Diane Finley on what went wrong for the Conservatives
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, October 23, 2015 6:47PM EDT
Diane Finley, who intends to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party, is speaking out about what might have gone wrong for the Conservatives on Monday night, and where her party needs to go next.
The longtime MP and outgoing public works minister, who held a number of high-profile portfolios in Stephen Harper’s government, told CTV’s Power Play Friday that voters she met while campaigning suggested Canadians were simply ready for a change.
“We’ve seen, roughly every 10 years, Canadians are in a mood for a change, whether they need it or not,” she said. “And we were hearing that.”
“We found at the doors that people really were supportive of our values, our policies, they really liked what we were doing,” she added.
When asked whether voters were turned off by Harper – something outgoing minister Gail Shea suggested after losing her seat on election night – Finley agreed there was “a degree of that.”
“But we have a lot of Harper fans in my riding,” she added.
“And let’s remember, he’s done a lot for this country,” she said, pointing to his record on lowering taxes and keeping Canada safe.
“Some people might not like what they perceive to be his management style,” she said. “Having worked with him in close quarters, behind the cabinet room doors, I know that perceived style is not his true style.”
Finley said the party has already assembled a team to find out what went wrong.
One thing to examine, she said, was how “different messages affected some ridings (but) didn’t affect others, depending on the makeup of the riding and the part of the country.”
Finley said the party’s 99 incoming MPs, and possibly senators, will meet in a few weeks to choose an interim leader to oversee the party’s transition to the opposition benches – where she sat before the Tories took power in 2006.
Outgoing Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson also plans to run for the interim job, according to a Niagara Falls Review newspaper report.
Earlier this week, possible long-term leadership contender Lisa Raitt sounded like Finley when she said she was “heartened” that “people do like our policies,” and cautioned against pegging the loss to the Liberals on Harper alone.
“That’s a dangerous step,” Raitt said. “It isn’t about necessarily one person, it’s not about one campaign. It has to be a combination of things, and we’ve got to figure out what it was.”
Raitt said one thing the party needs to understand is why it didn’t “connect” with women between the ages of 18 and 49.
Asked whether the Conservatives need a woman as their next leader, Finley said she thinks the “most capable person” should get the job.
“I don’t think competence knows gender,” she added. “We have some very talented men. We also some very, very skilled women.”
Calgary MP Jason Kenney, who held the high-profile immigration and defence portfolios, is also seen as a long-term leadership contender.
He told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that the party needs “a conservatism that is sunnier and more optimistic than what we have sometimes conveyed.”
Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau began his victory speech Monday by quoting Wilfrid Laurier, suggesting that “sunny ways” and a “positive campaign” helped the Liberals win.