Companies and organizations have strengths and weaknesses. Politicians are no different.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer spent the remaining days of the 42nd Parliament addressing his weaknesses, specifically those that generate distrust among suburban Canadian families, a demographic key to Conservative electoral success.
From reassuring voters about his zero tolerance stance on racism, to assuring Canadians he has a plan to combat climate change, Scheer devoted significant time to repairing those perceived weaknesses among his target audience.
But if you spend too much time defining who you are not, you don’t define who you really are. Campaigns force leaders to respond to criticism, but the sooner Scheer starts talking about his strengths, the better chance he has of becoming Prime Minister.
Moving forward, expect the Conservative leader to focus and communicate exclusively on public policies that highlight his strengths as a leader, and the shortcomings of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. These include the Canadian economy and affordability, repairing Canada’s reputation on the global stage and public safety. It is well established that Scheer’s path to victory goes through the GTA, Lower Mainland B.C. and Quebec. What remains unknown is if Scheer can successfully control the narrative and keep the ballot box questions framed around his strengths and not his weaknesses. Here is how he will do it:
Framing the affordability question
Scheer will tell Canadians that tax hikes are in the secret hidden agenda of the Liberal Party and of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Conservative leader will assert that a ballooning federal deficit is the motive behind this agenda to increase taxes, and increasing gas prices are just one of the outcomes. Expect every announcement by the Liberals to be met with warnings of higher taxes by Scheer.
Reestablishing Canada on the global stage
Scheer will frame the Prime Minister as a naive leader who has damaged Canada’s reputation on the world stage. Whether it’s the sense that Canada’s traditional allies are frustrated with us, or the failure to secure a diplomatic solution with China, expect Scheer to use Canada’s uncertain position on the global stage as a rallying cry for change.
Emphasizing the importance of public safety
Law and order has always been the policy bastion of conservatism. From backlogs in our justice system, to asylum seekers using a loophole to cross the Canadian border, Scheer will hammer these issues relentlessly. Not only is it a traditional strength of his party, it has become obvious that the Prime Minister struggles to communicate effectively when public safety issues dominate the headlines.