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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Final push for votes this week in Conservative leadership race

Laura Stone

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, May 22, 2017 9:29PM EDT

Conservative leadership campaigns are making a final push for votes this week before party members gather in Toronto on Saturday to name their new leader.

Most camps believe a majority of their supporters have already mailed in their votes, although some complain that supporters never received the ballots or they were delayed. Campaigns are now concentrating their efforts on reaching out to members who live near one of 14 polling stations scattered across the country, including the Toronto Congress Centre, where members can vote on May 27.

“There is a lot of phone calling happening right now,” said Melanie Paradis, a spokeswoman for Erin O’Toole’s campaign.

Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann said 125,000 ballots had been received as of Friday – almost half of the 259,010 eligible to vote in the race – and 25,000 of them have been processed so far. Ballots must arrive by 5 p.m. on Friday at the offices of Deloitte Canada in Vaughan, north of Toronto.

Mr. Hann said the number of ballots exceeds both the 2004 leadership contest, in which Stephen Harper was elected with just fewer than 100,000 votes cast, and the 2000 Canadian Alliance leadership, in which 120,000 people voted.

“We’re already the largest leadership [contest] in Canadian history,” Mr. Hann said in an e-mail.

Mr. Hann said that 98.9 per cent of ballots were mailed to members successfully, and the remaining 1.1 per cent were returned as undeliverable or marked return to sender. He said anyone who has not received a ballot should reach out to the party or vote in person.

“Our goal throughout this process has been to ensure as many people can vote as possible,” he said.

In order to vote, members must include a signed declaration card and a copy of a valid identification as well as a sealed ballot, which will not be opened until voting day.

Maxime Bernier’s camp recently claimed that one in five ballots is being set aside for further scrutiny due to lack of sufficient identification. Mr. Hann said the party expected some of the votes wouldn’t follow the specific instructions, but as long as there is a declaration form and identification included with the sealed ballot, “we’re going to process the vote.”

John Reynolds, Mr. Bernier’s campaign co-chair, said the perceived front-runner’s volunteers went door-to-door with photocopy machines in order to help supporters, primarily elderly people, copy their identification.

“We got a lot of our votes out that way,” Mr. Reynolds said.

Mr. Reynolds, a former long-time provincial and federal politician, who also co-chaired Mr. Harper’s 2004 leadership bid, said he believes Mr. Bernier will have 30-per-cent support on the first ballot, at least 10 points ahead of other candidates.

“I feel very good – but you never know, it’s a secret ballot,” Mr. Reynolds said. “You’re always going to have those butterflies in your stomach.”

Pierre Lemieux’s campaign manager, Steve Outhouse, said the campaign set up ballot reception centres in private homes and community halls in order to courier ballots to Deloitte on Thursday morning. In Vancouver, one of leadership contender Andrew Scheer’s supporters set up a photocopy copier at his business and offered to courier the ballots on Tuesday.

“It’s not a sure thing for anybody,” said Hamish Marshall, Mr. Scheer’s campaign manager. “This is going to be a very, very tight race.”

Michael Diamond, a spokesman for Kellie Leitch, said the campaign encouraged supporters to vote early and this week Ms. Leitch will call them to make sure.

“We considered having a self-charging phone surgically implanted into her ear,” he said. “For those members who haven’t voted yet, they shouldn’t be surprised if they have her calling.”

Some candidates are on the road as they prepare for their final convention speeches Friday night. Michael Chong is expected to hold a fundraiser in Calgary this week before heading home to his Ontario riding.

Mr. O’Toole will spend part of the week in Ottawa doing French training. “He likes to work on his accent,” Ms. Paradis said.

All candidates will be given a final 10 minutes on stage on Friday and most will host hospitality suites afterward, some featuring live music.


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PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three ways the Conservative leadership vote could still get interesting

Kady O'Malley

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Candidate Maxime Bernier addresses a Conservative Party leadership debate Monday, February 13, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Kady O'Malley

Up until a month ago, it was still possible to make the case that — despite being relatively free of the high-wire political dramatics common to old-school delegated conventions of yesteryear — the race to replace Stephen Harper as Conservative leader was on track to end in a classic photo finish.

While pugnacious media personality turned politico Kevin O’Leary had been leading in the polls (of party members, that is) since he formally joined the race in January, former Harper cabinet minister and avowed libertarian Maxime Bernier was rarely more than a few points behind.

Given his relative lack of experience within the party, a first-round victory for O’Leary seemed all but impossible, and no one was entirely sure how the second-and-subsequent choices would break down.

