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The upcoming Conservative leadership race is likely to be crowded, and CPC party members will be looking for many things from prospective leaders, such as charisma, an ability to retain strong support in the West while gaining ground in Ontario, and the skill to bring the disparate party factions together.
With all of that in mind, there’s something else the next leader must have to achieve success:
An understanding of the dark side of human nature.
The unfortunate reality we face is that, in a world that is increasingly divided and dangerous, “niceness” can be a liability.
Without an understanding of both the good and the bad that humans are capable of, a leader can find themselves without the necessary tools to succeed.
For example, Justin Trudeau is a master of hypocrisy, campaigning against “the politics of fear,” while endlessly fear-mongering about the Conservatives.
His hypocrisy is so well-honed at this point that it often works.
The establishment media is also massively stacked in favour of the Liberals and against the Conservatives, and powerful media institutions actively seek to influence elections and keep the Liberals in power by manipulating the information environment.
Much of the pro-Liberal, anti-Conservative bias of the establishment media is deeply-rooted, in large part because journalists themselves tend to be far more left-wing than the average Canadian.
The idea that “reaching out more” to the establishment press will change any of that is absurd, and being “nicer” to the establishment media won’t help the Conservatives a bit.
But it’s on the world stage that an understanding of the dark side of human nature is so essential. It’s often tough for the Canadian political class to really grasp how brutal and ruthless the leaders of other countries can be. And in the rare instances when they do grasp it, they are so weak that they sell out for money instead.
The obvious example here is China, who didn’t hesitate to kidnap and hold hostage two Canadians in response to us fulfilling an extradition request from the United States. While Canada’s Citizens are held in torture-like conditions, China’s Meng Wanzhou is living in a mansion.
Many countries look at “niceness” and “collaboration” in the face of threats as weakness, and seek to take advantage of leaders who appear weak, which is the exact situation Canada is in.
Ruthless regimes won’t hesitate to do terrible things to Canada and to Canadian citizens, and we must never forget this.
Any prospective Conservative leader is also a prospective Prime Minister, meaning they must have the willingness to take ruthless measures if necessary in defence of Canadian citizens and Canada’s national interests.
And the pressure is rising. Canada’s political class went all-in on the “soft-power” approach, eschewing a strong military and strong domestic economy in favour of endless treaties, elitist conferences, and an obsession with increasing our reliance on foreign trade.
Yet, the world has gone in exactly the opposite direction, leaving Canada exposed, vulnerable, and divided in an increasingly dangerous world.
The next Conservative Leader must have the toughness to deal with this danger before it’s too late.