Federal Conservatives prepare for leadership review in Toronto in 2020

News Nov 27, 2019 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

The Conservative Party of Canada's vice-president says the party remains “strong” and national in scope despite the recent election that saw it lose seats in Ontario and Quebec.

Matthijs Van Gaalen, a lawyer who works in Hamilton at Gowlings WLG and lives in Mississauga, said it would have been “unprecedented” for a party to bring down a majority government after its first term.

Even though the party failed to defeat the Liberals, the party managed to increase its popular vote and seat count, said Van Gaalen.

He said in an interview that after the October election results, the Conservative party remains a national party, and will be holding its convention in Toronto for the first time next year. The gathering Metro Toronto Convention Centre from April 16 to 18 was decided by the party two years ago.

Van Gaalen, who was the guest speaker at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club at Marquis Gardens on the mountain Nov. 15, did not want to comment on the leadership review the convention will hold for Andrew Scheer, nor on its western-centric political base.

“The national council is responsible for running the process,” he said. “I can’t speculate to it.”

Scheer has been criticized by some Conservatives for not defeating Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the October election. Recently, Scheer fired two top aids as the party prepares for the Parliament session that opens Dec. 5.

Van Gaalen said despite the Conservatives’ results in 2019, the party had a more difficult time after being swept from power by the Liberals in 2015 than in 2019.

“I think 2015 was a big moment of reflection,” he said. “We went from government to not being in government.”

He said no party has taken down a majority government the first time to become the next government.

“That would have been unprecedented,” he said.

Van Gaalen said despite the Liberals victory, Conservatives still have “a lot” to be positive for, winning 121 seats – the Liberals won 157 seats, 13 short of a majority — that includes ridings across the country, even with a diminished representation in Ontario and Quebec.

“We are still strong and united,” he said.

The party increased its national vote share from 31.9 per cent in 2015 to 34.4 per cent in 2019 – the Liberals’ popular vote was 33 per cent — while also seeing its vote share in 194 of 338 electoral districts jump. Of the 144 electoral districts where the party lost ground, 139 of them are in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, Van Gaalen had to defend to members how the party has in the past interfered in selecting or in some cases dismissing potential party candidates.

Van Gaalen said potential candidates are dismissed or rejected for running based upon social media posts “that would blow up into a national story,” that are “vulgar, offensive, racist.”

“There are people who would sacrifice the national party, who would see themselves as martyrs for the cause,” he said.

For instance, the Conservative Party dropped candidate Heather Leung who was running in Burnaby North-Seymour after a video surfaced of her making offensive remarks towards the LGBTQ2 community.

Van Gaalen agreed with many of the estimated 25 Conservatives who attended the the Macdonald-Cartier Club event that the national party should allow the “grassroots” people and local riding associations to select their preferred candidates rather than the party establishment.

“It’s not our job to disqualify people who are fine people, but we just don’t like their views,” he said.

Still, Van Gaalen said the Conservative Party needs to have a diverse group of candidates if it is to win the next federal election.

“At the end of the day we can’t have all white old men running for the Conservative Party of Canada,” he said.

Federal Conservatives prepare for leadership review in Toronto in 2020

News Nov 27, 2019 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

The Conservative Party of Canada's vice-president says the party remains “strong” and national in scope despite the recent election that saw it lose seats in Ontario and Quebec.

Matthijs Van Gaalen, a lawyer who works in Hamilton at Gowlings WLG and lives in Mississauga, said it would have been “unprecedented” for a party to bring down a majority government after its first term.

Even though the party failed to defeat the Liberals, the party managed to increase its popular vote and seat count, said Van Gaalen.

He said in an interview that after the October election results, the Conservative party remains a national party, and will be holding its convention in Toronto for the first time next year. The gathering Metro Toronto Convention Centre from April 16 to 18 was decided by the party two years ago.

Van Gaalen, who was the guest speaker at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club at Marquis Gardens on the mountain Nov. 15, did not want to comment on the leadership review the convention will hold for Andrew Scheer, nor on its western-centric political base.

“The national council is responsible for running the process,” he said. “I can’t speculate to it.”

Scheer has been criticized by some Conservatives for not defeating Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the October election. Recently, Scheer fired two top aids as the party prepares for the Parliament session that opens Dec. 5.

Van Gaalen said despite the Conservatives’ results in 2019, the party had a more difficult time after being swept from power by the Liberals in 2015 than in 2019.

“I think 2015 was a big moment of reflection,” he said. “We went from government to not being in government.”

He said no party has taken down a majority government the first time to become the next government.

“That would have been unprecedented,” he said.

