Harper wins Tory leadership

03.20.04

Stephen Harper has won the Conservative Party leadership on the first ballot, with 56% of the vote compared to 35% for Belinda Stronach and 9% for Tony Clement.

Harper spent a lot of time in his victory speech talking about how the Conservatives were going to overthrow the Liberals and form the next government. But he couldn’t beat the Chretien Liberals as leader of the Alliance, and he won’t beat the Martin Liberals this time.

What he will do is regain his job as leader of the official opposition… only this time, the Liberals might only have a minority government. Which will give Harper’s Conservatives a lot more power. However, I don’t believe that Harper will ever be Canada’s Prime Minister. The conservative fiscal policies may appeal to many, but Harper is still perceived as too Western, too socially right-wing, too alienated from the sensibilities of mainstream Canada.

I think Harper himself said it best, when he said that “it might be a few years too late, but welcome to the 21st century”. The Conservative Party is continually being several years behind the times. Until that changes, neither will the government.

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