The Next Conservative Leader Needs To Serve The Base, Not The Media

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on March 16, 2022

We are back into conservative leadership season in Canada with a federal Conservative Party leadership race taking place which will be electing a new party leader for the party on September 10, 2022. 

One issue that always plagues Conservative Party leadership races in the past has been the candidates’ lack of courage to take hard stances on issues. Every candidate with a significant chance of winning is always hedging on their positions or promising the liberal legacy media that they will not take stands on ‘controversial’ issues. 

This is not a problem in the Liberal Party or the NDP where leadership candidates, although they may not always satisfy every member of their party base, mostly stick to the hard-left policies they promise to run on, and never faced a collapse in their polling numbers.

The Liberals likely benefited in 2015 from Justin Trudeau’s rather foolish-sounding promise to run “three modest deficits” and promising that the “budget will balance itself.” Trudeau’s policies rightfully scared anyone with a cursory knowledge of economics, but the boldness of his plan nonetheless won him a majority government.

Conservatives learned all the wrong lessons in 2015 from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tired and formulaic campaign and decided that being more like Trudeau’s Liberals and only promising mild conservative alternations to the Liberals’ platform was a winning strategy.

Andrew Scheer in 2019 and Erin O’Toole in 2021 proved that that approach does not work. 

Finally, in 2022 there seem to be a couple of Conservative Party leadership candidates who understand how to win a federal election. That being Haldimand—Norfolk MP Dr. Leslyn Lewis, and Carlton MP Pierre Poilievre, but both still need to prove that in the long run they won’t buckle to the pressures of the legacy media and will instead actually serve their base first and foremost.

Dr. Lewis is a dedicated social conservative and when she ran in the 2020 Conservative leadership race she nearly won, without compromising on seeking to ban sex-selective abortion, and repealing Liberal legislation that suppresses the free speech of religious Canadians and enables the gender confusion of children.

Poilievre, despite not running in the 2020 leadership election, has been an aggressive critic of Liberal government corruption, doing amazing work in shining the spotlight on issues the media tries to ignore. Most recently, Poilievre’s pursuit of Trudeau over his involvement in the WE Scandal was so effective the Liberal Party had to throw former Finance Minister Bill Morneau under the bus to save the Prime Minister. 

Dr. Lewis and Poilievre have both shown they can take tough stances but they also both have to keep from succumbing to cowardice in the face of the media.

Dr. Lewis could benefit from showing that, more than just being a unifier in the Conservative Party, she can land strong punches on Trudeau and her opponents in a debate, and Poilievre needs to demonstrate that he is not scared to take positions on social issues that the CPC membership endorses.

In 2020 Poilievre seemed to back away from socially conservative policy when considering running in 2020, but O’Toole and Scheer both showed how toxic taking a neutral or progressive position can be to electoral success. Poilievre should be seriously considering endorsing some safe socially conservative positions, if he wants to avoid alienating large parts of the CPC base.

MP Dr. Leslyn Lewis.

Banning sex-selective abortion should be an incredibly easy stance for any Conservative leader to take based on polling showing the majority of Canadians want the practice banned, with only 37 percent of Canadians wanting to continue having no restrictions on abortion.


The following are the main 7 issues that I believe Conservative Party members will rightfully expect their next leader to stand firm on. If the next leader wants to become the next prime minister, it would benefit them to stand firmly in favour of these positions.

  • Scrap the carbon tax

  • Scrap the Trudeau “assault weapons” ban

  • Ban sex-selective abortion

  • Cut taxes and spending

  • End legacy media subsidies

  • Ban vaccine mandates/passports

  • Scrap all restrictions on Canadians’ free speech

The Conservative Party base has been neglected for too long, and if Dr. Leslyn Lewis, Pierre Poilievre, or anyone else wants to become the next party leader and prime minister they need to reconnect with the base and ignore the consultants and strategy firms instructing them to do otherwise.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

6 responses to “The Next Conservative Leader Needs To Serve The Base, Not The Media”

  1. Bette Thacker says:

    What?? “Dr. Lewis is a dedicated social conservative and when she ran in the 2020 Conservative leadership race she nearly won, “ What?. She came in a very distant 3rd.

    “Poilievre should be seriously considering endorsing some safe socially conservative positions, if he wishes alienating large parts of the CPC base. “
    Not sure what you are saying here.
    I like you and read your column often. I just don’t get these two statements

    • Wyatt Claypool says:

      Lewis beat O’Toole significantly on votes in the 2nd round but points allowed O’Toole to win instead of Lewis. They just changed the rules this time around to correct that.

      Pierre if he is just a fiscal conservative will annoy the socons in the party.

  2. Dave Reesor says:

    Lewis came first in Saskatchewan, nearly one Alberta, and brought in votes from across Canada. A very impressive showing considering that she isn’t an old political hack that has been around for decades. She would win votes from right and left and finally put paid to the conservative brand of being racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic.

  3. Craig Chandler says:

    Leslyn Lewis would change the narrative over night!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Leslyn Lewis, just by being herself throws the entire Liberal, NDP and Legacy media narrative of the Canadian conservative into the trash. A woman, a daughter of immigrants, self-made success, not part of the political elite and, a woman of colour to mention a few. She is incredibly bright and answers questions directly, clearly and concisely. Her views are consistent and steadfast. Add to that, the fact that she is incredibly bright, well educated and well versed at policy and diplomacy. If the Conservatives want to create an anti-narrative image. She is the choice to make.
    Pierre P is a pit bull, with a fierceness backed up with intelligence and an ability to make the opposition look inept as soon as he opens his mouth. I have the highest respect for him and love watching him outwit everyone he opposes. I worry that his ability to be as scrappy as he is will need to be subdued as leader. We need him to be who he is at this moment in time. If the Conservatives can break through the narrative and win an election, he will be the best Deputy PM/Minister of Finance ever with the freedom to be as straightforward as he is now. If the leadership race favours him, I sincerely hope he has the vision to put Leslyn Lewis as high in cabinet as I would hope she would put him. These two are a force Conservatives need right now.

  5. Annabelle Laferrière says:

    Personally, I won’t vote for anyone who isn’t willing to go up against the banks and restore the Bank of Canada to its intended purpose. Once upon a time, Canadians owned the bank, and the bank provided interest-free loans to the government and maintained the debt at a constant manageable level. Now, it only serves as a method to defraud us on behalf of the IMF.