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Pierre Poilievre …Canadas Future


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“ I honestly feel Pierre Polievre  has the right blend of English and French, the interests of east and west, and an understanding of how to rebuild Canada's economy while looking after those impacted the most by runaway printing of money.His popularity is based on an understanding of citizens needs, not the favors owed to the Laurntian elite and their lobbyists. Electing Pierre  would be a paradigm  shift in Canada's patterns of leadership. I fully expect the usual bleating of hidden agendas and digging up of divisive sound takes and all the other filthy politics we've  been used to from the hooker media and leftist Karen's!”

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Going after Canada’s elite gatekeepers could be a winning strategy for the next Conservative leader

Affordability is a prime issue of concern for many Canadians right now

Pierre Poilievre is the heavy favourite and clear frontrunner to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. Facing off against a government that will likely be close to a decade old at that point, there’s a good chance he may well be the next non-Liberal prime minister.

Unlike the last Conservative leadership race in which the supposed frontrunner Peter MacKay ended up losing, Poilievre’s status as frontrunner is not simply a media narrative. He is a darling of partisans and the Conservative base, and his name recognition and social media popularity dwarf that of any other federal Conservative politician. Unless something unexpected happens, he will be the next Conservative leader.

This gives Poilievre the luxury of being able to look ahead a bit, and think about his campaign a bit differently than other prospective candidates. The fatal flaw of his predecessor, Erin O’Toole, was probably running a leadership campaign as one thing and then pivoting to something else in order to win a general election. It didn’t work and he’s now gone.

Poilievre would be wise to avoid the mistakes of his predecessor and try to figure out a way to campaign for and win the Conservative leadership and then use and build upon that foundation in a general election. But this is much easier said than done of course. The selectorate that elect Conservative leaders is quite different than the broader voting population. So how can he thread this needle? Fortunately for Poilievre, he may already have the answer.

Last spring, Poilievre gave a speech from the floor of the House of Commons he called “The Gatekeepers” that he also tested out on his social media accounts. It got fairly positive attention at the time, and Poilievre should return to it and expand upon it. This gatekeepers message could form the basis of a vision and agenda not just for his leadership campaign, but for his prospective leadership of the party itself. It is a compelling message, one that likely has wider appeal whilst also threading the needle and being appetizing enough for the Conservative Party base.

In the speech, Poilievre basically outlines how powerful interests and voices exercise their influence at the expense of the broader society, including those who lack similar pedigree or connections. He starts, for instance, by going after progressive downtown NIMBYs who prevented an expansion of the Billy Bishop Airport in the City of Toronto and then moves into NIMBYs that are locking a generation out of the housing market in major cities across the country.

He then targeted Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem for a letter he sent to a zoning review process to prevent the construction of a daycare in his wealthy Toronto neighbourhood. Basically no one who uses his or her power to advance their interests at the expense of the community is spared. Poilievre goes after bureaucrats stifling entrepreneurs and business owners, rent-seekers demanding public policy tilt in their favour, and politicians who oversee the whole system as a matter of political self-interest or class affinity.

He explicitly discusses the rising dislocation and hopelessness many young Canadians feel about their economic prospects in this country. He goes after petty bureaucrats with absurd rules that make people’s lives harder and prevent Canadians from helping each other, such as a man taken to court by city hall for trying to build a shelter for homeless people. He goes after activists preventing economic development on Indigenous land. Interprovincial trade barriers are attacked. Poilievre essentially paints a picture of bureaucratic and well-connected elite gatekeepers who are stifling growth and opportunities for ordinary people.

Let’s start with why it’s a winning conservative message for his leadership campaign. The conservative movement in Canada has always been relatively fractious, but real fissures are emerging in it right nowthat cut deep and pose real challenges for Conservative leaders. The gatekeepers message checks a lot of boxes that should be able to keep different divides in this fractious coalition happy.

