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The Contenders to Lead the Conservative Party, Ranked

Who is gonna be the new Stephen Harper?
Justin Ling
Montreal, CA

Photo via Facebook/Conservative Party of Canada

Stephen Harper's Conservative Party is dead. Long live Stephen harper's Conservative Party!

Now that we got that business out of the way, Canada's second-place party (first-place losers) have to go about the awful business of finding a new leader.

And from that smoking wreckage will emerge a white (also: caucasian) knight to lead the party back into the promised land.

We prepared for you this handy primer and even ranked candidates on the Harper-o-Meter — candidates are ranked, based on their chances of winning, from one to five Harper faces.


Interim Leadership Race

The party will be choosing its interim leader on November 5, and that person will be required to do the horrible, thankless work of rebuilding a party that nobody seems to like very much right now.

Diane Finley

Age: 58

Riding: Haldiman—Norfolk (Ontario)

Experience: Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and Human Resources and Skills Development


Notable for: Breaking conflict of interest rules for hooking up a Conservative Party friend. Also: wearing sunglasses indoors that make her look badass. (She wears them because she has Graves' disease. Which is not funny. But she does legitimately look like a badass.)

Speak French?: Yes, all the time.

Campaign song:

Reason for running: She is the physical embodiment of the phrase: "I will fix this shit myself if I have to."

Erin O'Toole

Age: 42

Riding: Durham (Ontario)

Experience: Minister of Veterans Affairs, former Air Force Captain


Notable for: Taking over Veterans Affairs and not totally fucking it up.

Speak French?: Somewhat.

Reasons for running: He's new to politics, he's absurdly likeable, and he managed to un-fuck-up the Veterans Affairs file.

Campaign song: O Canada.

Candice Bergen

Age: 51

Riding: Portage-Lisgar (Manitoba)

Experience: Minister of State for Social Development


Notable for: Being the one responsible for killing the long-gun registry.

Speak French?: Not really.

Reason for running: She's a gun-loving, politically-savvy, social-housing-advocating prairie Conservative who shares her name (and hair) with the actress from Murphy Brown. What's not to love?


Campaign song: The other Candice Bergen singing "Better Than Ever."

Rob Nicholson

Age: 63

Riding: Niagara Falls (Ontario)

Experience: Government House leader, and Minister of Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs.


Notable for: Never really having a scandal/being a remarkably boring man.

Speak French?: He did once.

Reason for running: Rob Nicholson is the whole grain bread of the Conservative movement.

Campaign song:

Michelle Rempel

Age: 35

Riding: Calgary Nose Hill (Alberta)

Experience: Minister of State for Western Development


Notable for: Subtweeting her way through the announcement that she was running, calling out unknown somebodies for saying she's too young, female, and brash to run.

Speak French?: Apparently?

Reasons for running: To smash the patriarchy, mostly. Also: to make financial responsibility and free-market enterprise cool again.

Campaign Song:

The Actual Leadership Race

The main event. Like rugby or dating your ex, nobody is quite sure of the rules yet, but rest assured that this race will be a mud-slinging good time.

Jason Kenney

Age: 47

Riding: Calgary Midnapore (Alberta)

Experience: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment and Social Development, and Defence.


Notable for: Doing every job ever in the Harper government, and doing it quite well.

Speak French?: As often as they'll let him.

Reasons for running: He's basically Harper 2.0—although he says he wants to make the party "sunnier"—and he's got serious cred when it comes to the military. He's also a goddamn celebrity at cultural events.


Campaign song:

Lisa Raitt

Age: 47

Riding: Halton (Ontario) / Cape Breton (her hometown)

Experience: Minister of Natural Resources, Labour, and Transportation


Notable for: Once calling cancer isotopes "sexy" (then, later, beating actual cancer) and, more importantly, for being a wonderful person and politely dragging Elizabeth may off the stage as she made a fool of herself.

Speak French?: She's learning.

Reason for running: Because she's from that wing of the party that wants to sell the Conservatives as a likeable, electable, capable alternative to the other parties without turning the election into a goddang culture war. Old school.

Campaign song:

Maximum Bernier

Age: 52

Riding: Beauce (Quebec)

Experience: Minister of Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business and Tourism (in that order.)


