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The next leader of the Conservative Party?

Perhaps it’s this guy:

Rick Hillier, Canada’s outspoken former chief of defence staff, will headline a conference next week in Ottawa where grassroots activists as well as Conservative members of Parliament will gather to discuss the state of conservatism in this country.

Conservatives have made it a habit since they’ve been in power of claiming they’re the only party in this country that “supports the troops”, so it wouldn’t be a big stretch to see Hillier be chosen Conservative leader after Harper’s departure to try and accentuate that claim.

By the way, the “state of conservatism in this country” is the topic at the Manning Centre thing, eh? It would be interesting to hear what everyone at the Conference thinks of the stimulus package the Harperites have come up with. The article says that Hillier will speak about the “need to have properly trained and prepared political practitioners to better run our government, just as we need to have well-trained soldiers on the battlefield.”” That wouldn’t be some hints at some Conservative discontent that Harper and Flaherty are spending a big amount of money in this stimulus package, would it? Never mind that a lot of us on the progressive side think some of the funds aren’t being spent in the areas they should be – the whole Keynesian theory and spending thing is probably anathema to a lot of the Conservatives attending this Conference. It would also be interesting to hear if Mr. Hillier has any thoughts on Harper’s admission on American TV that Afghanistan is not a winnable war.

I also note this conference thing (or at least, Hillier’s speech part of the Conference) is going to cost 195$ a plate. That doesn’t exactly sound like a “grass-rootish” type fee to me to have the privilege of attending; sounds more like its more geared for the Conservative elite and well-connected.


8 comments to The next leader of the Conservative Party?

  • MoS:
    I think you give Hillier far too much credit for the mess we’re in in Afghanistan. No question he was a cheerleader for Canada’s involvement, but ultimately it’s not the CDS who decides, it’s the politicians. Would we even be there if he wasn’t a strong supporter from the get-go? Who knows – rewriting history is notoriously difficult.
    But once engaged he fought harder than any CDS I can recall to get the support the troops needed in terms of equipment, training, etc. And that is what’s earned him the respect of the men and women of my aquaintance at least who are presently serving, or who have served, in Canada’s forces.
    Disagree with the mission if you will (which I do) but I fear we would have seen a lot worse outcome for our troops on the ground if it wasn’t for him.

  • MoS

    Oh, and David B., just what did Hillier do that “was right by the troops?” Shove them into a mission that was hopelessly understrength, unsupported and unfocused; misjudge the nature and tenacity of the enemy he sent our troops to defeat; place unquestioning reliance on the lead partner, the Americans? Does a great military leader take his troops into a daunting conflict for which they were neither trained nor equipped that no one, particularly the Americans, was willing to fight to win? I don’t question his honesty, just his performance. Once again, generals associated with unpopular, losing wars don’t fare well in politics.

  • MoS

    Sorry Roll Tide but Manning was defanged by Harper. Just about everything that Manning envisioned for the Reform Party has been jettisoned by his protege. He must be profoundly disappointed. Participatory democracy – gone. Free votes – gone. Accountability and transparency – ditto.

    I still believe that Preston was the one guy who could’ve led a successful revolution of the right. He had his chance but I suspect he was undercut from within. Now as he looks upon Harper, he must see a lot more of Brian Mulroney than he does himself. It’s still Preston’s pub only he wasn’t there at the moment of conception.

  • Roll Tide

    Its good that Scott is paying so much attention to the conference. The Left need a similar non-partisan networking conference that brings individuals and groups together. One thing about Manning, he is an organized ideas man, that likes new thinking. No retiring on the ranch here. It is obvious that he has the lefts attention, as evident in this blog. Well done Preston, you have them a little envious.

  • Personally I like Hillier. I didn’t always agree with him, but as CDS he did what was right by the troops, and that gets him kudos in my book. I expect there are more than a few Cons out there who would see him as the party’s saviour, bringing them that elusive majority. But it isn’t going to happen. The things that made Hillier good at leading the troops are the very things that would kill him as a Conservative politician – honesty and integrity being at the top of the list.

  • “the whole Keynesian theory and spending thing is probably anathema to a lot of the Conservatives attending this Conference”

    No they are fine with it so long as the spending goes to their cronies and pet projects – they won’t give money to folks on welfare or give back EI money to workers who paid into it, but they have no problem giving billions to the banks and subsidies to oil and gas.

    I find Keynesian economics anathema, but I am a true free market libertarian. They are merely crony-capitalist, corporate-syndicalists – fascists by any other name – who are trying to use the rhetoric of free markets to justify their manifestly unjust authoritarian interference in the market to benefit their friends. Liars, in other words, desperate to cling to power by any means necessary so the can pillage and plunder the public purse.

    Not that I’ve given this any thought.


  • TofKW

    Only one problem with your theory of Hillier becoming the next leader of the CPC, he’s unilingually English. Now if someone links to a newsflash that’s he’s been taking Franch lessons then I’d say there is something to this.

  • MoS

    Generals who are tied to losing wars don’t have happy political careers afterwards. There’s a reason Hillier’s been laying low since he retired. Oh there are people just waiting to put a few direct questions to General Rambo.

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