Jason Kenney’s whistle-stop tour does not appear to have helped Conservatives in Ontario

It would appear as though Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s decision to campaign with Conservative candidates in Ontario during the federal election did not improve those candidates chances on election night. According to unofficial results from the election, the average Conservative vote in the ridings of the 24 candidates who campaigned with Kenney dropped from 36.3 per cent in the 2015 election to 33.2 percent in 2019.

It appears as though only two candidates who Kenney tweeted that he campaigned with while in Ontario were elected on Monday. Thornhill MP Peter Kent saw his vote percentage drop from 58 percent to 54 percent, and Markham-Unionville candidate Bob Saroya earned the same 49 percent of the vote as he did in the previous election.

Only one candidate who Kenney campaigned with, Justina McCaffrey from Kanata-Carleton, saw her party’s vote total rise (from 30 percent in 2015 to 37 percent in 2019).

It was quite unusual for a premier to campaign for their federal party of choice in another province, but it was less unusual because the premier in question is Jason Kenney, a former federal cabinet minister who very much still operates as national politician.

Kenney is frequently named as a potential candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and with Andrew Scheer on rocky ground after the party’s disappointing results in the election, this is a role that might come true for the Alberta Premier sooner than expected.

His decision to help out Ontario candidates in this election could help with his leadership ambitions, but the lack of a “Kenney bump” could fuel the impression that the western politician is not as powerful a force in retail politics in Ontario’s 905 region as he was believed to be.

As Kenney’s whistle-stop tour steamed through Ontario’s Ottawa area and 905 region, the actual Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, was nowhere to be seen.

As Conservatives reflect on the results of the 2019 election, some are already suggesting that keeping the controversial Ford out of sight may have been a tactical mistake by Scheer’s campaign. Ford was seen as a liability to the federal campaign, but in hindsight he might have been a draw for the Conservative Party in Ontario.

While Kenney is certainly popular with Conservative partisans, it would appear as though that his perceived star power might have had little impact on the chances of Ontario Conservative candidates on October 21, 2019.

Comparing the 2015 and 2019 vote percentages of Ontario Conservative candidates who Alberta Premier Jason Kenney campaigned with in October 2019 (candidates listed were mentioned by Kenney on Twitter during his campaign trip to Ontario).

Comparing the 2015 and 2019 vote percentages of Ontario Conservative candidates who Alberta Premier Jason Kenney campaigned with in October 2019 (candidates listed were mentioned by Kenney on Twitter during his campaign trip to Ontario).

4 thoughts on “Jason Kenney’s whistle-stop tour does not appear to have helped Conservatives in Ontario

  1. Dave

    Mr. Kenney should probably not be expecting a thank you card from candidates like Lisa Rait for all that “help” in Ontario any time soon, even though she may unexpectedly have more free time on her hands now.

    Mr. Kenney is supposedly such a great campaigner, so perhaps the legend is sometimes bigger than reality or his heart wasn’t in it this time for some reason, or perhaps a bit of both.

    In any event, I suspect Doug Ford was not very happy being confined to barracks by Mr. Scheer and his gang for the last couple months, while Mr. Kenney was roaming around free range in Ontario. Conservative politics may get interesting in the next while and Mr. Scheer may really need to watch his back when either Ford or Kenney are nearby.

    Reply
  2. Jerrymacgp

    Neither Kenney nor Ford offered the ScheerCons what they needed most to prevail in this election: appealing to the wider electorate beyond their hard-core base. Both are polarizing figures that can drive turnout among committed conservative voters, but also drive strategic voting among those who fear their influence on public policy.

    If the Conservatives are ever going to be more than an Alberta-Saskatchewan regional rump, they are going to have to rediscover their pre-merger Progressive Conservative legacy and offer Canadians a less doctrinaire vision of conservatism. As things sit right now, their strongest support is in the least-densely populated parts of the country, not an effective strategy for growth in a “rep-by-pop” electoral system.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Federal election results show why abandoning ‘social license’ was a dumb idea for Alberta’s oilpatch - Alberta Politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.