Notable for: Leaving classified documents at the home of his Hells Angels-linked girlfriend.

Speak French?: French is not the language he has trouble with.

Reason for running: Probably because someone told him not to. He's the only Quebecer who appears set to join the race, so that's incentive right there. He's also a libertarian, which we all need a little more of.

Campaign song:

Nightime campaign song:

Doug Ford

Age: 50

Riding: A big black SUV

Experience: Toronto city councillor for Somewhere in Etobicoke


Notable for: Everything.

Speak French?: Oh hell, I dunno. Probably.

Reason for running: Enablers.


Campaign song:

Rona Ambrose

Age: 46

Riding: Edmonton — Spruce Grove

Experience: Minister of the Environment, Intergovernmental Affairs, Status of Women, Labour, Western Development, Public Works, and Health.


Notable for: Being a big Ayn Rand fan, and for voting on a bill that ostensibly could have reduced access to abortion while still being Minister for the Status of Women.

Speak French?: Yes, and apparently Spanish and Portuguese as well.

Reasons for running: To find out who John Galt is, I guess. Also because she's one of the most experienced candidates.

Campaign song: Atlas Shrugged e-book.

Kellie Leitch

Age: 45

Riding: Simcoe—Grey (Ontario)

Experience: Minister for Status of Women, and Labour


Notable for: Having to convince people that we don't need an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. Also: mentioning that she's a doctor every five minutes. (She's a doctor.)

Speak French?: She tries very hard and often succeeds.

Reasons for running: She is maybe one of the most ambitious people in Parliament. She became a minister two years after being elected for the first time. That's not half bad.

Campaign song:

Michael Chong

Age: 43

Riding: Wellington—Halton Hills (Ontario)

Experience: Well he's been an MP for more than a decade.


Notable for: Introducing legislation that is supposed to empower individual MPs to stand up to their leader in a time when individual MPs never ever stood up to their leaders.


Speak French?: It doesn't matter, because he's not going to win.

Reasons for running: Chong is a classic issues candidate. He's going to run to stand on his "principles" and to advocate for a more "representative" "democracy". Total loser.

Campaign song:

Chris Alexander

Age: 47

Riding: The Open Road

Experience: Ambassador to Afghanistan, Minister of Immigration


Notable for: Connecting the dots between women who wear the niqab and terrorists, introducing a bill to strip dual citizens of their citizenship if they've been convicted of a terrorism offence, having once been a star candidate for the Conservative Party, (sort-of) hanging up on Carol Off. There's a long list.

Speak French?: He has, on occasion, spoken French.

Reasons for running: To stop those hippy trippy Liberals from putting pot in every storefront window. Also: he's probably not running. We just wanted to put Carol Off's face on the Harper-o-Meter.

Campaign song:

Michelle Rempel again?

Age: Still 35

Riding: Still Calgary Nose Hill (Still Alberta)

Experience: She has gained experience from being on so many lists.

One Trudeau strip tease video. Because if that guy can be prime minister, then Michelle Rempel should probably be President of Earth.

Notable for: Knowing wine really good. Also, being one of the fastest-rising politicians in a party that doesn't have a lot of upward mobility.

Speak French?: Apparently.

Reasons for running: Because she's just as capable as these other rubes.


Campaign song:


Age: 56

Riding: Calgary Heritage

Experience: Prime Minister


Notable for: Being Stephen Harper

Speak French?: So they tell me.

Reasons for running: Twist!

Campaign song:

The soundtrack to my nightmares

Peter MacKay, John Baird and James Moore

Age: 135, combined

Riding: Joe Clark's Dreams

Experience: Doing roughly 50% of the work of the Harper Government.


Notable for: Resigning at the exact right time.

Speak French?: At least 80% of it does.

Reasons for running: At the moment, none of the three seem terribly interested. MacKay and Moore got tired of commuting halfway across the country for a job where everyone hates you, and Baird decided to go into the private sector. Unless they pull a classic Parent Trap gag and try to rotate through the leadership, there's probably not much hope that either of the three will come back. But hey, wouldn't it be great to relive the Harper years just one more time?

Campaign Song:

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