This article, "Neither Trudeau nor Poilievre is shooting straight these days", by Shachi Kurl, President of the Angus Reid Institute, made me think a lot about the next federal election in Canada. It lays bare the many recent mistakes and inherent flaws of Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre: "The prime minister is always his own greatest asset and worst liability. And the Official Opposition leader can't resist scorching the earth, no matter the issue."
My take: we are stuck with Poilievre as Conservative Leader due to that party base's bad instincts around what constitutes good leadership in today's Canada. Poilievre won by such an overwhelming margin last year despite his enormous flaws as a leader and politician. After previous similarly flawed choices like Erin O'Toole, Andrew Scheer and even Stephen Harper, it's clear Conservative Party members aren't interested in making nice with Canada's progressive majority. It's a recipe for frequent defeat, as long as the progressive coalition that keeps electing Liberals holds up.
Poilievre's nastiness on its own is not going to sweep Canada anytime soon. However, his strategy, in my mind, remains not to boost Conservative support by reaching out to moderate Canadians, but instead to deflate and degrade support for all other parties and to push down voter turnout. He wants Canadians to become cynical and feel hopeless about their democracy, so they decide not to vote. His attacks on the alleged foreign interference in recent Canadian elections are designed to do just that. Poilievre hopes that Conservatives will still turn out in droves to give his party enough seats to form a government.
This was Doug Ford's strategy in 2022, done to great success with the inadvertent help from mediocre opposition leaders Andrea Horwath and Steven Del Duca. Of course, Ford's brand of conservatism is more mainstream and moderate than Poilievre's and an easier sell in Ontario. Poilievre meanwhile still refuses to publicly condemn his own MPs for flirting with hard-right fascists. Poilievre clearly thinks motivating his Conservative base plus some wing nuts from the People's Party/convoy movement is all he needs to win in Canada, provided progressive Canadians are divided or not voting.
Justin Trudeau, while on a bit of a roll late last year and in January, is once again showing his more usual bad instincts with his handling of the recent controversy over alleged foreign interference in Canadian elections. We may have hit a point when Canadians, progressive Canadians included, decide they've had enough of the Justin Trudeau show. That dislike or fatigue with Trudeau could drive down progressive turnout and make it impossible for the Grits to hang on.
I am starting to believe that Trudeau may no longer be the Liberals' best bet to take on the threat posed by Poilievre's regressive Conservatives. It might be better instead for the Liberal Party to seek renewal and change within and find a new leader and team to take them into the 2025 election. No doubt, Canadians would give a new leader a new look, hoping for something better than what we've gotten since 2015. Against the unknown horrors that Poilievre might bring, Canadians might give the new Liberal leader a chance.
But if Trudeau remains, I am starting to fear he's not going to be able to stop Poilievre. And that would be horrible for Canada.
T's ego won't do the right thing
'lil pp is in next
So true. Matt
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