Interim Leader Candice Bergen, Will Not Seek Re-election
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Interim Leader Candice Bergen, Will Not Seek Re-election

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Bergen was often divisive in her comments and was never seen as a bridge builder

“Serving the constituents of Portage-Lisgar for 14 years has been the honour of my political life and I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to be their voice in the House of Commons,” Said Bergen in a statement released earlier today

Interim leader of Canada’s Conservative Party, Manitoba MP Candice Bergan, will not seek re-election as the member for Portage—Lisgar. Bergen’s announcement was sudden and unexpected. As the interim leader replacing ousted Erin O’Toole, she was divisive and a poor communicator.

Interim leaders are supposed to be good stewards and steadily guide the ship until the party’s membership has chosen a permanent leader. Bergen’s offensive comments and decisions were frequently perceived as more of a detriment than a benefit.

Bergen openly supported the so-called Freedom Convoy that held many Canadian cities hostage for weeks while disrupting citizens, economies and daily lives. She referred to them as “good people on both sides,” echoing the words made famous by former president Donald Trump following the Charlottesville rally. Those chilling words came a year after Bergen was seen wearing a Trump Make America Great Again, M.A.G.A hat.

Bergen’s leadership style was abrasive; her daily comments were distasteful and, at times, even more, divisive than her predecessors. Bergen had a clear agenda, not to be a bridge builder but to attack the Trudeau government, which she did relentlessly.

The prevailing thought is that she would have risen to the occasion and looked to build a bigger tent; instead, she turned off a lot of Canadians. The Conservative party has ratcheted its rhetoric and shifted so far right that they are seen as not having many differences from the Peoples Party of Canada.

Bergen’s Trumpian-style rhetoric and that of many of her colleagues and presumed leader in the waiting, Pierre Poilievre, is repugnant. They represent everything negative Canadians have come to dislike about their politicians.

Bergen’s resignation is a good time for the party to use it as a reset and elect a more palatable candidate. Bergen’s riding is a safe Blue seat, and what direction the party goes will be reflected by the tone set by its new leader.

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