Would the if-not-my-candidate-than-anyone-but-O’Leary crowd eventually rally around Bernier? Or could an even lower-ranked hopeful — Andrew Scheer, perhaps, or even Erin O’Toole or Kellie Leitch — sneak up the middle?

But then O’Leary dropped his bid, airily advising thousands of newly minted card-carrying members that his campaign would be asking supporters to back Bernier instead.

And as the the party began mailing out preferential ranked ballots to the 259,010 eligible voters listed on the official roll, Bernier moved into first place amongst first-choices, and seemed to make himself at home there while the second-tier candidates jockeyed for position as closest also-ran.

The results are expected to be unveiled on Saturday evening, over the course of a two-and-a-half-hour stage show, during which the fiction of suspense will be dutifully maintained via faux real-time “ballot-by-ballot” announcements, with 15 minute pauses between each round.

According to the party website, the chosen one will not only be revealed, but will have delivered his acceptance speech no later than 7:30, when the ‘New Leader Celebration’ is slated to get underway.

So, if triumph for the self-styled “Albertan from Quebec” is, as many suggest, a foregone conclusion, why are so many journalists, pundits and party faithful set to spend the better part of weekend wandering the corridors of the Toronto Congress Centre?

Because while it might be all over but the victory speechifying, there’s always the slightest chance that it isn’t.

Sceptical? That’s probably wise. Even so, here are three factors that could make the final count far more unpredictable than … predicted:

1) Voter turnout

As of the cut-off date, there were just over 250,000 names on the list of eligible voters, and by the end of last week, party officials estimated that roughly half of those ballots had been, or were being, processed. (They’ve even put up a livestream of the mailroom.)

But what about the other half?

The deadline for postal ballots is Friday evening, which likely means any sealed envelopes not already in the mail may not arrive in time to be counted, but will instead be shredded, unopened, along with all the other ballots, after the contest ends.

Conservatives who prefer to wait until the last possible moment to fill out their rankings may, however, have one final opportunity to do so at an authorized, in-person polling station run by a participating riding association — although, depending on where they’re located, that might not be possible, as there are only 13 listed on the party website.

There also will be voting stations available on-site at the convention centre, which will be open from 10 am to 4 pm.

What no one can say for sure, however, is how many of those outstanding ballots ultimately will be used.

During the party’s last leadership race, turnout was approximately 37 per cent, which means the current race has already surpassed that total with a week to spare. But it’s not clear how many voters are deliberately waiting until the last possible minute, which means the steady stream of ballots could slow to a trickle by voting day.

We’re not even sure how many party members are expected to converge on the convention centre, which may be a tough sell for members outside the Greater Toronto Area, as there’s not much else on the official programme beyond the final candidates’ speeches on Friday night and the aforementioned results reveal on Saturday.

There are, however, hospitality suites, which could prove to be sufficient incentive to fork over the $199 entry fee.

2) Ballot problems

Multiple campaigns, including Bernier’s team, have publicly stated that, according to dispatches from their scrutineers, a fair number of ballots — anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent — are being set aside as potentially spoiled due to issues with the accompanying paperwork, particularly with the requested proof of identification, which requires the voter to provide copies of documents that establish both name and address.

In some (possibly even most) cases, that concern may well turn out to be unfounded, as the required ID paperwork may have been inadvertently included in the sealed, inner envelope that contains the ballot itself, which would be deemed admissible.

But there also have been reports of submissions that only include a copy of a voter’s passport — which, as it doesn’t include the address, isn’t good enough on its own, which could disqualify the ballot. Depending on how widespread such administrative errors turn out to be — or whether they’re more likely to occur among supporters of a particular candidate — that could affect the race.

There also have been complaints of ballots not being received, or having inaccurate information.

Some campaigns also have been more aggressive than others in organizing in-person “ballot parties” for supporters, which could give them a small but potentially significant edge if the number of disqualified ballots starts to climb. (Presumably, their volunteers would have double-checked to prevent errors.)

3. Chaos theory

No matter how meticulous the forecasting methodology, with a 14-person ballot (despite having left the field, O’Leary’s name is still listed) and with every possible iteration of the count, the task of correctly predicting how a voter will behave becomes progressively more speculative.

That’s not a shot at the pollsters, by the way; given the challenge in polling a sample population that zealously guards its membership information, the results for first-choice support have been remarkably consistent throughout the cycle. We are, however, talking about the massive challenge of attempting to plot out human behaviour through a series of decisions, each of which is predicated, at least in part, on assumptions.

