Video image from Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton when announced he is running for leader of the Conservative party.

Video image from Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton when announced he is running for leader of the Conservative party.

EDITORIAL: Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MP running to lead a very different Conservative Party

The modern day party bears little resemblance to the Tories of previous generations

Marc Dalton has joined a growing list of people wanting to lead the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC).

So far, the party’s approved candidates are Roman Baber, former premier of Quebec Jean Charest, and Leslyn Lewis.

Declared candidates include Dalton, Scott Aitchison, businessman Joseph Bourgault, Patrick Brown, and Pierre Poilievre – most of whom are already in politics.

At least two others have expressed interest in running. However, the longest list, so far, has been prominent conservatives who have declined the opportunity.

The deadline to declare candidacy is April 19, with the leadership race being decided Sept. 10 – so Canadians can expect a summer filled with Tory campaigning.

So far, Dalton, who was a supporter of ousted party leader Erin O’Toole, is the only candidate west of Ontario to declare.

The former teacher in the local school district was elected a Liberal MLA in 2009, then started running federally as a Conservative. After two failed attempts, he was elected MP in 2019.

Last November Dalton ran for the speaker of the House of Commons, one of several to run from various political parties, but lost.

The MP has recently been vocal about vaccine mandates despite both he and his wife having been sick with COVID. Dalton’s first campaign pledge is an inquiry into how the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled by government.

In launching his campaign to be head of CPC on Sunday, March 20, Dalton said that under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has grown more divided. He conveniently omitted the role politicians of every stripe – and other players – have played in the increasing polarization of the modern politics.

The conservative movement in Canada is following its American cousins, namely Republicans, in moving more to the right.

Whomever leads the party has to figure out how to retain centrist conservatives, but he or she will have a long time to figure that out, given the newly announced Liberal/NDP agreement that should mean no election for about three years.

As the various people vying for the party leader’s spot start campaigning in earnest, expect to see the knives come out.

Unfortunately modern politics, with an emphasis on attacking people instead of attacking policies or platforms, has morphed into something of a bloodsport which tends to turn off many voters.

Even just choosing a party leader turns into mudslinging, but it’s wise for everyone to remember that those who engage in mudslinging tend to end up getting as dirty as their opponent.

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