Rookie Derek Sloan Emerges Strong from CPC Debates

Written By Neil McKenzie-Sutter, Posted on June 19, 2020

It’s time for the Conservative party to adapt to the times, and when I say that, I don’t mean changing social or fiscal policy.

What we need to be asking ourselves as conservatives is not just ‘who best represents our values’—but who can best present those values on camera. This may sound like a shallow concern, but it is not. We need to heed the lessons of Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral campaign and Trudeau’s 2019 re-election victory over Andrew Scheer. 

In both of these elections, a critical factor within the winning party was their leader’s ability to perform or ‘act’ on TV. It’s no secret that one of the only things Trudeau can do correctly is flip his hair on television for his swooning electorate. It’s equally undeniable that decades of being a reality TV star gave Trump the edge over his opponents.

Taking this into consideration, it’s undeniable at this point that both Dr. Leslyn Lewis and Peter MacKay will fail in the general election, for both have next to no camera presence. 

Dr. Leslyn Lewis simply isn’t ready for prime time; her pacing is challenging to listen to (it’s that boring), and she looks at her notes far too much. 

Peter MacKay’s speaking style is equally dull. Perhaps he would’ve worked well twenty years ago, but his speaking style no longer comes off as genuine in 2020. 

This is a critical issue and, if ignored, will pose a grave risk to the CPC. Electing a candidate that is criminally boring to listen to will result in disaster. 

In this regard, given our television/social media-saturated world, there can only be two realistic competitors: Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan. 

Both of these candidates appear to be natural and skilled speakers on camera. 

Sloan gave a surprisingly good performance during the French debate despite only having studied French for a few months, and O’Toole’s French is more than adequate. However, he gave a disappointing performance during that debate, spending much of the time bickering with MacKay over LGBT minutiae.  

Although O’Toole gave a strong debate performance, I believe Sloan eked out a close win in the debates for several reasons. 

Sloan appeared polite, but also assertive and confident in his opinions. Particularly impressive was the defence of his position to improve relations with Donald Trump, and the U.S. Sloan justifiably pointed out how Trudeau and his administration has damaged our relationship with the Americans. 

This was refreshing to see because, at least as a conservative, I’m not only sick but bored of the constant Trump-bashing we see across Canadian mainstream media outlets. It was incredibly refreshing to hear someone with a realistic view of the President speak out.

Although a junior member of the House of Commons, Sloan also went on the attack against the more senior members about fairness and possible manipulation within the leadership race, specifically challenging MacKay on the issue of candidates Richard Décarie and Jim Karahalios having been thrown out of the race unjustly at an earlier stage, leading to suspicions of possible corruption within the CPC’s election process. 

Again, it was refreshing to hear a candidate bring forward these common-sense points, and, in this case, stick up for his party members.

Despite Sloan’s strong performance, it cannot be denied that Erin O’Toole had a great night as well. 

Something that stood out explicitly in his favour was the only decent answer on the issue of whether ‘systemic racism’ exists in Canada. This is an unpopular issue with conservatives, and O’Toole was the only one who didn’t seem to pander on the issue, while also not being disrespectful or dismissive. 

O’Toole also gave a strong voice to Canadian armed forces, achieving a standout moment when he challenged Trudeau’s military policy, hearkening back to Canadian participation at Vimy Ridge in the process. 

In the end, however, I must hand this one to Sloan. 

O’Toole gave a weak closing statement in comparison to the rest of his debate, while Sloan gave a persistently robust and confident performance throughout, finishing strongly.

Agree or disagree on the issues, Sloan won the debate handily, and if he’s elected CPC leader, he’ll surely give Trudeau a fight in the next election. 

Neil McKenzie-Sutter

6 responses to “Rookie Derek Sloan Emerges Strong from CPC Debates”

  1. Nicola Timmerman says:

    I agree. I wish Jim K. would have been seen in action as he has less of the social conservative religious bagagge. O’Toole seems upbeat and can be humourous. MacKay surprisingly seems old.

  2. Stephen Thompson says:

    Although I agree with some of your opinions regarding the debate, one of your comments was entirely wrong. Blaming Peter MacKay for Jim Karahalios being disqualified is incorrect. It was Erin O’Toole’s camp that got Jim Karahalios disqualified. O’Toole surrounds himself with some questionable people and Erin has failed to answer to questions which still remain. By disqualifying Jim Karahalios, the Conservative Party is acting more like the Liberal Party and this is a big mistake. There is no doubt that Derek Sloan is the only True Blue Conservative on that stage.

  3. Kg says:

    Sloan will have to make some large gains with conservative members. He’s a great candidate, but he’s running dead last right now in the polls. Waaaay back from MacKay who is still in the lead. Last time I checked MacKay was at 40% and Sloan was in last place with only 7.5%. I couldn’t be happier than if Sloan won the leadership election, and I will vote for him, but I’m not going to kid myself. He has an awfully tough road ahead in the next couple of months to make the gains needed to win. And unfortunately, there is still a lot of anti-Christian prejudice among Canadians. The liberal party is absolutely jam-packed full of that prejudice, and sadly there’s a lot of it in the Conservative party as well. But Derek Sloan is the best man for the job, I’ve no doubt. But without a sea-change in Canadian opinion and anti-Christian bias, he will need a miracle to get elected.

  4. Pamela says:

    If Derek Sloan wins this leadership convention the CPC are doomed to repeat the mistake of choosing Scheer. As much as you want to push the social conservative agenda, by voting in a Evangelical Christians as your leader you alienate the majority of your voter base. We are not the US. It is telling that Canadian Evangelicals follow and refer to Trump and identify with his right winged base.

  5. Dominic Sebastian Winsor says:

    MacKay is a typical politician. Out to fill his own pockets and take advantage of his position. Remember when he used a Search and Rescue helicopter based in Gander, NL, on two occasions for personal use to get to and from a friends cabin? That’s the kind of man he is. Corrupt to the core. And at this point in his career and life he is more Liberal than Conservative. But then again, the CPC and most of its MPs are more Liberal at this point in time.

  6. Vote Derek Sloan, He is the best choice, if we want to save Canada