The Real Issue in the Canadian Alliance Leadership Fiasco

By Brian Fawcett | August 3, 2001

What’s been completely lost in the furore over Stockwell Day’s leadership of the Canadian Alliance party, in the emergence of the Chuck Strahl/Deb Gray-led Democratic Representative Caucus (DRC) and in the general dusting off and renovation of Joe Clark and the Progressive Conservative Party, is what the various factions within Canada’s political right wing profess and believe, and how all these stabbings-in-the-night pertain to the values that these people stand for.

I suppose we ought to be grateful that the DRC didn’t name themselves "The Twelve Apostles", and maybe it’s excessively wonderful that their de facto leader, Chuck Strahl, isn’t a dwebe like Stockwell Day is, doesn’t talk like a turkey the way Preston Manning does or look like a pot-bellied pig the way David Frum does on his good days. This doesn’t mean that Strahl doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus like Stockwell Day , or that his Caucus mates don’t secretly think of themselves in Apostolic terms, or that new or sameol turkeys and pot-bellied pigs won’t at any minute reappear to take on a leadership role.

The Left is occasionally roused from its collective coma by all this merry-making, but seems content to congratulate themselves for the chaos, secure that it is proof positive of the irrevocable goofiness and political barbarity of everyone connected with the Canadian Alliance. Never mind that the mere presence of the CA in the Canadian political landscape has transformed the federal Liberals into monetarist bottom-liners well to the right of the Mulroney Conservatives who preceded them, and has pushed the NDP to the right of the Trudeau-era Liberals. Never mind that these guys (and Deb) are already running the country in every sense but the bodily one, and what these leadership shenanigans really are is squabble over the spoils of a war that was won before the Alliance elected a single member to Parliament.

Okay, I admit it is funny that a collection of right-wing parliamentarians have decided that their leader is such an asshole that they can’t bear to be in the same universe with him, let alone the same political party. It’s almost as funny that the combined mass media accepts this state of affairs as the natural order of things within the political right without asking a single question about the relative values of the factions. But all it really allows a non-partisan observer to say for sure is that Stockwell Day must be, in person, a level-10 bungler and jerk to have made himself this unpopular with people he remains in more or less complete agreement on when it comes to political and social values.

Maybe everyone should wake up and ask how such these people managed to take control of our political system, or better still, what they’re planning next. Which one of them will replace Stockwell Day, meanwhile, might be the least important issue of all.

490 words August 4, 2001


  • Brian Fawcett

    Brian Fawcett (1944-2022) is a founding co-editor of He's the author of many books, including "Cambodia: A book for people who find television too slow" (1986), "Gender Wars" (1994), "Virtual Clearcut, or The Way Things Are in My Hometown" (2003), "Local Matters: A Defence of Dooney's Cafe and other Non-Globalized People, Places, and Ideas" (2003) and "Human Happiness" (2011).

Posted in:

More from Brian Fawcett: