Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday April 26, 2022
Pierre Poilievre’s infuriating campaign to be Canada’s Conservative leader
In September, Canadian Conservatives will choose their next leader. The last two, Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole, will go down in history as a couple of one-and-dones — leaders who ran against a prime minister, failed to form a government and were ousted by their party soon after. Never mind that each won more votes than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party. Parliamentary democracy doesn’t simply tabulate the popular vote and declare a winner. Only seat count and the capacity to command the confidence of the House of Commons matter, and the two most recent Conservative leaders couldn’t get the job done. The next one might.
Of the leadership candidates, member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre is particularly infuriating and reckless. He peddles an angry and appealing message: that Canadians are getting screwed, and he’s here to save them. The recklessness isn’t so much in the tone of his messaging — folks ought to be angry at an economic and political system that structurally marginalizes, underpays and excludes them — but rather Poilievre’s plan, or lack thereof, to address the underlying causes of discontent while demonizing the state capacity that will be necessary for reform.
Poilievre is a market fundamentalist and ideologue. He believes government is the problem, deficits and debts are a threat to the well-being of this generation of Canadians and the next, cryptocurrency is the solution to inflation, and the carbon tax must go because it’s wasteful and useless. He believes in the libertarian conception of freedom all the way. In February, he boosted the occupiers in Ottawa — a convoy of truckers and hangers-on who besieged the city for a month — saying he was “proud” of and stood with them.