It allows Poilievre to hit a lot of bread and butter issues for the Conservative base, things like red tape and bureaucracy, deregulation, small government, and economic issues. This remains the way that many Tories think of themselves and what their conservatism is ultimately about. But the way it’s framed, attacking gatekeepers purportedly holding ordinary and hard-working Canadians back, has an undeniable populist edge to it.

The rhetorical hallmark of populism is to build narratives around a people versus an elites framing. It can take many different forms, and who these elites and people are varies widely depending on the populist we’re talking about. The elites in this message are essentially political elites whose actions hold back the so-called “little guy”—ordinary Canadians who just want to own a home and make a living. There is undoubtedly something of a populist moment in the Canadian right at the moment, and this is a particular framing that can resonate with the Tory base whilst not giving in to the darker and more sinister populist temptation.

Canada’s chattering classes will most likely chafe at this message, and while it may not please the bien-pensants, it is one that is perfectly within the realms of legitimate democratic rhetoric. If anything, it may be a healthy way of releasing some steam on the building populist anger. More importantly, this message, whilst pugilistic, is not dark in the way populist rhetoric can be and isn’t going to automatically alienate anyone who isn’t already on board with this. It has the potential, done right, to resonate with a wide swathe of the population that isn’t just the traditional older, whiter, and more rural Conservative voter base.

The Hub’s editor-at-large Sean Speer has written persuasively that the present moment is one in which progressive ideas are firmly ascendant. The pandemic brought about an expansion of government involvement in people’s lives along with much necessary additional public expenditure, which has put conservatives on the backfoot. This gatekeepers message might allow Poilievre to push back on this by shifting the political agenda to basic issues of affordability, cost of living, the housing crisis, sluggish economic performance, and questions about jobs and the economy more broadly. These are much more comfortable issues for Conservatives like Poilievre, and these are issues of concern for many Canadians now.

Conservatives have tried this before. Affordability was a key part of Conservative messaging in the 2019 federal election. It didn’t have the breakthrough effect Conservatives would have been hoping for, but in case you haven’t noticed, the world has changed a fair bit in the subsequent years. This message may not have resonated the way Andrew Scheer and his team would have hoped for in 2019, but it could land differently today especially if framed under the broader gatekeepers umbrella.

In the Liberals, Poilievre’s Conservatives have a perfect opponent for this message as well. The Liberals seem uninterested in seriously addressing questions of economic growth and affordability, and as the natural governing party they are undoubtedly the party of Canada’s elites. Aiming at these gatekeepers could be a potent strategy against a Liberal Party approaching a decade in government, with more than one scandal under its belt that involved benefits for well-connected friends.

The kinds of people Poilievre can reach with this message might not be the typical people you would expect, but could help build a somewhat idiosyncratic and surprisingly potent electoral coalition. The Hub contributor Karamveer Lalh put together a good Twitter threadthat illustrates well exactly what this coalition could look like. It isn’t what you’d expect based on some abstract narratives of the left behind people of Canada, it’s something different. As Lalh explains, “there is a class of folks who feel left behind by the current financial reality. Who are these folks? They’re young people who live in suburbs, particularly the suburbs of Vancouver and Toronto i.e. the most important electoral region in the country…These folks can’t afford to move out of their parent’s homes. Well no kidding when single-family homes in Toronto proper cost upwards of $1M. Joe Toronto makes $70k a year after piling on a bunch of college debt?”

Lalh also explains well the connection between this world and the growing world of cryptocurrency, in which there is growing interest from the Conservative Party and Poilievre himself, whose criticisms of the Bank of Canada have earned him much admiration amongst the “crypto bros.”

Ultimately these ordinary Canadians are ethnically diverse, live in the electoral battlegrounds of Canada, and are alienated and frustrated with a Canada that seems to them to be holding them back. These are the kinds of people the gatekeepers message is likely to resonate with. And this group of people wedded to the traditional Conservative coalition could be a serious electoral force.

