincial debt continues to spiral out of control. Certainly, he has bumbled along the way and balancing a budget is never a happy exercise. It is however a necessary one.

So, here is my prediction as we enter a new year and bounce along the uncertain road of Canadian politics. Doug Ford will survive. Andrew Scheer will not. Justin Trudeau will survive for now but will never again form another majority government.

Any bets? 

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  1. Hugh; your allegiance to the Conservative brand is admirable. Your assertion that Scheer deserves a second kick at the can is not one the rank and file Cons believe. His personal views on marriage and abortion will be the nails that hold him to the cross of scorn. One may hold those same views but, in this country they are a non starting conversation point.
    The secularity of this country is something that has been legislated over the decades and that is one of the things that makes this country great. Our leaders do not invoke blessings from any one god over any other. Nor do they try and impose those moral values on anyone that has opposing views. Those reasons alone should be enough to get the Con brain trust sharpening the knives come April.
    Opposing Gay marriage or speaking out against abortion plays well to the rural voter but the largest voter cohort are urban and those issues are sealed and done as far as they are concerned. Thus the reason that Scheer did not get to form a government.

    • Well Dave I hope your wrong personally I like Scheer a lot just because he has is own opinion on things and sticks with it but doe’s not try to impose his beliefs on anyone else. As for the next election I guess we just have to wait and see who makes it.

  2. Hugh another great article. You do not however speak of why Scheer is the media’s flavour of the month, the answer is if the media makes the Conservatives look weak it will make the Liberals look strong. It was the media in Ontario that put Ford in a box not the Federal Conservatives in the last election. Their scathing attacks on Ford since his election weakened both Provincial and Federal Conservatives in Ontario. It was the collapse of the NDP and GREENS in Ontario and Quebec that kept the Liberals in power. Not because of Scheer, he achieved great gains in both number of ridings held and lead the popular votes. Funny how Harper’s ex-team members who gave Trudeau a majority government are supposedly leading the charge against Scheer. Conservatives need to close ranks behind their new leader.

  3. Waldi Frankiewicz on

    For me, Andrew Scheer is an unquoted authority on moral and ethical matters. He is one of the first Canadian politicians to officially oppose the introduction of laws that contradict the natural definition of marriage or the extension of the existing right to abortion. He is a mature politician who is aware of what such political and legal actions will cause. Andrew is no stranger to the definition of secularism.Andrew Sheer is aware that this political system will divide Canadian society and will soon lead to the dismantling of its national cohesion. We should respect the rights of minorities to difference, but the rights of the majority should not be questioned in any system. That’s what Mr. A Scheer is trying to tell us.

    • Waldi, nobody is questioning the rights of the majority to gay marriage, or the right of choice for women. Mr. Scheer’s problem was trying to attract voters from both sides of our most serious, sociological divide: He expressed his personal views (thereby appealing to the minority voters); and then promised to not govern by them (thereby appealing to everyone else). Being wishy-washy seems to be a Tory trait lately: Witness how may times Premier Ford has reversed himself in the short period since his election.

      Call him arrogant if you wish. But you always know where you stand with the Prime Minister. And isn’t that what we should want for Canada; a strong leader?

  4. Two things of which we can always be certain is death and taxes. Along with that, newspaper reporters will always refer to a body found in the bush as ‘grisly’ remains; a practicing Mick as a ‘devout’ Catholic and a sick person in an ambulance being ‘rushed’ to the hospital.

    And more so, Hugh MacKenzie will always be whinging about the Toronto Star beating up Tories. It’s in his DNA, and as Hughie says, ‘he simply does not know how to do anything else’. And try as he may to convince us how equitable and non-partisan he is, his lowest common denominator will always be, ‘I hate Liberals’.

    Now Hugh is writing that poor Andrew Scheer is getting unnecessarily pommeled by that leftist rag, the Toronto Star.

    Oh, and the oft berated ‘Ceeb’, too. I don’t know how Ian Hanomansing and Rosie Barton missed getting a couple of Hugh’s elbows in the corner as well.

    Hughie,,….Andy lost! And so did the unfortunate Hilary Clinton. That’s how our ‘first past the post’ electoral system works. And until proportional voting comes in, it’s not going to change,….someone will always win the popular vote but stay out of power because they won less seats.

    And the National Post, that bastion of journalistic right wing jousting, that Hugh avoids skewering for similar reasons, carries as its Dec. 3 online headline, “Until Scheer Gives a Straight Answer, He Won’t Win.”

    Once again, more ‘fodder for national headlines,’ Hugh.

    And by the way, in the same online issue, the National Post brays about FPTP, “Canada’s voting system is functioning just fine”, thank you very much; you could google it.

    And while we’re on the topic of newspapers whacking away at the same old pinata, how about that photo on the front page of the Huntsville Doppler showing all the local Tory carpetbaggers gathered around new MP Scott Aitchison in the House of Commons,…who’s missing? Was Conrad Black busy burning Chrétien at the stake that day? Had Rex Murphy swallowed another dictionary rendering him hors de combat?

    The blue tinged ghost of Stan Darling runs rampant through the attic of the temporary Parliament chambers.

    Keep up the good work, Hughie. You have the only column in Muskoka that writes itself!

    Richard Corcelli
    Gravenhurst, ON

  5. It is amazing that with all the current protests/demonstrations going on, that the press and comments are dominated with Conservative and Liberal focus. Clearly the Conservatives (Fed or Prov) are Climate Change deniers by their actions of tearing down Windmills and threats of eliminating the Carbon Tax. And the Liberals are clearly confused, supporting the Carbon Tax, which does not go NEAR far enough in the fight against Climate Change and then buying a pipeline (bad enough) which will support the Tar Sands (worse).

    While Canada represents only 1.5% of Global emitters, on a per person basis we are one of the top emitters in the World. China is the TOP renewable energy producer! And our Permafrost is melting and Ice Roads are failing, with the Feds planning on building bridges to replace Ice Roads. Canada is clearly in trouble when it comes to climate change. The Conservatives deny and the Liberals are confused, so we need NEW BLOOD governing our Country. Balancing the Budget comes after providing for our LIVES, because if we can’t live here the Budget doesn’t matter.

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