As we navigate an increasingly polarized society, some policy experts say the divide is also widening within parties.

On this week’s episode of Maxed Out, host Max Fawcett chats with Ken Boessenkool. Boessenkool has been a conservative strategist for more than 20 years. He’s worked with former prime minister Stephen Harper and premiers like Ralph Klein and Christy Clark.

As someone who has worked with the biggest veterans of conservative parties, Max wanted to know what Boessenkool thinks about the policies of the new kids on the block.

First up is Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, who, for Boessenkool, presents some not-very conservative traits.

“Danielle Smith came to power supported by a set of policies. They rode in on anti-vax, anti-measures to deal with COVID, which I consider to be anathema to conservatives who believe in medicine,” said Boessenkool.

Maxed Out Episode 9 Quote Danielle Smith

And Max wouldn’t be Max if he didn’t ask about Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre and his possible future in Ottawa.

“If Pierre starts communicating to [people] on housing issues, and the Liberals come up flat, you could see all these people who voted for the first time in higher numbers for [Justin] Trudeau in 2015 actually turning out and electing Pierre Poilievre," said Boessenkool.

Boessenkool gives Poilievre high marks for his communication on economic matters. But he takes issue with the party leader’s “factual correctness” on some of the things he says. Boessenkool also weighs in on Poilievre’s disadvantage going into the next election season in 2025.

Conservative strategist @KenBoessenkool reflects on what he thinks about the policies of the new kids on the block, like Alberta Premier Danielle Smith and Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre. #MaxedOut #Episode9

As Boessenkool takes us through the traditional structure and outlook of the Conservative Party over the years, he also sheds light on the impact far-right ideologies have on the mainstream conservative circle.

“I used to say that the members of the Conservative Party live on a different planet than the voters of the Conservative Party,” says Boessenkool. “But what I say today is that the members of conservative parties in Canada live in a different solar system than the voters of the Conservative Party.”

Maxed Out Episode 9 Quote Conservative Party

To get all the insights into the current state of the Conservative Party, make sure you listen to Episode 9 of Maxed Out on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Maxed Out is made possible by listeners like you. If you’ve supported the podcast already, thank you. If you haven’t, click here to donate what you can to help us keep producing valuable journalism.

Got questions or comments? Email us at [email protected].

You can also follow us on Twitter @NatObserver.

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And all this money to unsuccessfully appease Alberta

So he's saying the REAL conservatives differ from the current leadership do they?
This reminds me of how the former Progressive Conservatives (from Lougheed's heyday) viewed the Harper iteration associated with this guy. The potential split is cheering.
And speaking of REAL, I hope Max pressed him hard about HIS trusty CPC voting that climate change ISN'T, not to mention how they don't even bother hiding that despite a clear majority of Canadians growing more and more worried, ESPECIALLY since he's openly contemptuous of the denial of science around covid!
It should also be pointed out to him that until Harper came along, medicine wasn't something that we even discussed in terms of whether or not it was BELIEVED in, as Boesenkool puts it, nor was sciencde itself. And in that context, no PM had ever said "God bless Canada" either.
The fact that this guy even consented to an interview with Max and somehow remains so smug and sanguine about his part in conservatism over the last 20 years when, by his own admission, it hasn't improved by ANY measure (quite the contrary, Poilievre tells the tale) speaks to a massive ego and/or total obliviousness.
I'd suggest that Ken Boesenkool can stand next to Preston Manning in the infamy department and shouldn't have been given any air time.

I'm not interested in hearing what the guest had to say, but I find telling their choice of the final word in the following phrase:

"They rode in on anti-vax, anti-measures to deal with COVID, which I consider to be anathema to conservatives who believe in medicine,” said Boessenkool.

Most people would use the phrase "believe in science", but apparently the guest wouldn't go that far; that is, at least, consistent for someone who consulted Stephen Harper, a fellow who was, and presumably remains, more than happy to ignore and burn science results that conflicted with his singular desires for policy and society.