Neither Trudeau nor Poilievre is shooting straight these days

by David Korzinski | March 17, 2023 9:28 am

By Shachi Kurl, President

I know duels are outdated, but it’s spring break and I am re-reading the classics, so bear with me and picture this: Two princes (or “eminent Canadians,” if you will). One challenges the other by verbally taking off the gloves and figuratively slapping the face. Dawn breaks. There are imaginary pistols. Ten paces are walked. They draw. They fire … at their own feet. They’ve hobbled themselves. They fall.

Alas, such is not the vignette of Proust, or de Maupassant, but of modern-day Parliament. If this were a buddy movie, it would be Dumb and Dumber[1]. Basically, it is the story of the two political leaders most likely to form government after the next federal election, outdoing themselves in the self-harm department.

Consider the prime minister. Always his own greatest asset and worst liability, Justin Trudeau finished last year on a high, with measured testimony before the Rouleau commission laying out the reasons, evidence and rationale for implementing the never-used-before Emergencies Act. He was persuasive and very well informed, with none of the flibbertigibbet-ness that not infrequently accompanies his public statements. As a result, his approval spiked to 43 per cent[2], the highest it had been since the pandemic summer of June 2021. Bravo, Monsieur le Premier Ministre. You’ve still got it.

Except he only sometimes has it. Trudeau is hamstrung by the tragic flaw that pulls him magnetically towards hubris, intransigence and ultimately, political peril. Recently, reporting by the Globe and Mail and Global News on allegations the Chinese government had tried to influence the outcomes of Canadian elections became an issue that simultaneously prompted major concerns[3] from Canadians — and dismissal and delay from the Trudeau government.

First, exasperation over the questions. Then, a calculated punt with the announcement of an unnamed “special rapporteur” to look into the matter. Then, the announcement of said rapporteur as former governor general David Johnston, whose selection did absolutely nothing to quell the controversy. Little wonder the prime minister’s approval has dropped six points[4] since the mess kicked off. His party is stuck stubbornly behind the Conservatives at 29 per cent of voter intention to the Official Opposition’s 35 per cent, which in turn is within striking distance of majority territory.

Now, if you were a Conservative party leader, caucus member or strategist, this early 2023 gift might call for a little cake and celebration. But Pierre Poilievre is the flip side to the Trudeau coin. He can’t help scorching the earth and turning off crucial, needed voters. Every blinking time.

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.[5]

Image – Dylan McLeod/Unsplash

  1. Dumb and Dumber:
  2. 43 per cent:
  3. major concerns:
  4. dropped six points:
  5. Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.:

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