So while it feels pretty safe to say that Bernier will be in first place following the first round of votes, every subsequent vote count required to get to the magic 50 per cent plus one threshold increases the chance of a sudden shift — if only by a fraction.

Barring a return to old-school, on-the-floor conventions, we’ll likely never experience another race like the federal Liberals did in 2006 — where just two votes on the second ballot arguably cost Gerard Kennedy the leadership.

But even in a one-member-one-vote system, there’s always the chance of an unexpected twist that changes everything — and that, after all, is what makes politics so maddeningly fascinating.


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bernier has 85 per cent chance of winning Conservative leadership: final Mainstreet poll

Mainstreet expects 11 or 12 counts before Bernier finally edges out Scheer

BJ Siekierski

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Maxime Bernier has an 85 per cent chance of becoming the next Conservative leader this weekend in Toronto, according to the final iPolitics CPC Leadership Tracker, powered by Mainstreet Research.

But Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi said that when votes are tabulated Saturday, he expects 11 or 12 counts before Bernier finally edges out Andrew Scheer.

Based on 1,000 simulations of ballot movements as candidates drop off, Mainstreet gives Bernier an 85.34 per cent chance of winning, and Scheer 14.66 per cent.

O’Toole has a 95 per cent chance of finishing third — but the people filling the fourth through seventh positions are much less clear.

“In the simulations, 50 per cent of the time it goes 11 counts and 50 per cent of the time it goes 12 counts. The first six counts are practically irrelevant, because those first five, six counts don’t cause a lot of movement,” Maggi said.

Bernier’s extremely favourable odds are driven by a few things: strong first-ballot support, a lead in every demographic, and dominance in Quebec.

For its final poll, from May 20 to 23, Mainstreet reached 12,840 party members and found — with a margin of error of +/- 0.84%, 19 times out of 20 — that 31.30 per cent are ranking Bernier first on their ballot while 17.20 per cent are picking Scheer first, followed by O’Toole (12.90 per cent), Chong (9.50 per cent) and Leitch (6.80 per cent).

Among those who’ve already voted (as of a week ago, 48 per cent of eligible voters had already cast their ballots), those numbers don’t change much: Bernier has slightly higher first-choice support (33.78 per cent), Scheer is at 17.79 per cent and O’Toole is at 13.32 per cent.

“The Quebec thing is really the single biggest factor. He’s almost got 50 per cent of the points in Quebec,” Maggi said.

With all 338 ridings worth 100 points, regardless of how many members they have, that means Bernier could move a large part of the distance to the decisive 16,901-point mark through the support of his home province alone.

“His lead there is why I don’t believe anyone can catch him. Unless, that is, there’s a disproportionate amount of spoiled ballots from Quebec,” Maggi added.

If Bernier is to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, that appears to be the most plausible way it could happen.

Last Tuesday, the Bernier campaign sent an email to supporters warning that nearly one in five people had submitted their mailed ballots incorrectly by, for example, not including proper identification.

“Spoiled ballots could potentially play a huge, huge role. The scenario I keep using is: Let’s say, as we’re hearing anecdotally, that the spoiled ballots are coming from the South Asian, Tamil and Sikh communities primarily — we know that affects Bernier, and Scheer to maybe a lesser extent. But it’s 20 ridings — 10 in B.C. and 10 in the GTA,” Maggi said.

“That’s 2,000 points. Now, neither Bernier nor Scheer were ever going to get the full 2,000 points. But let’s say, Bernier was going to get 50 per cent, which is a big number — that’s 1,000 points at play. Cut that in half, and Bernier gets 500. Out of the 33,800 total points, that’s not a big impact. But if the concentration is across 40 ridings, that could be a big number.”

Figuring out how that might shake out, though, is guesswork.

“As a pollster, I can’t guess,” Maggi said. “We have to assume that the distribution of spoiled ballots is as even as the total ballot distribution. But my gut tells me it will affect one or more of the candidates more significantly than the others.”


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mind is boggling at the moment. I am wondering what is running through the mind of a Deepak Obhrai-supporter as he fills out his ballot.

Who would his second choice be? Let's say it's Rick Peterson. Hmmm ... who would his third choice be? Let's say our Obhrai-supporter overcomes his distaste for manicured men and opts for Chris Alexander. Hmmm ... fourth choice? OK, Michael Chong ... and the ... fifth choice is Kelly Leitch!. And then he pinches himself ... she's the one that against immigrants! So he goes for Raitt.

And he's only on his fifth choice!

Seriously, this ballot gets awfully abstract after that third choice ... decisions are made on an impulse.

