It's official: the Conservative leadership race is in its final stages. The deadline for buying party memberships to be eligible to vote in the contest was midnight on March 28. Everybody who will decide the fate of Canada's opposition party is locked in now for the vote on May 27. Now that the doors are closed to the public, the candidates will be looking to swoop in on the members their rivals have signed up. Things are going to get wild.
We had a taste of that this week, when every day so far apparently has brought exciting new revelations in how desperate everyone is getting to one-up each other in the battle for second and third-order preferences.
When it feels like a long week by Wednesday, you know shit is good.
1. Brad Trost's campaign re-affirmed that their candidate is uncomfortable with "the whole gay thing."
In a shocking twist on Tuesday, campaign manager Mike Patton dropped the bombshell of the year: the gays weird Brad Trost out.
It was hard enough to accept that the campaign had homophobic leanings when Trost kicked it off last year by lashing out at Canada's decade-old marriage equality laws. His email on Monday night stating that he would cut funding to any gay-related events or causes was a real stunner too. His campaign's unequivocal denunciation of any "serious leaders" like Rona Ambrose or Maxime Bernier who encouraged "the gay lifestyle" by participating in the parade seemed like a lot to take. And honestly I was a little offended when Trost later graphically defined the gay lifestyle as "gay people having gay sex."
I was about to write him off as a serious candidate before Patton's reassuring honking voice informed me that Brad has no problem with whatever immoral, disgusting sexual behaviour people engage in behind closed doors in the privacy of their own homes. He just wants everything that happens in public to conform to "some kind of basic community standards."
Whew! Turns out Trost is actually totally OK with gay people as long as they're not doing anything gay where someone might notice, and are otherwise not existing as a gay person in a public space or social setting. I mean, if two gays are gaying it up in a forest when no one's around to call the police, are they really gay? Forced closeting has never seemed so zen.
2. Maxime Bernier announced he would use the army to stop illegal border crossings
Bernier is widely presumed to be one of the frontrunners in an increasingly tight race, so he's stepping up his game to prove to Conservative voters that he's a serious politician who takes illegal immigration seriously. When Kevin O'Leary announced he would use the 1982 Constitution's "notwithstanding clause" to override a 1985 legal decision to grant asylum-seekers a refugee claims hearing before they're deported, Bernier decided to one up him by announcing that he would also do this but also deploy the army.
The RCMP are only for regular crimes, you see. When you're facing a major natural disaster, like floods or foreigners, you send in a fucking tank.
I will bet any of you $20 that someone will unironically call for a border wall before the vote in May.
3. Kellie Leitch did a Q&A with an anti-Muslim activist group
Kellie Leitch is a firm believer in defending Canadian values. So is Rise Canada, a group that wants to awaken the masses to the danger of the Islamic way of thinking. They are also, according to Anti-Racist Canada, a hate group. And apparently the guy who tore up a copy of the Quran at a Peel Region school board meeting was also there to hear Leitch speak, so, you know it was a real hootenanny.
4. Kevin O'Leary got into a shouting match with Rosie Barton on CBC over whether or not the Canadian economy is collapsing
There has been a lot of talk in this race about who is the Canadian Donald Trump. We are very desperate for a Canadian Donald Trump, because as much as Canada loves to be smug about how cool it is vis-a-vis the gaudy nightmare south of the border, Canada also hates missing out on hot global trends like loud boorish men in politics—plus, the media has Canadian content quotas to hit, man.
Anyway, K-Money is obviously the Canadian Trump. He is famous for yelling on television and this week proved he is in top form. When he gets up in Rosie's grill about how the Canadian economy is falling to pieces under Justin Trudeau's abysmal stewardship, it doesn't matter that GDP growth in Canada grew 2.6 percent in the final quarter of 2016 or that a quarter of a million jobs have been created in the past few months: the economy is bad and Trudeau is bad and the CBC is bad and everything is a fucking nightmare and we're all going to die slaving away in Kathleen Wynne's salt mines unless Kevin bails us out.
It was actually a pretty good pitch. If you have a gut feeling that things are shitty, you're right—and so is O'Leary. It's these mainstream media hacks in the pay of the Trudeau government who are lying to you. Media in this country is just a long audition for a sweet government comms job anyway. Look at them, just gobbling everything up. Is this the future you want? No, of course not. You know Canada isn't working at it's full potential. You trust the familiar bald man from the TV who reminds you of business and confidence. He's the right man for the job. He's going to win, probably.
5. Michael Chong became culturally relevant for the weirdest possible reason
On second thought, I really can't milk this joke anymore.
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