It was Andrew Scheer's fatal flaw, the one that more than all the others cost him the election.
His religious fanaticism that made it impossible for many women and LGBT Canadians to trust him.
So not surprisingly those who would replace Scheer are desperate not to make the same mistake.
And one leadership candidate, Pierre Poilievre, is even trying to whitewash his past.
In a recent interview with La Presse, Poilievre is quoted as saying that he wants the Cons to turn the page on abortion rights and gay marriage.
I support gay marriage. Period. I voted against it 15 years ago. But I learned a lot like millions of people all over Canada and the world. I note that gay marriage is a success. The institution of marriage must be open to all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation.
Poilievre is also claiming that if he was prime minister his government would not introduce any anti-abortion bills, and would make sure no private member's bills would be adopted either.
Which sounds all fine and good, but unfortunately for him his vile voting record speaks for itself.
It reveals him to be a stealthy religious fanatic, as bad or worse than Scheer.
And what makes him so dangerous is that he is both an aggressive partisan and a political chameleon.
Susan Riley on Pierre Poilievre - He is defined by his personal ambition, extreme aggression & high partisanship— G.T. Lem (@gtlem) January 19, 2020
Public finds him distasteful. BUT he's a political chameleon - able to change on a dime - so there'll be calculating re-tooling of his image next few months #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/F7LpBz8dgv
A Con chameleon who could hide his real views until him and his Cons are elected, and then bring down a fascist darkness on millions of Canadians.
Just like Scheer would have done.
For the only way Poilievre and any of the other candidates can hope to win the Con leadership race is by throwing red meat at the social conservatives.
This former Harper adviser warns that dumping them would be a big mistake.
It’s far from clear that abandoning social conservatives would be the electoral boon that many anticipate. It could just as easily set the Conservative party further back from winning elections — especially when one considers the disproportionate contribution that social conservatives make in the form of donations, volunteer hours and votes. That as many as one-third of current Conservatives MPs are said to be pro-life may be a good proxy for where Conservative voters stand.
It’s not a policy position that can just be adjusted or discarded. It’s how conservatives are wired. Political strategists can’t change that.
The idea that the Conservative party would be better off without them is misguided. The party won’t expand its electoral base if it starts by cleaving off one of the biggest pieces. And it won’t be able to offer Canadians a clear, conservative alternative if it jettisons traditional values.
So sooner or later all the leadership candidates will have to reach out to the religious fanatics, as Erin O'Toole is doing here.
I agree, we can’t win by making the Party smaller. There’s a home in the CPC for ALL Conservatives. #cdnpoli #cpc https://t.co/SXk5QSfseL— Erin O'Toole (@ErinOTooleMP) January 17, 2020
Which leaves the ugly Cons caught between a rock and a hard place.They're doomed if they try to dump their social conservative supporters, and they're doomed if they don't.
And with a little bit of luck, when those values collide, they will tear the Harper Party apart...
The more things change, the more they stay the same...
The Cons are and always will be the party of religious bigots.
And no decent Canadians should ever vote for them...