What kept MP Pierre Poilievre away from the conservative leadership’s last debate for this year? Did he have anything to lose? Did he not want to be the target one more time? What was worth the $50,000 fine for missing the event? Was there some point he was making? Will he ever tell us?
And was the debate even worth watching when the reputed front runner refuses to show? It was the Jean Charest show. An old pro, the former Quebec premier got in some final digs at his divisive rival. You have to admit, Poilievre is not you grandmother’s conservative.
It was just a trio of the old boys striving to put on a good show. It was Charest with sidesman Scott Aitchison from Parry Sound—Muskoka and the hapless Roman Baber—and God only knows what he was doing there.
But it was really all about the man who was not there. MP Leslyn Lewis was also not there and hardly forgotten. Not when the other candidates where thinking of her social conservatives and their second choice. Nobody was badmouthing her.
It was Charest who got in the best licks—in case they mattered. Everyone knew who he was talking about when he said that Canadians want a government with a real economic plan for the country.
What Charest had not forgotten was that there some 250,000 members of the conservative party in Canada when this leadership round was started. These were the real conservatives. They were not Patrick Brown’s South Asian diaspora. And they certainly were not Poilievre’s friends.
I hardly think it is fair to call his fellow travellers ‘truckers.’ The real truckers are hard-working types who want to make a living. What the Carleton MP has is a polyglot of the angry, the disenfranchised, the losers, the immature and the partnerships in the extreme right of Canadian politics. Probably about 50 per cent of Poilievre’s short-term sign-ups will remember or care enough to vote.
Even without a dog in the race, we will watch the results on September 10 with considerable interest. Maybe, sometime in the future, the conservative party is going to learn that its leadership rules do not seem to be producing the desired results.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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