Scheer dis­as­ter

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - COMMUNITY - Frank Likely Frank Likely is a re­tired Angli­can min­is­ter and past pres­i­dent of the Springhill and Area Cham­ber of Com­merce.

What time is it, Tories? It’s Howdy Doody time.

With apolo­gies to Buf­falo Bob Smith, Clara­belle the Clown and all the other char­ac­ters of Doodyville, the Con­ser­va­tive Party of Canada has just elected Howdy Doody as their new leader.

With his boy­ish face, square chin, per­pet­ual smile and dim­ples, An­drew Scheer bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the ’60s pup­pet. All that’s miss­ing is the ginger hair. As one com­men­ta­tor noted af­ter the vote was com­pleted Saturday night, even when he’s frown­ing it looks like a smile.

Pun­dits have de­scribes Scheer as Stephen Harper with a smile. They sug­gest that he will main­tain most of the Harper ideals, but put a brighter face to them. In­deed, his en­tire cam­paign was based on the idea that the Con­ser­va­tives didn’t lose the last elec­tion be­cause of pol­icy but be­cause of tone, and if they would only lighten up their image they could win the next vote.

I’m more in­clined to think of Scheer as a Pre­ston Man­ning with an evil grin. His po­lit­i­cal bent is more to the hard-right Re­formist wing of the party than it is to even the Harperite cen­tre-right brand of con­ser­vatism. I ex­pect to see a strong Re­form-Al­liance tilt to his shadow cabi­net when an­nounced.

The “Pro­gres­sive” wing of the Con­ser­va­tive party was clearly de­feated in the lead­er­ship con­test which saw such main­stream can­di­dates as Lisa Raitt floun­der­ing in the lower half of the pack, while ul­tra-con­ser­va­tives like Brad Trost and Pierre Lemieux were near the top of the board and gave Scheer the votes he needed to give him the vic­tory over Maxime Bernier on the thir­teenth bal­lot.

Re­mem­ber the Con­ser­va­tive taunts of Justin Trudeau’s youth in the last elec­tion, the calls to “put on your big boy pants.” The PM now looks al­most statesman like com­pared to the baby-faced Scheer.

Per­haps the NDP can elect a grown-up when they vote on a new leader in the fall.

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