David Orchard, Paul Marting and Joe Clark


Trouble In ToryLand

FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, August 4, 2002


The big story of this year is not the ousting of Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day and the election of the Calgarian who spent the summer in Mexico, Stephen Harper. This year's major political news story is the determination by Paul Martin and his supporters to overthrow the prime minister. Martin lost the leadership race to Jean Chretien and he and is fanatical supporters have just not clued into that level of reality.




When the situation was no longer something that could be tolerated the Prime Minister dumped the leader of the coup from Cabinet and since then it has been almost continuous conflict. The Prime Minister confident that the polls are showing him in front and his office making sure that he makes the right noises about the right issues. Martin has considerable following with the press who like this sort of thing has been making speeches anywhere someone will get a crowd together.



it all

Now all of this seems fine for summer political discussion but it is a deadly serious problem for the Progressive Conservative party. Joe Clark has been in politics since 1960 or 61 and he has seen everything, at least once. He was there when John Diefenbaker was destroyed by Dalton Camp and his American money. He was at the centre of things when he won the leadership then had Quebec Lawyer, Brian Mulroney with his American money knock him out of his job. He has been through the struggle to put conservatives back in the House of Commons after the outrages of Mulroney which almost destroyed the party. Joe was there to see former conservatives take on the political extreme right of the Republic Party of Canada (Canadian Alliance) and has even worked toward attempting to get some cooperation going with them.




What Joe Clark has discovered and this does not take a rocket scientist to figure out, Canadians lack enthusiasm for Brian Mulroney, and the policies put forth by the Canadian Alliance. In general the majority of Canadians are moderates and the extremes of the Alliance will get no one elected other than in Alberta and a few other rural fringe areas. In the mean time the NDP is looking for a new leader.




The New Democratic Party has become somewhat confused. Lead by Alexia McDonaugh who is a remarkable and politically tuned in person to the Maritimes the party has gone to two elections with single issues and despite having province governments in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba the party has been impotent. Convinced that it needs to move more toward the centre it has left behind its core long time advocates who are for the most part abandoned. Now the leaders vying for the leadership are an interesting collection and definitely worthy further discussion but at another time. For now we have to realise the whole political left is underrepresented by any of Canada's political parties.




Now Canadians for a lesson in history. One of the Nations more dramatic political landslides was accomplished by John Diefenbaker masquerading as a Progressive Conservative. But in reality it was the Diefenbaker party. His success was directly related to his personal popularity. People believed him and in him. John received the support of CCF supporters, fanatic right wing folks and everything in between. John advocated Canadian Nationalism, protectionism, independence from the United States and human rights and liberties. For those policies he was vilified by Ontario Tories who would rather have Liberals in power than a Prime Minister from Saskatchewan who was unwilling to perform as a training snow bunny for Washington.




Joe Clark has been making the sounds that indicate he and his staff have been reading carefully the polls and a winning political strategy is accept Diefenbaker like issues that are popular with the Canadian public. Died in the wool conservatives like John Crosby and Scott Briston both never paid much attention to what the people of Canada want and need only what their "faith" in arch conservative dogma dictates.




When Joe Clark was elected leader of the Progressive Conservatives this time around they were a pathetic beyond hope outfit. Old Joe has set them on a direction of positive growth and it is possible that Stephen Harper who is a pretty lazy politician and his unpopular fellow members, who have a propensity for coming out against any and all popular causes, (a B.C. Canadian Alliance Member of Parliament got himself arrested for siding with B.C. fisherman against First Nations people this weekend) could see Joe Clark Conservatives taking their seats in the next national election.



Joe's It

But here is where the plot truly thickens. The guy who lost to Joe Clark is the brilliant and popular Prince Albert farm/lawyer David Orchard. (keep in mind sports fans that Prince Albert is the home of John Diefenbaker) Orchard's people sent out a very wide e-mail campaign explaining the internal intrigues within the party. Orchard is loyal to Joe Clark because Clark is headed directly toward success, both for the party, but also toward those issues that the majority of Canadians identify with. The panic in the party revolves around the simple fact that Clark is really all they have, no one else in the party considers it time, or appropriate to seek a party's leadership in the fragile condition in which it now exists.




The cornerstone of Canadian politics this summer is Paul Martin. As finance minister and party bully he has turned the Liberal party well away from the pragmatic success oriented bunch they always have been. Martin is essential an economic conservative, pro-American, pro-free trade, pro-globalisation, even pro-Dollarisation. The lack of success by Reform and now the Canadian Alliance is a direct result of Paul Martin's financial policies that are even more of everything than the Canadian Alliance advocates.




So, what is going to happen? For once things are teetering a bit but the odds are (betting odds not political) Chretien will have a fight on his hands this fall but ultimately by late October world and financial issues will flatten Martin's hopes. Clark will win the day but its going to be close in the upcoming test to determine if the party should have a leadership contest. The NDP is hard to figure, but bet on Nystrom with a 65% chance right now. As for Harper and his Mexican tan they will be able to count themselves as astonishingly lucky to get any seats other than in Alberta in the next election as they are now and will become even more so, less significant than the Bloc in terms of Canada as a whole.

Timothy W. Shire

  Three articles sent out by e-mail by Orchard's office about what is going on.