Kevin O'Leary

The good news for Maxime Bernier? Kevin O’Leary has dropped out of the race to lead the sad-sack Conservative Party of Canada.

The bad news for Maxime Bernier? Kevin O’Leary has endorsed the candidacy of Maxime Bernier.

“The candidate that best mirrors my policies is Maxime Bernier,” O’Leary explained.

Perhaps Kellie Leitch really can win the CPC leadership now, thanks to yesterday’s development. Pundits better informed about this matter than your blogger say that without the O’Leary in the race, the slaphead reality TV talking head’s substantial fan base in Western Canada may switch to Leitch as the second most offensive choice worthy of their support.

Given this, people in Central and Atlantic Canada must wonder what the heck kind of people make up the conservative base out here in the New West. Unfortunately for those of us who live out here, we already know!

Well, if the bit about Leitch is true, we will not have long to wait for the utter destruction of the once-successful party of Stephen Harper and Preston Manning. So who can deny the thought that every cloud, no matter how dark, really does have a silver lining? (Note to readers who thought I was about to say “the once-great party of John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker and the like.” That’s an entirely different Conservative Party, as per blog posts passim.)

The truly astonishing thing about Mr. O’Leary’s 11th hour departure from the Conservative Party of Canada’s interminable leadership race yesterday wasn’t his reasonably sensible assessment of his negligible chance of defeating Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in a general election or the reason he gave for it — il ne parle pas français — but his apparent thought that he would have continued running if he’d had a reasonable chance of becoming PM.

More often than not people run for high office because they truly think they bring something worthwhile to the table or because they recognize they can’t win but want the opportunity a leadership bid presents to put ideas they believe in passionately before their fellow citizens.

Leitch, the candidate who promotes “Canadian values” (viz., blaming immigrants for the country’s problems), and Bernier, an economic nut case (Ron Paul Department, Canadian Division), both presumably fall into the former category. Michael Chong, who apparently doesn’t mind tilting at windmills in hopes of bringing a degree of decency back to Canadian conservatism, the latter.

O’Leary by contrast apparently reckoned we owed him because, despite his spectacular unsuitability for the job in almost every way imaginable, he’s been a TV host, has a big mouth and many uninformed opinions, especially about politicians here in the West.

In other words, he had essentially the same qualities that propelled Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States — although he obviously came to the conclusion either that lightning was unlikely to strike twice or that such a phenomenon wouldn’t happen in a sensible democracy.

It would be unfortunate for O’Leary if that thought were to get around south of the Medicine Line, lest he be forced to give up his residency in Massachusetts on grounds of insufficient belief in The American Way!

As I observed in this space on April Fools Day — an appropriate date to be contemplating the sorry candidates to lead the CPC — the race was “dominated by racist buffoons, economic fruitcakes and the Boston Stranger. Any candidate with the mojo to actually win a Canadian election languishes at the bottom of the pack.”

With a day to go before party members start casting their ballots, nothing has changed, except that the Stranger has packed up and gone home to Boston.

Alberta teachers and their employers sign memorandum of agreement

Here’s a prediction I’m confident to make: No matter what the details are of the memorandum of agreement signed yesterday between Alberta’s unionized teachers and an employer negotiating committee made up of school board bargaining representatives and government officials, the opposition parties and media will try to portray it as the NDP giving in to its “friends” in the union movement.

I’m also prepared to bet that, such inevitable rhetoric notwithstanding, it won’t be that great a deal from the teachers’ perspective.

But we will all have to wait to see.

Details of the agreement between the Alberta Teachers Association and the Teachers Employer Bargaining Association will not be made public until after it is ratified by ATA members and local school boards.

If ratified, the deal will apply to all teachers in public, separate and francophone schools in Alberta. Local school boards will still have to negotiate local matters, but the hard questions will all have been dealt with.

ATA members will vote online, the government’s short news release said, while school jurisdiction representatives will vote on ratification on May 24.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga’s blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Flickr/Ontario Chamber of Commerce

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David J. Climenhaga

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe...