Schmale Looking Forward To Fall Election

By Kirk Winter

I sat down with Jamie Schmale, the Conservative federal member for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock to gain insights into this October’s federal election.

Schmale said that the Conservatives are as ready as they can be to fight the Trudeau Liberals in every riding coast to coast.

The party is completely debt free, which is no small feat considering the debt left behind by former leader Stephen Harper. Schmale said the money is already banked for the upcoming election, and some of the nitty-gritty like jet bookings and media buys are well on their way to being completed. The Conservatives have already started to run campaign ads on some television specialty channels in anticipation of the fall vote.

Schmale was very forthright in saying the Conservatives have a significant battle ahead to defeat Prime Minister Trudeau, and his governing Liberals. Schmale says that Trudeau still remains “very popular”, and despite “strategic mistakes made” and a propensity in Parliament “for blaming others rather than offering solutions” Trudeau and his “sunny ways” still attract a considerable audience.

The most recent public opinion poll has the Liberals with 37.3 percent of voter support, the Conservatives 33.1 percent, the NDP 15.5 percent, Green 7 percent, the Bloc Quebecois 3.9 percent and the Peoples' Party 1.4 percent.

Based on computerized projections, Liberal support would translate into 182 seats, and a second Liberal majority, albeit a reduced one. The Conservatives would improve to 127 seats, and would remain the Official Opposition.

Schmale admitted that Maxime Bernier’s Peoples' Party in Quebec could bleed off Conservative votes in that all important province. Schmale called the situation with Bernier “unfortunate”, and said that Bernier unfortunately “did not accept the results” of the leadership convention held 17 months ago. Apparently Bernier “didn’t make an effort to stay involved in the party” and “it was his decision to leave the party.” Schmale hopes the Conservatives will be able to convince Quebecers that Trudeau is their main target, and that a vote for the Peoples' Party is really a vote for the Liberals.

Schmale agreed that Conservatives are also concerned with the cratering support for the NDP under Jagmeet Singh. The party appears to be in chaos, and if Singh fails to win a tough by-election in Burnaby, British Columbia, there will be an immediate leadership review, and the possibility of a new leader taking the party forward into a fall vote. Most political pundits agreed that disaffected democratic socialists will likely split their votes between the Liberals and the Greens, with very few migrating to the Conservatives.

Schmale suggested over the next 10 months it is very important for Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer to make his case for why he should be Prime Minister, and hopefully raise his name recognition from its current all-time low for a leader of the Conservative Party. In a recent poll, 53 percent of Canadians had no opinion about Scheer because they knew so little about what he stands for and believes in.

Schmale believes the majority of Canadians aren’t even thinking about this election yet, and Scheer has lots of time to improve his public persona. He also said that the platform would be one that Conservatives would recognize and be comfortable with focusing on the following issues:

  1. Lower taxes

  2. The end of reckless spending with few results for ordinary Canadians

  3. More free market options for Canadians to invest and spend their money

  4. A better solution to climate change than the Liberal carbon tax that the Conservatives say “does not lower emissions” and “punishes people for trying to live their daily lives with higher taxes everywhere they go.”

  5. A fair, compassionate and orderly immigration policy that favours legal over illegal immigrants

On the issue of cannabis legalization, Schmale says the Conservatives will not roll back the Liberal decision, but will watch what is happening carefully, and with the help of local law enforcement will ensure that the letter of the law is being followed. Schmale would personally have preferred a de-criminalization of cannabis rather that legalization, but realizes that “the horse is out of the barn” and now it is up to future governments to fine tune the legislation if necessary.

Many are predicting that the election in October of 2019 could be “nasty and vindictive.” Schmale hopes that that will not be the case, but suggested that the political landscape worldwide has changed so much from 2014 that no one is quite sure what tenure the fall campaign will take on. Schmale promises that the Conservatives will frame their anti-Trudeau arguments with verve and policy alternatives.

Schmale has promised to meet with us on a regular basis between now and October, and please watch this space for more insights on what could prove to be a very interesting election.

PoliticsDeb Crossen