It’s now been 11 months since Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was proclaimed and predicted to the next prime minister of Canada by his party.
If that prophecy comes true, it won’t be due to anything Sheer himself has done to earn the job, but rather because the incumbent has faltered so badly Canadians are ready to throw him out.
While not an impossible scenario, it still seems that Scheer needs to at least make some effort to make certain voters don’t have to ask who he is, come election time.
To this point, his lack of profile appears a deliberate strategy. It’s reminiscent of former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali’s rope a dope technique: just let the other guy wear himself out by punching your arms, and not letting him land any blows that count.
It’s not believable that Scheer, his advisors and his entire party are oblivious to the fact that he is a non-factor on the national political scene. And yet, the nagging suspicion remains that these are people who don’t really know what they’re doing.
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Scheer performs capably in the House of Commons, but this matters little. Few Canadians are riveted to CPAC.
Former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair could give the young Tory boss some advice about that. Mulcair was a superior Parliamentarian, but that didn’t matter when it came time for ballots to be marked. He was clobbered at the polls. It’s the town halls, the stumping, that wins over hearts. Minds matter a lot less than hearts at election time.
To be fair, the Conservatives knew that they didn’t have anyone who can out-Trudeau Justin Trudeau when it comes to charisma and working the room. Instead, they went with a prairie guy, the youngest-ever Speaker of the House, in the hopes that they could convince voters that selfies don’t make for good government.
Interestingly, this er… strategy…seems to be working. The latest Mainstreet Research poll shows the Tories gaining ground on the Trudeau Liberals, despite not really having done anything to earn the newfound support. The Liberals are still in majority government territory with more than 40 per cent popular support but the Conservatives are up to 37 per cent, which makes it a race.
With an election a year and a half away, now might be a good time for Andrew Scheer to tell Canadians that, first of all, he exists, and second, what a few of his policies are.
He’s missing a glorious opportunity right now to step onto the national stage and champion the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Instead, he’s handed that job over to the premier of his home province of Saskatchewan to fight that battle, along with the NDP Premier of Alberta.
But for reasons perhaps only Scheer himself could explain, he is missing in action.
But even Muhammad Ali knew that you can’t play rope a dope for 15 rounds. Sooner or later you have to come out and box.
Geoff Currier is host of the Geoff Currier show on Global News 680 CJOB in Winnipeg.
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