Meet the CPC convention speakers
A leading Brexiter and a cancelled ex-general. What's up with that?
The last time Michel Maisonneuve gave a big speech, he got a standing ovation and a week’s worth of headlines. The organization that honoured him issued a statement saying he didn’t speak for them. Another group that had asked him to lead its fundraising campaign instead sought and received his resignation. Political scientists who attended the speech called it “really problematic” and “an embarrassment.”
The next time Maisonneuve gives a big speech will be Sept. 7 in Quebec City at the Conservative Party of Canada’s national convention.
The decision to invite Maisonneuve — a retired Canadian Armed Forces Lieutenant-General whose speech accepting the Vimy Award last November provoked considerable controversy — to give a keynote speech at the first Conservative convention under Pierre Poilievre’s leadership is a surprise.
So is the choice of Daniel Hannan, a not-particularly-prominent figure in British politics whose eternal effect on a small number of Canadian Conservatives resembles the effect of catnip on cats. This will be Hannan’s second speech to a Conservative convention. The first was in Halifax in 2018. It produced the photo above. The red ball cap was a joke; I’ll leave it to him to explain it.
I’m not going to claim these speaker choices are “controversial.” There is no pre-existing controversy that I’m aware of. But to me these choices are interesting, surprising, and at some level difficult to understand. At first I also thought they were terrible choices. I’m less sure of that now. But if nothing else, the choice of Hannan and Maisonneuve offers hints about what a Pierre Poilievre Conservative Party values.
As a bonus, this news gave me a chance to do something I didn’t know I wanted to do: to reconsider the uproar over Michel Maisonneuve’s Vimy Gala speech. This newsletter doesn’t often wade into debates over “cancel culture,” but it looks like this is your lucky day.