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Mandryk: Batters' politicking lacks the focus we see from Sask. Party

Leader Post logo Leader Post 2021-11-20 Murray Mandryk
Senator Denise Batters should learn from the Sask. Party government that public infighting never produces a good outcome. © Provided by Leader Post Senator Denise Batters should learn from the Sask. Party government that public infighting never produces a good outcome.
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After years of belittling government-appointed Senate colleagues as phoney “independent” senators who exist only to advance partisan political agendas, Saskatchewan’s Denise Batters became just that.

The irony here is almost too much bear.

Sen. Batters was expelled from the federal Conservative Party of Canada caucus this week by CPC leader Erin O’Toole for launching a petition calling for a vote to remove O’Toole as leader.

In a video shot in front of a snowy Trafalgar Fountain (so named after another bloody battle) near the Saskatchewan legislature, Batters talked over Wascana’s infamously noisy geese to decry Erin O’Toole “watered down and even entirely reversed” Conservative election policies on the “carbon tax, guns and conscience rights.”

“We started this petition because we don’t want to see this party ripped apart again,” Batters stated. “When we’re divided the Liberals win.”

Again, irony in this story knows no bounds.

Batters’ petition was quickly ruled out of order by CPC president Rob Batherson, just prior to O’Toole removing her from the CPC caucus.

“I am and will always be a Conservative,” she said in a statement. Perhaps, but she is now an “independent” Conservative Senator … and not exactly a helpful one.

Of course, you might have missed all this because you were consumed by other matters like digging out from a blizzard, dealing with a pandemic or fearing worse for a drowning B.C. now cut off from us by rail and road. But let me assure you, Batters was the talk of the town in Ottawa.

In fact, partisans and others rightly scorched Parliament Hill reporters for even asking B.C. Conservative MPs about Batters on their way in to that CPC caucus meeting instead of focusing on the human/economic disaster unfolding in home their ridings. Critics have a point.

Reporters need to make judgment calls and not get caught up in petty politics when more crucial matters are in play.

But, really, who was it that chose to make CPC infighting public in the middle of a pandemic and B.C. flood? Might it be that Erin O’Toole isn’t the only Conservative completely out of touch with Canadians?

This takes us to the earthquake of dissension ripping apart conservatives most everywhere in the nation except the “nation-within-a-nation” of Saskatchewan where conservatism seems as stable as the vast, flat expanse of prairie, itself.

In Ottawa, we have Batters (few are proudly claiming her as a daughter of Saskatchewan these days) pulling at the threads of the already tattered fabric of federal CPCs — some say, at the behest of former leader Andrew Scheer or leadership hopeful Peter MacKay, both of whom she supported.

In Manitoba, Progressive Conservatives are a red-hot mess with two people now claiming to have wrested the throne from former premier Brian Pallister. We await the courts to decide.

And where do we begin in Alberta where United Conservative Party Premier Jason Kenney is facing an ousting ?

Yet notwithstanding a sizeable dip in popularity because of his handling of the fourth wave of COVID-19, no one is seriously thinking that Premier Scott Moe is in any trouble.

Why? Because Scott Moe and the Sask. Party are now among the few Canadian conservatives who’ve figured out focusing on stability — especially, economic stability — actually works. People aren’t about to trust a party that can’t run its own affairs

Sure the Sask. Party is now paying for its own hubris that’s caught up them after 14 years.

But it has clearly learned lessons from decades of division and vote-splitting in this province. It has learned the public will more likely be on your side if your focus is a defined, common enemy like Justin Trudeau or Ryan Meili.

And while its opponents don’t get it, the Sask. Party surely gets that jobs in oil, gas, agriculture, potash and now lithium , helium and canola crushing are more important to people than party politics.

Unfortunately for federal Conservatives, these are all Saskatchewan lessons Batters has missed.

Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. 

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