The advantage? We won't have to go through all the suspense of sitting through the final three ballots as Andrew Coyne and Eric Grenier consider the possible outcomes, endlessly.

They'll be able to set the computers to work and have the fourth choices figured into the total in a nanosecond. Indeed, why even bother with that? Why not simply wait for the deadline, input the data, and announce the winner, They could move immediately to the smiling face of O"Leary hugging Bernier, and put the rest on a website somewhere. Why not?

My bet is that they won't do that. My bet is they'll run it like a three-hour episode of Survivor.

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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tory leadership contenders make pitches for votes

Stephanie Levitz, THE CANADIAN PRESS

First posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 08:29 PM EDT | Updated: Friday, May 26, 2017 10:40 PM EDT

Andrew Scheer
Conservative leadership candidate Andrew Scheer speaks to the crowd during the opening night of the federal Conservative leadership convention in Toronto on Friday, May 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — The last time Conservative party faithful gathered en masse in Toronto it was to hear from former leader and prime minister Stephen Harper.

On Friday, they met in the same location, this time to hear from the 13 people vying to replace him.

Though voting has been underway for weeks and most ballots had already been cast — the winner will be announced Saturday night — some candidates still used their speeches Friday to make last-minute plays for votes.

“The key question for this leadership campaign has been which of us can take the very best of those conservative policies that we all believe in and articulate them in a way that resonates with broader Canadians,” said Andrew Scheer, a Saskatchewan MP who is among the front-runners.

“I reject the idea that in order to beat the Liberals we need to be more like them.”

Another front runner, Maxime Bernier, said not much at all, letting a video of his supporters do most of the talking as they spoke about why they back his campaign and its central focus on removing government involvement in business.

Others fine-tuned their messages; Michael Chong dropped all references to his plan for a price on carbon from his final speech, focusing instead on his economic promises.

Lisa Raitt said what she wanted to ask for wasn’t votes, but party unity.

“When we focus on providing an effective alternative to the Liberals, we govern,” she said.

“When we focus on providing effective alternatives to each other, the Liberals get a free ride.”

Attacks on the Liberals were a clear theme to all the speeches, starting with none other than the event’s master of ceremonies, Caroline Mulroney.

The daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney was once rumoured to be seeking leadership herself.

“Who would want to run for the dad’s old job?” she quipped, a dig at Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose father Pierre was also prime minister.

Whomever does win the leadership is expected to sit down with caucus as soon as Monday morning to rally the troops and begin the long road to the 2019 election.

The Conservatives saw themselves reduced to 99 seats in 2015 and all but shut out of urban Canada.

Among their heaviest losses were in the Toronto-area, and it was there in the waning days of the last campaign the Tories held an event in the same Toronto Congress Centre they gathered in Friday.

The hosts? The Ford brothers — Rob, the controversial mayor of the city and his brother Doug, who used their considerable electoral clout to rally the party for the final Ontario campaign spot of 2015.

But that the notoriously tough-on-crime Harper would allow his campaign to be linked with the Fords, given Rob’s drug-using past, was seen by many at the time as an ill-conceived and last-ditch attempt to save Toronto seats.

Harper would go on to lose the election, and resign as leader, just days later. He was the party’s first chief, elected easily in the 2004 leadership race, but chose not to attend the weekend event, though his son Ben was present.

Many candidates have stood by Harper during this leadership race, taking issue not with him but with the party’s style in 2015.

Erin O’Toole said what Conservatives need now isn’t a fixer, but a champion.

“We need a strong and forward-thinking leader who respects our grassroots and builds a strong team that includes all voices in all parts of the country,” he said.

Still, the populist passion the Ford brothers brought to bear that night in 2015 hasn’t dissipated entirely.

Candidate Kellie Leitch was one of several contenders for leadership who campaigned using similar populist themes; indeed, for a time her campaign manager was the same person who helped Rob Ford secure his mayoral victory.

For Leitch, the fact she could garner so much support for her platform positions on screening newcomers for Canadian values and a stricter immigration policy is proof Canadians want to be having those conversations.

“Millions of Canadians say they are proud of their nation and they are proud of their values and they want them protected, she said in her speech.

“But time and time again the elites have rejected that message — they have said to speak of values is to be intolerant.”

Just over 259,000 people bought party memberships in order to be eligible to vote in the race. Polls will close at 4 p.m. E.T. on Saturday and the first results are expected shortly before six.


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PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was I right, or what?

[....]Dead ballots

The first announcement, promised around 5 p.m. ET, will rank and reveal the points for all 14 candidates (O'Leary dropped out too late to remove his name from the ballot.) The lowest-ranked candidate will drop off, and his or her votes will be reallocated to their second-choice candidates.

