The new conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has told the news media that he does not pivot. That presents an interesting problem for his speech writers as we head down the road to the next federal election. That election could be as far away as three years. Will the anguish of the pandemic still be with us? Can prime minister Justin Trudeau be goaded into calling an election while the anger still rides high?
Are these extremes of anger still those that came with the pandemic? Was it the confusion of the lock downs and the isolation and the loneliness? Was it just the fear of some people of vaccines? Or was it the medical assumption of 100 per cent participation in being vaccinated? Maybe it was the fear of crowds, the fear of contamination? Or the fear for our lives? Yet this type of anger will ease over time. Some might never lose it. Others will control it.
As the pandemic gets less of the news cycle, world-wide inflation and the war in the Ukraine are feeding fresh anger. Mr. Poilievre has helped build that anger when he blames inflation on prime minister Trudeau and threatens the governor of the Bank of Canada.
Mr. Poilievre needs that anger to feed his campaign. He needs to hold on to that stridency and urgency. He uses the anger. He uses it as a replacement for clear and logical plans for Canada’s future. He has none.
Without the anger, people will realize that Pierre Poilievre is a sham. He is no populist. The last Prairie populist to be leader of the conservatives in Canada was John Diefenbaker. I admired John Diefenbaker. He really was a man of the people. I was doing on-air commentaries at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens as a liberal observer in 1967 when the conservative party chose Robert Stanfield to replace him as leader. One thing, for sure, Pierre Poilievre is no John Diefenbaker
Populism is simply not compatible with conservatism. Speaking out about vague elites is hardly an endorsement of populism. Saying that the prime minister could be personally responsible for inflation in Canada is rabble-rousing. Threatening to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada is neither populist nor conservative. It is laying blame for inflation where it also does not belong.
Nor is the Bank of Canada planning on going into the cryptocurrencies business. Mr. Poilievre should listen more carefully to the bank’s official statements.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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