Politics can be full of mystery and secrets, but there is one truth that is out there for all to see. Without a leader, you're not going anywhere.
The leader of a political party is the person who drives their push to form a government. He or she is the face of that party to the public. If that person is appealing, a lot of voters can be attracted to supporting that person's party. If that person has scandals or seems untrustworthy, the opposite can happen.
It makes sense then that parties take their time choosing a new leader. Especially when the last one was a strong, successful figure. This past Saturday night, the Conservative Party of Canada chose their new national leader. His name is...
Yes indeed, Andrew Scheer. His win surprised even close observers.
Looking for competition for Justin
Of course, the last leader of the Conservatives was Stephen Harper, who led the party for 11 years and was Prime Minister of Canada for nine of those years. (Since November 5, 2015, the Conservatives were led by an interim, or temporary, leader, Rona Ambrose.) Harper was a strong leader, but it was clear that Canadians were ready for a change. This allowed Justin Trudeau—the son of legendary PM, Pierre Trudeau—to commandingly win the 2015 election.
What kind of leader would the Conservatives be able to choose to match Trudeau in the next election? Would they choose someone similar? Or a person more like Harper (one of the most successful Conservative politicians in recent Canadian history)?
Bernier sees lead disappear
The Conservatives had plenty of choices in front of them in this search. Many of the names, however, such as TV star/businessman Kevin O'Leary and Kellie Leitch, made headlines for being either unexperienced or controversial. This is why many people expected Maxime Bernier to win. He has been an influential MP for four straight terms and the Minister of Industry and Foreign Affairs. As a Quebecer, he was also seen as a person who could compete well against the Montreal-born Trudeau.
Through 12 rounds of voting, Bernier led every time... until the 13th and final round. When all the votes were counted, it was the Saskatchewan-born Scheer who had won instead. While the experienced Bernier felt like a sure thing, the Conservative voters went for someone fresh and new.
Young and driven
Trudeau is known as a youthful leader, but Scheer is eight years younger than him. He already holds the record for the youngest ever Speaker of the House, an important leader within Canada's Parliament. If he were to become the next prime minister in a future 2019 election, he'd be the second youngest prime minister ever.
Scheer also has a warm and eager personality that could match up well against Trudeau. Will that be enough to win back a country that felt that the Conservatives had grown too cold under Harper? Will Scheer look like a fresh new face, or someone who isn't quite ready to lead?
That's the game of leadership. As Bernier himself found out, you never really know who is the most appealing to the public until the final votes are counting.