[Posted at Bene Diction Blogs On March 14, 2011]
I see that three federal Tories from B.C. plan not to run again in the next election.
Everyone is familiar with Stockwell Day, who says that he wants to move on from politics. However, I remember Chuck Strahl and John Cummins as sources from my days when I was a B.C. reporter reading comments and coverage including these then Reform/Canadian Alliance MPs.
There's speculation that John Cummins wants to emulate Davie Fulton and lead the B.C. Tories in the next election. Stockwell Day, perhaps remembering what happened to Fulton, says he will pass on the leadership. Meanwhile, Day and Strahl are both saying to the press that they just want to do something else with their lives, as retiring politicians often do
I don't fault any of the men for wanting to step down. Politics is a long, hard business. Families can be missed. Sometimes these are very valid reasons to leave.
However, I wonder if "social conservatives" in Ottawa are speculating about some other possible reasons.
For what it is worth--and it may not be much--this is what I would be wondering if I were them.
Day is probably a leader if not the leader--of the social conservative wing of the federal Tories. As is well known.
However, Chuck Strahl, while not as noted for his social conservative views--quietly tries to apply his conservative faith to politics as well, as Deborah Gyapong reported last year.
Let's make some assumptions for a moment. Let's assume there are a significant amount of social conseratives amongst the federal Tory MPs. Let's further assume that they have been dissauded from pursuing their so-con goals after being told something like: "We can't now, as we are in a minority, but if we get a majority in the election, we can try to pass some of those things that you want..."
In this scenario, let's assume that Day and Strahl somehow came to the conclusion that even if a new Harper government had a Mulroney-esque majority, that the new Tory leadership group would be unsympathetic to the so-con point of view (on the grounds that it "isn't good politics"). Would that perhaps lead them to think something like "I have no chance at getting things that are important to me passed after spending so long in politics, so I might as well not do politics any more and let someone else try."
I am probably wrong, as these two politicians in particular have been active in politics for over 17 years, which is a long time. There is probably no secret "real reason" for their stepping aside. This certainly could be a rabbit trail.
But I am probably right in that social conservatives in and around Ottawa might be wondering if Day and Strahl are tired of not getting the various social-conservative policies that they may want. And I would bet there is quiet chatter in "so-con" circles to that effect.