LILLEY: Charest’s offer to Conservative Party, take me as I am

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If Jean Charest goes to win the Conservative management, he received’t be doing it by altering long-held positions or pandering to completely different factions.

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In interviews with myself and a number of other different media retailers over the past week, Charest has made it clear that he’s his personal man and can stand or fall on that.

In some methods it’s refreshing as a result of in doing this, he received’t undergo the issue too many politicians take care of: authenticity. He’s making the pitch to Conservatives throughout the nation to decide on him as chief however to decide on him as he’s.

Does that put him offside the Conservative base on some points? Completely, however his gamble is that there are sufficient present or potential Conservative get together members to place him excessive.

This previous week, Charest has defended his place on local weather change and the carbon tax, stated he received’t change any of Trudeau’s gun legal guidelines and stated he’ll depart in place the nationwide child-care offers Justin Trudeau has signed with the provinces.

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Taking aside the child-care offers after they’re established and cash is flowing to the provinces and oldsters wouldn’t make sense. Charest’s stand on weapons could shock some however really falls consistent with the place get together voters are.

An Angus Reid Institute ballot taken in April 2020, simply after the Trudeau authorities introduced their ban on “military-style assault weapons,” discovered 60% of Conservative voters supported the thought whereas opposing a handgun ban. Charest is against Trudeau’s thought of a handgun ban, saying the issue shouldn’t be with law-abiding gun homeowners however with the border.

On the carbon tax, he doesn’t stroll away from his previous help for carbon pricing, which Quebec launched after he left workplace. However he says it needs to be sensible, in contrast to the Trudeau plan.

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“Local weather is an actual difficulty and it requires an total method,” Charest stated.

For him, that features carbon seize and storage, inexperienced and blue hydrogen know-how, small modular reactors and a pricing mechanism that doesn’t harm households or rural Canadians.

“If you need to have the ability to get elected within the GTA, and if you wish to capable of get elected within the Decrease Mainland of British Columbia, it’s a must to have a local weather coverage,” Charest stated.

He’s placing ahead his report for good and unhealthy on fiscal points as nicely. Whereas Pierre Poilievre factors out that Charest raised Quebec’s gross sales tax, Charest factors to his report of reducing earnings taxes, decreasing the dimensions of presidency and balancing the finances.

“I ruled in Quebec based mostly on the values of fiscal conservatism, market-based economic system, insurance policies for financial progress,” Charest advised me, whereas pointing to his authorities’s observe report of turning round Quebec’s economic system and the federal government books.

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So, the pitch from Charest is, take him as he’s.

One of many phrases that he and people round him use repeatedly is that he’s the grownup within the room. With the modifications which have occurred since this management race started, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s a potent argument.

However the huge query is do the Conservatives need an grownup within the room, or do they need to have an angst-filled teen dance get together with none grownup supervision?

There’s a faction of the get together, and I hear from them typically, that would like to be proper and never win an election quite than compromise on sure coverage points. These voters are unreachable for Jean Charest, which implies to win, he must enchantment others within the get together whereas promoting as many as 1,000 memberships a day by the June 3 deadline.

Charest believes he’s the one candidate who can and can beat the Liberals and type a nationwide authorities. To do this, he has to win his personal get together — a tall order, however one he and his crew say he can ship on.

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