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A Skeptic’s Guide to the Conservative Leadership Candidates’ Wacky Policies

[Extremely Mario 64 voice] Here we go!

We're just three months away from the federal Conservatives selecting the leader who will take them up against Justin Trudeau in 2019. Like the rest of the world, the federal Tories are trying to figure out how to deal with resurgent right-wing populism.

Many of them are leaning into it more or less full tilt; most candidates are against M-103 and a few of them have already sold their souls to The Rebel by appearing at their hate-in earlier this month in Toronto. They generally skew wary of immigrants and several of them are clambering over one another to choke, castrate, and/or murder the CBC. A few have also broached scrapping the federal Indian Act, which is not as outrageous as it sounds—almost everyone acknowledges it's a racist mess of a law—but no one has offered much in the way of what would replace or improve it.


With a crowded field and no clear favourite to win, most of the contest so far has been a protracted battle between the different sub-cultures that live together under the Big Blue Tent. What defines conservatism in Canada? Is it a commitment to the free market, or big business? Ambiguously defined 'Canadian Values'? Parliamentary democracy? The rule of law? The rule of God's Law? (Jesus, I mean. Not Allah, obviously.) Or maybe a little bit of everything?

There are still 14 candidates for some reason. I have no idea why, but here we are. With so many candidates all in such broad agreement with each other, how does each candidate stand out from the other nobodies on stage? I dug through their policy statements to find out what big ideas really set everybody apart.

Chris Alexander

Chris Alexander is all over the place. He wants to take in a ton of new immigrants and refugees, but also took the time out of his busy schedule to chant "lock her up!" at Alberta premier Rachel Notley. He is sorry about the 2015 Barbaric Cultural Practices Hotline but also railed against Islam at Ezra's latest publicity stunt in Toronto. Where are you going with this, Chris? The "voice of reason" space is already occupied and so is being the spokesperson for InfoWars North. Just be yourself and emphasize your fun policies, like liberating Cuba, acquiring fat stacks of nuclear-powered Arctic submarines, and starting World War 3 in Syria.


Maxime Bernier is the cool candidate. He's into libertarianism and compromising national security by having sex with bikers. He knows what the kids want: free markets, legal weed, bad memes, and two-tiered healthcare. Nothing will motivate debt-saddled Millennials to succeed in life like creating a country where the poor die in hospital waiting-rooms while that asshole from your Business Communications class with the rich dad injects CRISPR into his dick for fun and profit.

Kellie Leitch

Kellie Leitch gets so much negative attention. It's always "Donald Trump's victory is exciting" this and "failure to acknowledge that a mass-murder at a Quebec City mosque was a hate crime against Muslims" that. But let's look on the bright side: in Prime Minister Kellie Leitch's elite- and foreigner-free Canada, any petition signed by 3% of the population (approx. 1.1 million people) is automatically put to a binding national referendum. Looking forward to a future where we are voting on renaming Toronto to "Fuck City" and whether to make Jedi our national religion.

Pierre Lemieux Pierre Lemieux and Brad Trost are trapped in an arms race of who can be the least progressive candidate. Lemieux wants to reopen the debates on abortion and same-sex marriage in Canada and also wants to put term limits of Supreme Court judges and let parliament vote on whether or not they get appointed. He also has this picture of himself on the policy page of his website:


It is the only picture on the page and it does not specify what he's talking about it. Is it a veiled reference to the clusterfuck in Ontario about the new sex-ed curriculum? Is he going to ban social services? It is a mystery. This image is literally the only noteworthy thing I learned about Pierre Lemieux.

Deepak Obhrai

Deepak Obhrai said he would drop out of the race if Peter MacKay, once and future king of the Progressive Conservatives, wanted to run for leader. I can only assume he spends every campaign stop wishing he'd been granted that sweet release.

Kevin O'Leary

The man is basically a Bay Street Liberal running on the Conservative ticket. He is aggressively socially liberal and is non-reverential about the troops and is weirdly enthusiastic about writing open letters to premiers he doesn't like. He is hoping that you forget all the wild shit he said on TV about how he would make unions illegal and that global poverty was beautiful and that he wants to fuck a big pile of money like an eroticised Scrooge McDuck. It was all a schtick! He was just being a TV jokester. Everyone knows the outrageous shit a celebrity politician says has no bearing on what they'd actually do in office.

Erin O'Toole wants to establish freedom of movement/work/living between Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain. He'll also give you $100000 in tax exemptions if you're under 30 when you graduate from college or trade school. That's pretty cool I guess. I would love to knock a hundred grand off my taxes and then fuck off to Devonshire forever. Let's do that.


Rick Peterson Step 1: eliminate all corporate taxes. Step 2: 15% nationwide flat tax. Step 3: raise the GST to 9%. Step 4: launch the biggest infrastructure project in the history of the North. Step 5: welcome to Bombardier Presents Thunderdome: Iqaluit.

Lisa Raitt

There is literally nothing interesting or funny to say about Lisa Raitt's candidacy, which I guess is her strategy. Sorry?

Merry Christmas, you filthy liberals.

Andrew Saxton believes in defending the Canadian dream from the sinister forces of social sciences and the arts, which is why he wants to cut off as much government funding as possible to the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council and, apparently, all magazines. This would be good because I hate magazines [hmph - ed.] and also SSHRC, because they never gave me any money to write a dissertation about French Marxism and Ottawa museums. Fuck you SSHRC. I hope Andrew Saxton buries you, right under CBC Comedy.

Hello darkness, my old friend.

Listen buddy. Making cross-country flights cheaper might help you get away for awhile, but you can never get away from yourself.

Brad Trost Brad Trost's website looks like it was designed by an amphetamine-addled survivalist militiaman sometime in the 1990s. Words are italicised, underlined, and bolded seemingly at random, which really helps capture the vibe of listening to an unhinged pastor yell for 30 uninterrupted minutes in the basement of some rural Saskatchewan church during a pierogi dinner. Which is totally what the guy is going for, and that's great, and he hits all the right notes of Western Canadian conservative psychosis: trans predators in your daughter's bathroom at school, Gender Equality Week is a plot by Cultural Marxists to institute Sharia Law, CBC Radio 2 will turn your unborn children gay in the womb unless it's privatized—the standard-issue bingo sheet. But somewhere in the middle of these rants, Brad Trost notes, as an aside, almost under his breath, that he is committed to repealing any hypothetical anti-spanking laws that Justin Trudeau might pass.

I like that Brad Trost is pre-emptively on the lookout to defend spanking. I like that Brad Trost has probably spent a lot of time deep in thought, travelling around the country talking to people about the importance of spanking, looking out the window of an airplane flying over northern Ontario thinking about spanking, how beautiful it is, how we need to make sure spanking can continue freely behind the walls of any man's house as God intended, whether as a matter of discipline or as something that consenting, married, heterosexual adults can do in the privacy of their bedrooms, and that's fine, and it's beautiful, and it's the only sliver of carnal pleasure the Lord has seen fit to shine into his otherwise miserable life of staring miserably at the joy of strangers, and it's so bad, living your life by creeping around in the shadows of a permissive society, coveting the enjoyment of others, it's such a naughty way to behave, I should be spanked for it, yes, please crack that paddle against the seat of my pants, and my God we've got to stop Justin Trudeau from ever bringing in a law that would prevent that, yes, where was I, does anyone have a cold wet facecloth or a glass of ice chips, whew, okay. I like that Brad Trost has probably thought very deeply about spanking and had sexy thoughts.

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