Pierre Poilievre: Same old guy, same old policies

Posted on September 14, 2023 in Governance Debates

Source: — Authors:

TheStar.com – Opinion
September 14, 2023.   By Bob Hepburn Star Columnist

Despite his image makeover and hype about how he’s a changed man, Poilievre clings to long-held policies that run counter to the views of most Canadians. 

Pierre Poilievre is riding high this week as he celebrates the first anniversary of his election as leader of the federal Conservatives.

His party is far ahead of the Liberals and the New Democrats in the polls, he’s silenced virtually all his critics within the party and his Conservatives are swimming in cash.

Poilievre won the leadership last September by promoting himself as a political attack dog, exploiting voters’ fears and fuelling their anger toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while simultaneously emboldening extremists inside and outside the party with promises to “restore their freedoms.”

A year later Poilievre is now trying to portray himself as a new man, ditching his glasses to give him a softer, different image and releasing professionally-produced videos of him and his wife Anaida as a caring couple who feel the pain of ordinary Canadians struggling to meet ends meet.

Don’t be fooled, though!

Despite all the hype about his image makeover and how he’s a changed man, Poilievre is the same old guy with the same old policies and personal style that he embraced during his party leadership campaign.

And, just as important, he continues to fuel the rage and hate that resides in many of his hard-line followers who despise Trudeau, the federal government and, in many cases, anything that they believe restricts their “freedom.”

For months now, Poilievre has been hammering away at Trudeau, citing as the reason “everything in Canada is broken,” from housing affordability to inflation, unemployment, low productivity rates and more. Recently, Poilievre was captured on video calling Trudeau and his late father Pierre “Marxists.”

And he kept up the attacks on Trudeau at last week’s party convention in Quebec City where he fired up delegates with a rallying cry of about talking “common sense,” a slogan stolen straight from the “Common Sense Revolution” platform touted by Ontario Conservative leader Mike Harris in the 1995 provincial election.

At the same time, the “new” Poilievre still clings to his old, long-held policies that run counter to the views of most Canadians.

On COVID vaccines, he remains firmly opposed to any move to make them mandatory for critical professions, a stand that may become more contentious as health experts warn of an uptick in new COVID cases.

On the truckers’ convoy and other anti-vaccine protests, he remains firmly on their side, taking months before he would even offer a tepid criticism of the “F*ck Trudeau” flags that were commonly waved at such protests.

On climate change, he pledges to “axe the (carbon) tax and encourage more oil and gas development in Canada, but offers no environmental plan to tackle global warming. He blames the carbon tax for forcing “1.5 million people to food banks,” although there is zero evidence to back up that statement.

On health care, he has said nothing to indicate he would oppose moves to open the doors to more private health services.

On the CBC, he remains firmly committed to slashing its budget.

On cryptocurrency, Poilievre still hasn’t rolled back any of his early cheerleading support for the volatile cryptocurrencies even though the collapse of several crypto exchanges have cost many Canadians vast sums of money.

On taxes, he vows to cut paycheque taxes, but refuses to say where he would cut spending to make up for lost revenue, while at the same time vowing to increase spending on areas such as the military and giving more help for homeowners.

Obviously, Poilievre’s main job as Opposition leader is to oppose the governing party’s policies, not to offer detailed alternatives on a wide array of issues. Still, his lack of policy specifics to date on key issues facing Canada is stunning.

As political strategists know, many voters always desire change, hoping there may be something better. In doing so, they feel they must pull down an old leader — for the novelty of a new leader.

But beyond removing his glasses, there’s nothing novel or new about Poilievre.


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