Prominent Conservatives are suggesting the internal report examining the party’s performance during the last federal election campaign be made available to every candidate who ran.
Outgoing leader Andrew Scheer asked former Conservative cabinet minister John Baird last November to lead the review. Mr. Scheer thanked Mr. Baird on social media this week, saying he looked forward to “reviewing it” and sharing feedback with the next leader.
But some Conservatives believe it should be shared with candidates who put their name on the Oct. 21, 2019, ballot. Lisa Raitt, who is a co-chair of the Conservative Party’s leadership election organizing committee, told CTV News: “Failed candidates took part and were interviewed. The results should be shared with them.”
Ms. Raitt, the former deputy leader of the party, lost her seat in the Ontario riding of Milton in the election.
In a series of tweets, Alberta Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner said she agreed with Ms. Raitt, calling her party “a going concern” and saying there are "clear structural deficiencies that have been identified in this report which need to have a plan developed to rectify.”
“How can we possibly evaluate if that plan with work (or exists) if we don’t have an opportunity to see what the identified issues are, or what the corresponding plan is?” Ms. Rempel Garner wrote.
“I don’t care if this happens in a room with a PowerPoint presentation because, no, I don’t need it breathlessly dissected by political pundits on talk shows."
Ms. Rempel Garner said she needs to be able to go to her constituents, donors, members, stakeholders and staff and tell them where the party went wrong and how to fix it, but also to know that the hours she spent “giving feedback” count for something.
She also made the point that candidates vowing to lead the party need the results to be able to address their visions for “fixing these issues and moving forward."
Ms. Rempel Garner concluded by saying she is publicly commenting because “things haven’t changed to date and they need to change."
Marilyn Gladu, Conservative leadership candidate and MP for the Ontario riding Sarnia-Lambton, said that while she would “love” to see the report, it was not intended for anybody to see apart from Mr. Scheer and the next leader.
“I’m comfortable with no candidates having access, but as I understand it, John Baird is on Pierre Poilievre’s [expected leadership] campaign, and so I’m sure that John Baird wouldn’t release it to Pierre’s campaign, but he has that knowledge in his head because he wrote the report,” she said.
Ms. Gladu said she hopes that if Mr. Baird would share it with one leadership campaign, that he would share it with everyone, but that she is not overly concerned because she has “a lot of faith" in his integrity. “I think many of the things that went wrong on the campaign are quite obvious to all Canadians."
Mr. Baird’s chief of staff said Mr. Scheer asked that all questions about the contents of the report be referred to the Opposition leader’s office.
“As a condition of taking on this assignment and in line with past practice, Mr. Scheer requested that we not release or share details of the report,” Michael Ceci said in an e-mail. “The report deals with HR issues and is politically sensitive. So far, Mr. Scheer has asked us to deliver a high-level briefing to the Conservative Party’s National Council.”
While they have not yet formally entered the leadership race, Ontario Conservative MPs Erin O’Toole and Mr. Poilievre have been preparing campaigns.
Veteran Conservative Peter MacKay announced Wednesday that he has entered the race. Campaign spokesman Michael Diamond said Mr. MacKay will announce more details next week.
Jean Charest, the former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and a former Quebec premier, plans to announce his intentions before the end of the month, according to a member of his team.
With a report from Laura Stone.