Van Gaalen said despite the Liberals victory, Conservatives still have “a lot” to be positive for, winning 121 seats – the Liberals won 157 seats, 13 short of a majority — that includes ridings across the country, even with a diminished representation in Ontario and Quebec.

“We are still strong and united,” he said.

The party increased its national vote share from 31.9 per cent in 2015 to 34.4 per cent in 2019 – the Liberals’ popular vote was 33 per cent — while also seeing its vote share in 194 of 338 electoral districts jump. Of the 144 electoral districts where the party lost ground, 139 of them are in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, Van Gaalen had to defend to members how the party has in the past interfered in selecting or in some cases dismissing potential party candidates.

Van Gaalen said potential candidates are dismissed or rejected for running based upon social media posts “that would blow up into a national story,” that are “vulgar, offensive, racist.”

“There are people who would sacrifice the national party, who would see themselves as martyrs for the cause,” he said.

For instance, the Conservative Party dropped candidate Heather Leung who was running in Burnaby North-Seymour after a video surfaced of her making offensive remarks towards the LGBTQ2 community.

Van Gaalen agreed with many of the estimated 25 Conservatives who attended the the Macdonald-Cartier Club event that the national party should allow the “grassroots” people and local riding associations to select their preferred candidates rather than the party establishment.

“It’s not our job to disqualify people who are fine people, but we just don’t like their views,” he said.

Still, Van Gaalen said the Conservative Party needs to have a diverse group of candidates if it is to win the next federal election.

“At the end of the day we can’t have all white old men running for the Conservative Party of Canada,” he said.

Federal Conservatives prepare for leadership review in Toronto in 2020

News Nov 27, 2019 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

The Conservative Party of Canada's vice-president says the party remains “strong” and national in scope despite the recent election that saw it lose seats in Ontario and Quebec.

Matthijs Van Gaalen, a lawyer who works in Hamilton at Gowlings WLG and lives in Mississauga, said it would have been “unprecedented” for a party to bring down a majority government after its first term.

Even though the party failed to defeat the Liberals, the party managed to increase its popular vote and seat count, said Van Gaalen.

He said in an interview that after the October election results, the Conservative party remains a national party, and will be holding its convention in Toronto for the first time next year. The gathering Metro Toronto Convention Centre from April 16 to 18 was decided by the party two years ago.

Van Gaalen, who was the guest speaker at the Hamilton chapter of the Macdonald-Cartier Club at Marquis Gardens on the mountain Nov. 15, did not want to comment on the leadership review the convention will hold for Andrew Scheer, nor on its western-centric political base.

“The national council is responsible for running the process,” he said. “I can’t speculate to it.”

Scheer has been criticized by some Conservatives for not defeating Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the October election. Recently, Scheer fired two top aids as the party prepares for the Parliament session that opens Dec. 5.

Van Gaalen said despite the Conservatives’ results in 2019, the party had a more difficult time after being swept from power by the Liberals in 2015 than in 2019.

“I think 2015 was a big moment of reflection,” he said. “We went from government to not being in government.”

He said no party has taken down a majority government the first time to become the next government.

“That would have been unprecedented,” he said.

Van Gaalen said despite the Liberals victory, Conservatives still have “a lot” to be positive for, winning 121 seats – the Liberals won 157 seats, 13 short of a majority — that includes ridings across the country, even with a diminished representation in Ontario and Quebec.

“We are still strong and united,” he said.

The party increased its national vote share from 31.9 per cent in 2015 to 34.4 per cent in 2019 – the Liberals’ popular vote was 33 per cent — while also seeing its vote share in 194 of 338 electoral districts jump. Of the 144 electoral districts where the party lost ground, 139 of them are in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, Van Gaalen had to defend to members how the party has in the past interfered in selecting or in some cases dismissing potential party candidates.

Van Gaalen said potential candidates are dismissed or rejected for running based upon social media posts “that would blow up into a national story,” that are “vulgar, offensive, racist.”

“There are people who would sacrifice the national party, who would see themselves as martyrs for the cause,” he said.

For instance, the Conservative Party dropped candidate Heather Leung who was running in Burnaby North-Seymour after a video surfaced of her making offensive remarks towards the LGBTQ2 community.

Van Gaalen agreed with many of the estimated 25 Conservatives who attended the the Macdonald-Cartier Club event that the national party should allow the “grassroots” people and local riding associations to select their preferred candidates rather than the party establishment.

“It’s not our job to disqualify people who are fine people, but we just don’t like their views,” he said.

Still, Van Gaalen said the Conservative Party needs to have a diverse group of candidates if it is to win the next federal election.

“At the end of the day we can’t have all white old men running for the Conservative Party of Canada,” he said.