The winner will have been tabulated at this point, but the party isn't going to share it right away. Instead, to build drama and help members understand the result, it's going to be teased out gradually.[emphasis added]

A second announcement, expected after a short break, will reveal the next six candidates to drop off and reallocate those votes.

The third announcement, which will lower the field to four remaining candidates (assuming no one has reached 50 per cent) may be the one to watch, as candidates with more significant support bases bow out and those second choices take effect. At this point, it will be more clear whose support is growing and whose may be stalled.

After that, announcements will only drop candidates one by one.

Because no voter was obliged to mark more than one choice, and others may mark up to ten, it's difficult to predict how many ballots will still be alive in each round.

Thank Gawd they don't expect us to sit through ten bogus rounds of a game that has already been played!

Tbe other part that is missing -- is getting close to the 'brokering', the deal-making, that is part of politics, at this level. Remember when David Orchard finally chose Peter MacKay? And led him around the auditorium by the tie, swearing never to join the CA? That's where the real drama of these events takes place, where we finally see where the political actors stand.

But all that matters is that it's a fair race, that the system identifies who the real choice of the membership, and that the membership accepts the result in the end.

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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew Scheer wins Conservative leadership

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, May 27, 2017 7:39AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 27, 2017 10:49PM EDT

TORONTO -- Andrew Scheer, an apple-cheeked social conservative and former House of Commons Speaker seen by some as a pragmatic, mainstream echo of Stephen Harper, survived a 13-ballot battle Saturday with rival Maxime Bernier as he eked out the narrowest of wins in the fight for the helm of the federal Conservatives
• Scroll down or click here for a recap of the two-day convention

The nail-biting process of winnowing the 13-candidate field went the full distance before Scheer, 38, was declared the winner with just 50.95 per cent of the available points, barely besting longtime front-runner Maxime Bernier, who posted 49.05 per cent after leading all 12 of the previous ballots.

"Every single kind of Conservative is welcome in this party and this party belongs to all of you," the Ottawa-born Saskatchewan MP told the crowd during his victory speech.

"We all know what it looks like when Conservatives are divided; we will not let that happen again. We win when we are united."

The ranks of the party are as large as they've ever been, thanks in large measure to the high-profile, hard-fought leadership race, and the party's fundraising might appears to have renewed power, he added.

"I'm here to tell you there is renewed hope for Canada, starting today," Scheer said. "Trudeau's Liberals are so focused on photo-ops and selfies that they don't care if their policies hurt and not help the middle class. Sunny ways don't pay the bills."

Some see Scheer's focus on consensus-building as an important brick in the road back to government, much as Harper kept the various factions of the party in check in order to stay in power for more than 10 years. Others, though, accuse him of repressing his opposition to social lighting rods like abortion and same-sex marriage.

Last year, he supported party members who voted to remove a clause opposing same-sex marriage from the Conservative handbook, because he believes Canadians have moved on from the issue. Fellow Saskatchewan MP Brad Trost later embarked on his own leadership campaign as a result, finishing a respectable fourth.

"The leader's job is to pick the common ground between all of those types of conservatives," Scheer told a news conference after his win.

"There's some aspects of issues that will divide our caucus and will divide our movement, and that doesn't enjoy widespread support in the general public. But there are other areas -- protecting freedom of speech, like cutting taxes for families, like protecting conscience rights for medical practitioners -- those are all things that the entire conservative movement can get behind."

Moments after the win, Scheer acknowledged the field and in particular thanked Bernier -- who appeared to be fighting back tears of disappointment -- and his other leadership rivals for their efforts and hard work.

Bernier is a longtime Quebec member of Parliament, but support in his home province appeared to collapse given his profuse opposition to the supply management system that regulates some of the province's most lucrative agricultural industries. Indeed, Scheer's campaign went to lengths to portray him as an alternative.

After the first ballot, Bernier had captured just 48 per cent of support from his own riding of Beauce, with rival Scheer nabbing a surprisingly high 47 per cent.

Bernier said he remained committed to his own principles -- and to the party. He said he sees a place for himself in a party led by Scheer, even though the ultimate victor's stay-the-course approach differed so wildly from his own big policy ambitions.

"I like competition, it was a great competition," said Bernier, visibly crushed. "I'm ready to work with Andrew; he did a great campaign, and that's democracy, you know."

Scheer's speech drew the biggest cheers when he said he considers "the ability to have a debate about any subject" the cornerstone of a democracy, promising to "withhold federal grants from universities that shut down debate and can't stand different points of view."