Put all this together, and Poilievre may have the makings of a perfect storm message. It scratches the itch of different parts of the conservative coalition, and it has the potential makings of a winning electoral coalition that could propel the Poilievre-led Conservatives to government. Whilst appealing to both small government and populist types in the conservative movement, it also potentially offers a populist message that appeals to people who feel left behind or screwed over in Canada today, with ire aimed at a clique of gatekeepers who frustrate the goals and aspirations of ordinary Canadians.

Building around this gatekeepers message also allows Poilievre to overcome the perils of authenticity politics. People generally want and like political leaders that come across as authentic, that seem genuine, and don’t come across as B-list actors just performing a role. The nature of authenticity of course is that it can’t be faked. Inauthenticity can’t be overcome by good comms and messaging strategies. Poilievre is something of a fiscal hawk and has a clear populist streak in him.

This kind of messaging and approach comes naturally to him; it doesn’t require him to be something that he isn’t. While Poilievre may not be to everyone’s taste, especially those who are already predisposed to dislike Conservatives, he may already have struck on a message that could form the basis of a winning strategy that addresses the increasingly central issues to many Canadians.

Ben Woodfinden is a doctoral candidate and political theorist at McGill University. In addition to being a Hub contributor, Ben publishes The Dominion newsletter.

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And if anybody thinks Charest might be a better candidate…he has some skeletons in the closet:


Charest’s work with the tech-giant Huawei is the biggest red flag, trumping all questions of his relevance or electability. Huawei has many links to the Chinese government, including Beijing’s surveillance programs used to spy on Uighurs and dissidents. Most Canadians dislike China’s government, especially after it kidnapped and held two Canadian citizens hostage after Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver. Charest was a consultant for Huawei during the entire affair, never once even threatening to step down.


The Globe & Mail reported that Charest said the arrest made Canada look bad, as well as the following in 2020: “Our policy toward China has been hijacked by Donald Trump, we should not be kowtowing to another government with regard to our relationship with China.”


His statement ignores the fact the arrest happened on request from the Americans, as mandated by Canada’s extradition treaty with Washington. Ottawa had little choice unless it chose to break those treaty obligations and cause severe damage to Canada’s relations with the United States.


Charest has indicated that he wants to pursue closer ties with Beijing at a time when Canadian citizens of Chinese heritage are intimidated over the phone by shadowy operatives if they speak condemn Beijing’s human rights abuses. It is the moral equivalent of trying to deepen ties with Russia, China’s ally which is currently terrorizing Ukraine.


Jean Charest may have once been a successful premier, but he has no business running to be leader of the Conservative Party, or even returning to federal politics.


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 It seems a bit late for quick decisions to have immediate effects now. 

It's a bit like investments and warfare IMO, by the time the masses get it, it's already late in the game. My hope is that all of this serves as a lesson for the future and we can muster a collective resolve that outlasts the new years resolution mob at the gym every January.

The roadwork comes before the fight, not after the loss. 

Edited by Wolfhunter
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2 hours ago, Jaydee said:

Compared to Mr Stupid doubledown, at least it’s a start in the right direction.

Yes, but it's not the politicians that concern me, it's the voters. JT is/was a known quantity and to his credit, he's remained pretty consistent and thus predictable. He's either more of a tactical thinker than people give him credit for or he actually listens to his advisers. 

While I disagree with every nail in every plank of his platform, it would be far easier to run JT's war room than that of US Democrats who have become totally unhinged IMO. 

JT is making incremental progress with his agenda by pushing it to the limit and then retreating to safe ground. And all of it with a supportive (and fully payed for) media. That's how it's done.

Canadians need to start voting on policy, and the sooner the better. I perceive that he's lost support in the Maritimes but people here have short memories. If polling data shows a demand for it, he will likely step down prior to the next election. Either way, in the absence of election reform and given the rise in popularity of the PPC (splitting the conservative vote), your next government will also  be liberal... IMO of course.

