My theory, which got and update, is clearly wrong, and the comment on that theory, seems to have been right; at least the first part.
I thus present a new timeline and a new theory. For this we need to go back to 2003, where I will share a story that I've not really posted in public until now. It's been 17 years, so I'll share what I knew and how I came to know it.
First, I want to let you know what made this click for me. What made me realize Harper was the guy behind it, all of it. It was this video, which was taken down of course. I want to note, however, the real possibility, that this screenshot, is a fake. but we do have a link "VUsKr3Seo9U" though the video was not up for long enough to have been crawled by any websites.
Now, lets go back to 2003. I'm just a nerd who likes politics, and works at Burger King. I'm 18, going on 19. Its September, and the big news is the Canadian Alliance and PC Party are talking about maybe merging, but it seems to be going nowhere. I'm working at BK cleaning tables when I overhear two customers, one of whom says something about "MacKay" and "Merger". This catches my attention and I make eye contact with both of them very briefly as I'm clearly within earshot. It then seems they both judge that some 18 year old burger flipper is no political threat to them, so, they continue to talk unabated.
Sadly, the discussion is not about the upcoming merger. It's about the 2003 PC convention. The bald man is telling his friend about how he was there, and, about some drama.
You see he was a MacKay delegate. And as a (some kind of position in the provincial PC party) he had access to information that normal joe-schmoe delegates did not. The first ballot came in and MacKay had 1080 votes, compared to 640 for David Orchard, who held views far more consistent with the Liberal Party. The two other candidates were Jim Prentice, the pro-merger Candidate, and Scott Brison. Prentice had taken 478 votes, while Brison took 431.
But. Delegates were allowed to change their mind. They'd been elected to back specific candidates, but, no candidate was going to be dropped on the first ballot due to the actions of Craig Chandler, and, they could vote for anyone else on the second. It was widely known that Brison had picked up delegates in the interim. The question was, how many.
You see Brison and Prentice had openly signed a deal to transfer delegates. If one of them is defeated, the other will send over all his delegates. Thus one of two things was going to happen. Either Prentice would beat Brison, Brison would send over his delegates, Prentice would go up against MacKay, Orchard would be defeated, and then Orchard's delegates would lean more MacKay than Prentice (due to Prentice being so pro-merger) and MacKay would win. This is what ended up happening. There was, however, another possibility...
All of this, by the way, are things I already knew just from being a political nerd. What I learned was the following.
Some high ranking people in the MacKay campaign realized that no matter what, MacKay is dropping votes on the 2nd ballot. Thus dropping a few more won't matter as much in terms of 'momentum'. They talked to 7 delegates, and told all 7 to not vote for MacKay on the 2nd ballot, but to vote for Prentice. Two of them apparently decided to vote MacKay anyway. 5, however, voted for Prentice.
On the 2nd ballot, Prentice defeated Brison by a vote of 466 to 463.
The bald man kept mentioning "what was 7, then 5, was 3" when talking about this.
It was about here that they noticed I was clearly listening in, and decided to wrap up their conversation.
What's interesting is what happens if you look at the alternate history.
Brison, unlike Prentice, was not so keen on the merger. Brison also was much more progressive. It is not unreasonable to think that had Prentice thrown his delegates to Brison, that Orchard would have too. Brison then would have become leader of the PC Party.
This means that we almost certainly do not see a merger prior to the 2004 election. Remember that in this election, the only reason the Liberals won a minority despite a massive scandal was that Harper and the newly merged CPC were still 'too scary'. Brison is anything but. Polls had suggested the PC Party had returned to 2nd place, though, only slightly, and was able to beat the Alliance in key areas. Various merger questions in polls also heavily suggested Liberals would have been far more willing to vote PC than the merged party; and, that 2000 PC voters, heavily broke for the Liberal Party in parts of Ontario, Quebec, and Western Canada, instead of voting for the CPC.
A Scott Brison lead PC Party could have won at least a minority in 2004, if not a Majority.
That is why, I estimate, that MacKay and Brison, had such a strong working relationship within the PC Party for the short time MacKay lead it. Brison, this theory says, knew about this 'trick' and felt MacKay 'owed' him. It is because of this that Brison followed MacKay along when the merger happened and voted for the merger... only to cross the floor 4 days later.
This brings us to the crux of my theory.
MacKay, just as he discarded the Orchard deal when he didn't need it anymore, discarded Brison's deal. Why?
He had a new one.
With Stephen Harper.
Now I can't tell you the exact wording, but, it makes sense the deal was something along the lines of "When I'm done being leader, I'll support you to become leader. But you gotta support, or at least, not stand in my way, to becoming leader right now."
Thus MacKay withdrew from the leadership, and Harper becomes the first CPC leader.
So, why did he not run in 2017?
Simply, he wasn't in position. Its likely he and Harper spoke about it, and they agreed that they deal can be extended, and MacKay could simply run at another date.
So the clock ticks on by
Until October 30th, 2019.
Peter MacKay's phone rings. Its Jean Charest. He's running for CPC leader, and wants MacKay's support.
This kicks everything off, as it did in my original theory. I even noted at the time I saw the first news story that MacKay's rejection of this was extreme and forceful. Now we have an idea as to why. It's quite likely MacKay called Harper after this and reminded him of the deal. Harper then told MacKay the deal is still on, and MacKay took some time to think.
Until December 12th, 2019.
Or possibly the night before. Regardless, this theory says MacKay contacted Harper and told him it was on. Harper then started putting everything into motion.
Scheer comes tumbling down. I still think Baird and Poilievre were behind this, acting on information from Harper. The difference here is that Harper had simply put the two of them up to it, rather than this being their masterful scheme.
Everything else then falls into place as previously mentioned.
Charest is out. Ambrose is not running. Poilievre has changed his mind. It's quite likely O'Toole also decided to sit things out, maybe even Rempel too. In fact, if both of them sit this election out, MacKay almost certainly wins on the first ballot. If both decide to run, MacKay will then 'only' take around 40%-45% of the points on the first round.
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