With Alberta and Saskatchewan’s votes all but counted in the next federal election, Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole went to Quebec Premier Francois Legault to offer the province his party’s support for legitimately anything that would get him votes.
O’Toole, who has yet to define his “Take Canada Back” campaign, has professed to uphold Quebec’s Bill 21, the discriminatory legislation that bars any who are employed by the Quebec government to wear religious head coverings.
The newly appointed leader of the Official Opposition didn’t go so far as to say he would bring back Harper’s 2015 campaign strategy of starting a “Barbaric Practices Snitch Line” to help the “old stock Canadians” sleep at night, but did cue CPC MPs with religious head-coverings to get photo-ops and remind the rest of Canada how inclusive the party purports to be.
Brimming with optimism about Canada’s economy generally, O’Toole also promised Legault that federal transfers would continue with no strings attached. Legault himself managed to look as pleased as if he hadn’t campaigned for his own role as Premier on a platform to boost Quebec’s economy to the point that it would no longer require equalization transfers.
O’Toole, who received glowing endorsements from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, also promised to bend over in any direction for seat-rich Quebec’s provincial autonomy – so long as those seats are filled with Conservative asses.
Jason Kenney, who is currently pretending none of this is going on, has claimed to have “great confidence in (O’Toole’s) ability, his wisdom, and his total dedication to fairness for Alberta and a strong future for our resource industries.”
When O’Toole wasn’t performing tricks for the Quebec Premier’s entertainment, Kenney was cajoling Alberta’s media with tales of O’Toole’s firm stance on making prairie malcontent a Liberal problem.
“(After O’Toole’s election as CPC leader), in his very first conversation with the Prime Minister… the first issue that Erin raised was Western alienation and the need for the national government to respond in a real and detailed way to it,” Kenney said, happy to place the blame at the feet of a Trudeau.
As the Leader of the Official Opposition continues his cross-Canada tour, many are wondering if he will support provincial autonomy in B.C. as well or if he only knows how to say it in French.
This post contains opinion.
Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a political commentator physically distancing in Southern Alberta. Connect: @Mitchell_AB for more, @thisweekinAB for posts