Gary Mar for prime minister of Canada? Don’t giggle: It could happen

Canadian Prime Minister Gary Mar, at left, converses with the leaders of the NDP Opposition in Ottawa, circa 2025. Future Conservative prime ministers, of course, may not be exactly as illustrated. Nice to know that, even in the future, men don’t have to shave their legs. Below: the real Mr. Mar again, and Tommy Douglas and Winston Churchill, two other politicians who experienced setbacks in their political careers.

Gary Mar for prime minister of Canada?

Don’t giggle. It may not be likely, but it could happen.

With Mr. Mar about to leave for a comfortable exile in Asia – but an exile nonetheless – such a notion must seem utterly fanciful.

And surely it’s the last thing from Mr. Mar’s mind at this moment, as anyone who observed his game but pained demeanor – a brittle grin pasted on his face – the night he lost the ballot count, and the premiership of Alberta, to Alison Redford.

But, as Tommy Douglas quoted from an English folk song in similar circumstances: “I am hurt, but I am not slain. I shall lay me down and bleed a while, then rise and fight again.”

So as unlikely as it seems right now that Mr. Mar might rise and fight again, he most likely will – and the eventual leadership of the federal Conservative Party is just the sort of place his laser-like political ambition might focus.

Think about it. In a heck of a lot of ways, Gary Mar would be a powerfully appealing candidate for the unprogressive federal Conservatives in the wake of the leadership of the unsmiling, cynical, ideologically fundamentalist and often capricious Stephen Harper.

Indeed, Mr. Mar really could be a uniter for the Conservatives – just ideologically pure enough to satisfy Mr. Harper’s hard-line legions, cuddly and warm enough to appeal to more Canadians than our edgy and easy-to-distrust prime minister ever could. The leadership of the federal Conservatives might even be a place where his disastrous private health-care faux pas during the Conservative leadership race could be turned to his advantage.

If Mr. Harper is right and his great success has been to make the Conservative Party the new Natural Governing Party of Canada, Mr. Mar is the kind of politician who could broaden and secure such a party’s base.

Moreover, the selection of a politician like Mr. Mar as Tory leader would send a powerful message to the traditionally Liberal immigrant and visible-minority voters the Conservative Party is so assiduously trying to woo. For while Mr. Mar is no immigrant – his family, after all, have been in Canada for more than a century, and he himself was born in Calgary – the fact he is a member of a visible minority is a lesson for us all about what families can achieve when they raise their children in this country, wherever they come from.

Naturally, Mr. Mar would have to have the ambition to press on in spite of the setback he suffered on the first day of this month – but anyone who knows Mr. Mar knows that this is a given.

And he would have to have the political calculation and skills to learn from his mistakes and ensure that he, not to mention his campaign team, don’t repeat them. Again, anyone who knows Mr. Mar knows that this too is well within his capabilities.

Could he be elected as a Member of Parliament upon his return from Asia? In Calgary? Do you need to ask, people?

Could he learn to speak French well enough to pass himself off as prime ministerial timber? I don’t know the answer to this question, but he’s a smart guy and I’m betting that he could certainly learn to speak our other official language better than Stephen Harper does. Perhaps we should keep an eagle eye on the expenses of Alberta’s mission to Asia for signs of a French tutor!

Could the Conservatives countenance another leader from Alberta? Probably not – but maybe if there was another, less successful, one in between….

Normally, of course, losing a political race is not considered a promising harbinger of political success to come – although history is replete with politicians like Winston Churchill who had to spend a sojourn in the wilderness before succeeding in the grandest ways possible.

Ironically, in a scenario like the one described here, Mr. Mar needed to lose the race to become Alberta’s premier. After all, no provincial premier has ever become Canada’s prime minister since Charles Tupper held the job of premier of Nova Scotia for the first three days of Canada’s life in 1867. There is a good reason for this. You can’t be the first minister of all the people when you’ve been as closely identified as one province’s spokesperson as a you must be to be a successful provincial premier.

So at least that’s one millstone that doesn’t hang around Mr. Mar’s neck!

So is he really a likely prime ministerial candidate? Who knows? I certainly don’t. But I’ll tell you one thing. I’m certain we haven’t heard the last of Gary Mar!

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4 Comments on "Gary Mar for prime minister of Canada? Don’t giggle: It could happen"

  1. Bleeding Heart says:

    Charles Tupper
    was both Premier of NS and later became Prime Minister of Canada.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dave, what the f. is wrong with you promoting this guy again? Did you fall on your head? Its shocking to see lefties shameless promote corporate neo-cons. At times, if feels as though some of the lefties are in bed with the neo-cons. Are they Dave?

  3. David J. Climenhaga says:

    I suppose I’ll have to concede Bleeding Heart's point about Charles Tupper, but only very reluctantly and only on a technicality.

    Mr. Tupper, later Sir Charles, was only the premier of a Canadian province for the three days after Canada became a country on July 1, 1867. Before that, it’s true, he’d been the premier of Nova Scotia from the spring of 1864 until July 1867, but for all but the last three and a half days Nova Scotia was a British colony and not a Canadian province. So it would be more accurate to describe him as the former premier of a British colony, not part of Canada, when he became prime minister in May 1896. By the way, he served less time in the job – a mere 69 days – than any other Canadian prime minister.

    I stand by the opinion expressed in the column, although I have amended the column accordingly with BH's point in mind.

    I would add in response to Anonymous 10:11 that there is nothing in this post that indicates any sympathy whatsoever with Mr. Mar's views, only recognition of his undeniable ambition, drive and political talent. To do so is not "promoting this guy," although it does treat him with respect that a worthy opponent deserves. Simply denying the talents of our opponents, and abusing them for their beliefs instead of their harmful policies, is a formula for failure.

  4. Anonymous says:

    @Dave J. your comments in the last paragraph is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    "Simply denying the talents of our opponents, and abusing them for their beliefs instead of their harmful policies, is a formula for failure."

    Hypocritcally speaking, is that not what you did to ALP leader DR. Sherman?


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