He also used the politically loaded phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" when he promised to "recommit our air force to the fight against (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)."

Saturday's narrow margin of victory suggests a unity issue that's likely to be a challenge for the party going forward -- especially since Scheer takes his place as leader in the Commons on Monday.

Deepak Obhrai, Andrew Saxton, Rick Peterson, Kevin O'Leary, Chris Alexander, Steven Blaney and Lisa Raitt were some of the earliest casualties as early-ballot results were announced, while Kellie Leitch, Pierre Lemieux and Michael Chong fell off in subsequent rounds.

Gone in the 9th ballot was controversial MP Kellie Leitch, the former cabinet minister and orthopedic surgeon whose key campaign pledge to screen newcomers for Canadian values saw her dominate early media coverage of the race, only to fade from prominence as the vote grew nearer.

Pierre Lemieux, a former MP from Ontario who ran championing socially conservative policies, dropped off in the 8th ballot, while Brad Trost hung in longer than many expected, dropping off on the 11th ballot.

O'Leary dropped out of the race abruptly last month but was too late to have his name removed from the ballot.

The lengthy ranked-ballot system and the size of the field meant several rounds of balloting were necessary to crown a winner. Officials say 132,000 ballots -- the party has some 259,000 eligible members -- had been received by the Friday deadline for mail-in ballots.

Mesh bags released Conservative party balloons over the crowd at the Toronto Congress Centre as Scheer invited his fellow candidates and caucus members to join him onstage, to the strains of a guitar-heavy version of "We Are the Champions."

Ahead of Saturday's duel, outgoing interim leader Rona Ambrose took to the stage for one final farewell -- and to send some words of advice to her successor.

Bedrock conservative values are more important than any policy proposals shared during the campaign, Ambrose said.

"When we rally around those values and speak with one voice there is no limit to what we can achieve together," she said.

The winner should also take heed of the advice Harper gave caucus when she replaced him, she added.

"The measure of a good leader is also how they treat their opponents in defeat," she quoted her predecessor as saying. "Never forget that."


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew Scheer's unlikely path to victory: Social conservatives and Quebec

Maxime Bernier underperforms expectations in Quebec, his home province

By Éric Grenier, CBC News Posted: May 28, 2017 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: May 28, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Andrew Scheer, right, is congratulated by Maxime Bernier after winning the Conservative leadership race. The results, based on the points system that had been a condition of the Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative merger, suggest there were no regional cleavages in the tight vote, notes CBC's Eric Grenier.

Andrew Scheer had only one path that would take him to the leadership of the Conservative Party. On Saturday night, the Saskatchewan MP took it — beating front-runner Maxime Bernier by the narrowest of margins on the 13th and final ballot.

Scheer can chalk up his unexpected win to two factors: a strong showing by social conservatives and a poor one from Bernier in his home province of Quebec.

Andrew Scheer’s victory speech to Conservatives17:10

Scheer trailed the MP in Beauce riding throughout the count, surpassing him only on the final ballot to win with 50.95 per cent of the 33,800 points available, points spread evenly over Canada's 338 ridings. Bernier took the remaining 49.05 per cent.

The points system had been a condition of the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives in 2003, in order to prevent the weaker PCs from being swamped by the Canadian Alliance and its huge list of members in Western Canada.

Andrew Scheer wins Conservative leadership race1:25

But the results suggest that there were no regional cleavages in this tight vote.

Scheer won the most points in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, while Bernier won in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec — resulting in the unlikely situation of both Alberta and Quebec getting the Conservative leader they did not support.

Bernier underperforms in Quebec

A dominant performance in Quebec would have been key to a Bernier victory. Scheer had the greater potential for growth from ballot to ballot in the rest of the country, and Bernier needed a big number in his home province to hold off the challenge.

Instead, the candidate who raised funds from roughly half of all donors in Quebec and who led by a wide margin in the polls in the province took just 39.4 per cent of the points — less than 12 percentage points ahead of Scheer. By the final ballot, Bernier had 55.6 per cent of the 7,800 points in Quebec.

The metrics suggested he had the potential for much more than that. Instead, Bernier lost his own riding of Beauce by a margin of 51 to 49 per cent, as Scheer overshot expectations in Quebec by a significant margin.

Bernier opposes supply management, which put him at odds with farmers in his home province of Quebec. Scheer matched Bernier for votes in Bernier's own riding of Beauce.

