Monday, December 14, 2015

Will "The Princess of Blarney" pee on The Kingdom of "Justin The Good" and "Sophia The Hyphenated" in 2019?

Caroline Mulroney Lapham could be Tories' heir apparent

Christina Blizzard/Queen's Park Columnist
Saturday, December 12, 2015

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and daughter Caroline. (The Canadian Press/Darren Calabrese)

She’s beautiful, fluently bilingual and well-educated.

And she’s Justin Trudeau’s worst nightmare.

Caroline Mulroney Lapham, the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, is the best choice to be the new leader of the federal Conservative party, many Tory insiders believe.

Like Trudeau, she has an impeccable political pedigree and is glamorous. She’s also very smart.

The married mother of four graduated cum laude from Harvard and has a law degree from New York University.

This is a critical time for the Tories as they cast around for a new leader. They can’t ignore the new kind of star factor that Trudeau brings to politics.

If the Tories choose a leader who falls into the same-old middle-aged-white-guy model, they’ll languish in the political wilderness for a decade. Trudeau represents a generation shift in federal politics. The Tories must make their own changes to adjust.

In 2009, Caroline wowed a crowd of 2,000 Tories in Montreal, gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the election of the Mulroney government. She introduced her dad.

“Caroline was the surprise introducer of the guest of honour — surprise since only she and the organizers knew she would deliver this speech — and a surprise because everyone in the audience was impressed by her poise, her perfect French and English and her command of the room,” recalls one person who was there that night.

“She certainly has the smarts and the glamour to offset the current prime minister in any future election — everyone in the room that night would agree,” said the Tory insider.

Caroline’s also active on the charitable front: she’s on the board of the SickKids Foundation and is the co-founder of The Shoebox Project, which collects and distributes gifts, in shoeboxes, to women in shelters. She works in the investment industry in Toronto.

While Caroline doesn’t have a seat in the House of Commons, that’s not seen as a major obstacle. Her lack of political experience is seen as an advantage, since she won’t wear any of the mistakes of the Stephen Harper government.

She hasn’t publicly expressed any interest in the job, but a growing number of prominent Conservatives believe she’s the person to renew the party’s fortunes.

Her father spoke out recently about the need for the party to “review, renew and rebuild.” In a speech to the Albany Club on Nov. 5, Brian Mulroney said the party needs to adopt a tone of optimism and put principle ahead of popularity.

That’s a powerful message for a party that has to regroup and rebuild.

It wasn’t so much the substance of Conservative policies that sank them in the Oct. 19 election — it was their style. Harper was an able leader who competently steered the country through tough economic times. It was his scorched earth tone, a certain meanness, that turned voters off.

The party has to find a leader who can unite the different factions — from the old-style Reformers to those who see the way forward as a kinder, gentler conservatism.

Tories I’ve spoken to say Caroline Mulroney has the street cred to do that. She has the ability to bring the party together. A number of key Tory organizers are already behind her. She also has the ability to raise money and restore the party so it can win a majority government in the next election.

Caroline Mulroney is the perfect person to lead the Tories.

Two degrees, successful private sector career. Handsome spouse. Beautiful family.

Oh, and better hair than Justin Trudeau.

Who is Caroline Mulroney?
Age: 41
Parents: Brian and Mila
Brothers: Ben, Mark and Nicolas
Married: Andrew Lapham, 2000
Four children: Lewis H. Lapham III, twins Pierce Lapham and Elizabeth Theodora Lapham, and Miranda Brooke Lapham.

Christina Blizzard Queen's Park Columnist

Christina Blizzard is the Queen's Park Columnist for QMI. She has covered provincial politics since 1994, and is the author of Right Turn: How the Tories Took Ontario, a book chronicling the rise to power of Mike Harris and his Common Sense Revolutionaries in 1995. She has covered four provincial elections and four premiers - Bob Rae, Mike Harris, Ernie Eves and Dalton McGuinty. Prior to arriving at Queen's Park, she spent many years at Toronto City Hall and the school board trying, unsuccessfully, to use her laptop computer as a blunt instrument to inculcate the values of thrift and respect for taxpayers' money in councillors, trustees and bureaucrats. In her spare time, Blizzard teaches editorial and column writing at Centennial College, is a past president of the Legislative Press Gallery and a board member of the community newspaper, the Beach Metro News. She's worked for the Sun since it started as well as for The Guardian in London, England and the now defunct Toronto Telegram.


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