Canada’s Conservative Party could split if it loses to Liberals again

The Conservative Party could be in danger of splitting up if it fails to win its fourth election in a row. “I’m a member of the Conservative Party, a strong [member of] the Conservative Party, and I want the Conservative Party to win the next election,” said Rick Peterson, former 2017 party leadership election candidate, who’s now the co-founder of Centre Ice Conservatives.

“And I want it to win on the basis of appealing to mainstream Canadians. If we don’t win, that means we’re not appealing to mainstream Canadians. And if we can’t appeal to mainstream Canadians, why did we put this party together?” he told The Hill Times.

A Conservative loss would mean that the party has lost four elections under four leaders— Stephen Harper in 2015, Andrew Scheer in 2017, Erin O’Toole in 2020.

“If the Conservatives lose the next election, that’s four in a row,” said Peterson. “That’s the end of the Conservative Party of Canada, as it was constituted with Peter MacKay and Stephen Harper in 2003. A failure to win in the next election will signal that the merged party is a failure today.”

One senior Conservative told The Hill Times on a not-for-attribution basis agreed with Peterson’s assessment, saying that the party would need a “rework” if it loses another election.

Another senior Conservative told The Hill Times that the Conservative party is “a very difficult coalition… Losing four elections in a row will break up any coalition. You can only lose so many elections, especially against what I perceive to be a very unpopular prime minister.”

Tasha Kheiriddin, the co-chair for the Jean Charest leadership campaign said that she believed a populist-style Conservative Party could lead to dark days, as she argued in her book The Right Path: How Conservatives Can Unite, Inspire and Take Canada Forward.

She said that the party needs to rebuild a big tent party  that is “inclusive, and forward-looking.”

“I think [populism] can take you to some very dark places, as history has shown us,” she told The Hill Times. “I would prefer to see the Conservatives chart a path of opportunity to go forward.”

She said that Frontrunner Pierre Poilievre’ decision to “hook his wagon to the Freedom Train,” was a mistake. She also said that despite the large number of memberships he brought in, that he will still alienate a high percentage of Canadians in an election.

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