Trost, Lemieux voters tip the balance

The signs that the result was going to be razor thin emerged on the first ballot. Bernier's target for having a reasonable expectation of victory was at least 30 per cent. He instead finished with 28.9 per cent, suggesting that the final result would come down to the wire.

Scheer's 21.8 per cent share of the points beat expectations — particularly at the expense of Erin O'Toole, who at 10.7 per cent of the points on the first ballot was below his target. But Scheer's high number alone might not have been enough. Instead, it was the strong results for fellow social conservatives Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux that helped deliver victory.

In fourth place, Trost finished unexpectedly high on the first ballot with 8.4 per cent of the points. Combined with Lemieux, the two social conservatives had 15.7 per cent of the points.

Conservative Leadership 20170526
Brad Trost, who ran for the leadership as an avowed social conservative, finished a surprising fourth in the balloting at the convention in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The social conservative vote, however, did not grow much from there. On the last ballot when both Lemieux and Trost were present, their share of the points had increased marginally to just 16.2 per cent. But they went over to Scheer in such large numbers that they played an important role in his victory.

Bernier maintained a lead of about seven to eight points as candidates were eliminated — until Lemieux dropped off the ballot. The gap between Bernier and Scheer closed significantly as Scheer took about 28 per cent of Lemieux's points to just six per cent for Bernier (Trost took the lion's share).

Peter Mansbridge speaks with Andrew Scheer7:44

The margin between the two candidates dropped again when Trost was subsequently eliminated and Scheer gained 57 per cent of Trost's points to just 27 per cent for Bernier.

O'Toole delivers final blow

Buoyed by these social conservative voters, Scheer closed the gap to just two points of Bernier on the penultimate ballot. The final decision would come to O'Toole's supporters and those he had gained through the preferential ballot — including a large proportion of Lisa Raitt's and Michael Chong's voters.

Scheer won 59 per cent of O'Toole's points, giving him just enough to inch ahead of Bernier.

That Scheer prevailed among voters who had backed O'Toole, Chong and Raitt, along with the supporters of Lemieux and Trost, suggests that Scheer was able to bridge the divide between the two traditional wings of the party.

But it was a near-run thing. With just a slightly better performance in Quebec, Bernier would be the new leader of the Conservative Party today. Taking just a few more of O'Toole's voters would have also flipped the result, or not splitting the supporters of Kellie Leitch with Scheer.

In the end, the ballot-to-ballot results eked out the slimmest of victories for Scheer — the only kind he had a hope of winning.


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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, what do people think?

I am happy. I think the campaign was overly-long, and the ranked ballot kept everyone in -- except O'Leary -- and that deadened most of the campaign. But once O'Leary had taken himself out of the race, it got more interesting. The spotlight was cast on Bernier, for example, and for one glimmering moment, the voters were over actual live policy options.

The winner wasn't my guy, but everyone seems to accept his leadership. He must have something going for him, after all.

Let's see how he performs. To my way of thinking, the flaw in Harper's government was his inability to deal with the Duffy pseudo-trial, and the media in more general terms as well. He knew the Parliamentary Press Corps weren't going to give him any fairer shake than they gave Stockwell Day, but in the end, the media triumphed. He lost because he was perceived as cold and distant, not because of his policy mix.

But if Sheer thinks all he has to do is be warm and friendly, he probably will face a steep learning curve ahead of him.

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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tories can rally behind Scheer

Postmedia Network

First posted: Sunday, May 28, 2017 05:33 PM EDT | Updated: Sunday, May 28, 2017 05:38 PM EDT

Andrew Scheer
Andrew Scheer, newly elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, addresses the party's convention in Toronto, Ontario, May 27, 2017. (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada’s Conservatives will have little problem rallying behind their new leader Andrew Scheer.

This puts them in a good position to get back to work from day one, function as the official Opposition and gear up for the 2019 election.

Scheer deliberately chose not to run a divisive leadership campaign. The Regina MP with the big grin and trademark dimples never lashed out at other candidates and avoided gratuitously provoking other camps.

None of his ideas are particularly out of step with rank-and-file Conservatives.

In contrast, many members had issues with Kellie Leitch’s immigration policies. Many more balked at Michael Chong's carbon pricing approach and Maxime Bernier’s stance against Canada’s supply management system for milk, eggs and poultry likely cost him the leadership.

If any of these candidates had won, major efforts would have been needed to unify the party and reconcile differences.

Scheer however is likable and respected by caucus. But that's not to say he's bland.

His platform made it clear he's an unapologetic defender of small government.

We like his promises to balance the budget, axe the carbon tax, take terrorism seriously and remove federal funding for universities that don't embrace free speech.