If I were a provincial politician I would be concerned about the unholy trinity of government, media and a national police force. The inquiry into the NS shooting is a case in point. I would establish a provincial police force then lift that guarded switch and jettison the RCMP soonest.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Is Jean Charest a ‘fiscal conservative?’ Not everyone thinks so

By Stuart Thomson


It may be a sign of things to come that the Conservative Party's leadership race has only one declared candidate and yet the attacks are already flowing.


At an event in Saskatchewan with local MPs, Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre, who has already declared his candidacy for leader, accused former Quebec Premier Jean Charest of raising taxes during his more than nine years in provincial office.


The criticism comes quickly on the heels of an interview in which Charest promised to bring fiscal constraint to Ottawa if he wins the Conservative leadership.


After a meeting with Conservative MPs last week, Charest told the Globe and Mail that he had a strong record as a fiscal conservative when he was Quebec's premier and would not be running as a "red Tory," but as a true conservative, who can appeal to the party's base. Charest promised that he wouldn't be "running against socons" if he joined the race.


Conservative members watching the leadership race should expect a lot more of this kind of skirmishing because, although Charest left office with a budget surplus, his record on fiscal issues drew mixed reviews at the time.


In a 2012 report by the Fraser Institute, Charest's overall fiscal performance was ranked seventh among the ten provincial premiers. He was ahead of only Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, PEI Premier Robert Ghiz, and Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger.


Charest's performance on government spending and deficits and debt was better. He ranked fifth overall amongst his peers on government spending—though still below New Brunswick Premier David Alward, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, and Nova Scotia’s Darrell Dexter—and sixth on deficits and debt. The authors observed that while Charest recorded an annual deficit, on average, over his tenure, he still managed to reduce net debt as a share of the economy due to a combination of some annual surpluses and a growing economy.


The main explanation for the difference with his overall record was his performance on taxation where Charest ranked eighth among the premiers. This mostly reflects some tax increases during his tenure and tax reductions in other provinces over a similar time frame.


These studies compared the policy records of the different premiers on a range of economic and fiscal indicators including the change in government spending, deficits and debt, and changes in taxation over their tenures. The think tank released several annual studies over Charest’s time as premier that evaluated Quebec’s fiscal performance relative to its peers.


The authors relied on a weighting of thirteen measures in these three areas (such as changes in program spending relative to economic growth and inflation or changes in income tax rates) to establish a score out of 100.


Charest hasn't made his mind up about joining the race yet, but has been publicly toying with the idea and trying to shore up support with influential people in the party.


Poilievre supporters have picked up on his line of attack, with Alberta MP Shannon Stubbs declaring that the new leader "must share our values, and respect our policies. I'm against the carbon tax, the long gun registry, and for tax cuts, not tax hikes." Stubbs also posted a photo on Twitter of Charest sharing a laugh with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and described the former premier as a "former Liberal."


Former senator André Pratt defended Charest in the National Post, arguing that he opposed the abolition of the long-gun registry because that's what Quebec voters wanted and that his efforts to improve the province's finances also included income tax cuts.


Pratt admitted that Charest has made decisions that will be unpopular with the Conservative base, but urged voters to focus on beating the Liberals in a national election rather than treating "compromise as treason" in a quest for "partisan purity."


The Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race started to take shape last week. The party released rules that will govern the campaign including its start date, the membership cut-off date, and that September 2 will be the date when the party members select their next leader.


This release of the rules could spark a few entrances into the race, with Charest, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, and commentator Tasha Kheiriddin considering running.


Read this story on our website and tell a friend about The Hub.


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Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis has formally announced that she will run to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, for a second time.

Lewis tweeted the news on Tuesday, stating her campaign will focus on “hope, unity and compassion.”

The Ontario-based lawyer and now MP ran in the party’s 2020 leadership race, placing third behind Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay. Her platform was notably socially conservative.


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