And he believes Conservatives must collectively embrace the broadly held conservative views of Canadian voters on issues such as taxes, young offenders and border security – if the party wants to provide a winning alternative to Justin Trudeau’s debt-addicted Liberals.

“Fundamentally, I believe that the Conservative Party needs a leader who can keep the coalition together and that can communicate our policies in a more positive way that will reach a broader audience of Canadians,” Scheer said during an editorial board with the Toronto Sun.

Winning against Trudeau in 2019 isn’t a long shot.

While the Conservatives lost the last election, they weren't obliterated. They won 99 seats - a third of which were new MPs. Their fundraising remains strong. This leadership race generated a lot of attention. And Trudeau’s tax and spend government is increasingly losing its lustre for many Canadians.

Andrew Scheer now needs to prove he can be an effective party leader and opposition leader.

As it stands though, the party is in a good place.


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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scheer was the only candidate I donated to very early in the process;
He was a strong starter but really lost me as the campaign dragged on.

With that said;
Stephen Harper really underwhelmed me the first few months after winning the leadership and ultimately he turned a corner and won me over.

I am not over the moon, but I am content.

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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

observing from across the atlantic ...

1. the process had seemed overly long but now seems to have been worth it ...

2. the ranked ballot and proportionate points do not seem to have been too complicated after all ...

3. rona ambrose did a super job for party unity and morale and stature and prospects ... she deserves a rest for a while ...

4. andrew scheer was not very well known in 2015 but sure seems to have what it takes to get the show up and running ... overall a very good choice ... especially given that all factions would have had to compromise somewhat ...

5 the new leader has a fresh inviting image which does help a lot ... even though the man is doubtless not lacking in substance, policy, strategy and form ...

thankfully a very healthy prognosis for the party ...,

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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Scheer was the only candidate I donated to very early in the process;
He was a strong starter but really lost me as the campaign dragged on.

With that said;
Stephen Harper really underwhelmed me the first few months after winning the leadership and ultimately he turned a corner and won me over.

I am not over the moon, but I am content.

Scheer wasn't my first choice but I think he will do an ok job as long as he puts the social conservatives to rest and follows the example Rona Ambrose did as leader .

although Brad Trosts votes were needed to win , in terms of a general election there pretty much toxic and represent a relatively small but vocal % of the population . I was shocked to hear trost came in 4th after the 1st ballot , his supporters must of been much more determined than first though

Scheer must not forget that although bernier didn't win , around 50% of the cpc membership was ready for more libertarian based policy by voting for bernier . the party members are looking for policy that promotes more personal freedom and not looking for policy from the past old days of reform and early conservative party .

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCO wrote:

Scheer must not forget that although bernier didn't win , around 50% of the cpc membership was ready for more libertarian based policy by voting for bernier . the party members are looking for policy that promotes more personal freedom and not looking for policy from the past old days of reform and early conservative party .


This is where Scheer gets to show that he isn't Dion.
It was a close vote and a lot of the party after 14 rounds were split with direction.

Embracing Bernier in a MacKay style role wouldn't be a bad idea.

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some Conservative MPs call for review of leadership voting process
By Joan Bryden , The Canadian Press — May 30 2017

OTTAWA — Some Conservatives are calling for a review of the party's leadership selection process after Andrew Scheer wound up winning with the support of less than 50 per cent of voting party members.

The Tories used a preferential system to choose a new leader from among the 14 contenders on the ballot. Voters could rank their choices from first to tenth, although they were not required to rank more than one or two if they so desired.

On each ballot, as the least popular candidate was eliminated, his or her supporters' second and subsequent choices were counted; that process of redistributing votes continued until Scheer edged past Maxime Bernier on the 13th and final ballot.

According to figures released by the party, just over 141,000 Conservatives cast ballots during the leadership vote.

But by the 13th round, just over 118,000 ballots were still in play, with Scheer taking 62,593 of those votes to Bernier's 55,544.

That means 23,000 voters hadn't ranked either Scheer or Bernier among their top ten choices and their ballots were thus discarded by the time the field was winnowed down to the two finalists.

Hence, Scheer won with 44 per cent of the 141,000 party members who took part in the leadership vote.

Calgary Conservative MP Ron Liepert said the problem wasn't with the ranked ballot system so much as it was with the unwieldy number of candidates.

"It was just too many candidates and people couldn't really familiarize themselves (with them all) and so they just sort of said, 'Well, I don't want to vote for somebody as a second, third or fourth choice that I really don't know,'" Liepert said Tuesday. [....]
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