Last week our MP Eric Duncan announced his support for Pierre Poilievre as his choice to lead the Conservative Party of Canada.
This decision by Duncan surprised me as he has always stated that he is in favour of politics based on respect and not mudslinging and Poilievre has positioned himself for a long time now as the party’s chief attack dog.
“Conservatives need a leader who is focused on jobs and the economy, on housing affordability, and getting inflation under control. Pierre will do exactly that and will be a great Prime Minister for all Canadians,” said Duncan in his statement of endorsement.
Duncan’s statement could be said of any candidate from any political party, and while his endorsement in 2019 of former leader Erin O’Toole was equally non-descript, I at least felt that he and O’Toole were a better fit in terms of temperaments.
Compare that statement to something Duncan said during his first campaign for MP in 2019.
“I love campaigns in the sense of getting out to see people. I tell people it’s kind of ironic…I hate politics. I hate pettiness, attacks, all the negative things that (could) go with it, but I love public policy and my time in the municipal government…if we have a problem, we have to try and find solutions,” he said at that time.
Pierre Poilievre is a man who has created a social media persona based on all of the things that Duncan says that he hates about politics. For starters, he has said that MPs should be limited to two terms. He is now in his sixth.
There was recently a historic protest in Canada.
“How are we ever going to restore lawfulness and development in the country if the government makes concessions to reward those who have broken the law,” said of that protest Poilievre.
He wasn’t referring to the anti-mandate protest that occupied the downtown of Ottawa however, he was referring to the Wet’suwet’en blockade in British Columbia in 2020 to stop the construction of an oil pipeline which they believed could damage their land. Poilievre was just fine with the truck convoy protest in Ottawa that tortured innocent bystanders with constant noise for weeks, forced businesses to close, was eventually declared illegal and ultimately achieved nothing. He was more than eager to show his support there, for people he felt would likely support him in return to further his political career.
Regardless of your stance on each of these protests, I feel that Poilievre’s behaviour shows a political cynicism and opportunism that is much reviled in other politicians.
Earlier this year, Poilievre appeared on a podcast on crypto-currencies hosted by a Robert Breedlove, who has previously made questionable statements connecting central banking to Nazism and slavery. I have yet to hear Poilievre state his opposition to the views expressed by this podcast host. If you think he doesn’t have to, ask yourself, would you expect that Justin Trudeau would have to issue an apology if he were in the same position. I think that Poilievre would scramble to be the first to demand that Trudeau apologize for any problematic statements made by someone he had associated himself with.
Can Poilievre win the leadership of the CPC and more importantly could he become Prime Minister? I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know the answer to those questions.
What I do know is that you are the company you keep. Given what I know of Eric, I am surprised at the company he has chosen to keep with this endorsement. Duncan’s endorsement of O’Toole made sense to me, and he became a part of O’Toole’s leadership team. After O’Toole was ousted earlier this year, Duncan was stripped of his leadership positions by interim leader Candice Bergen.
While there are other candidates in the field for the CPC leadership that I think more closely align to Eric’s style as a politician, I don’t think their chances of winning the leadership race are as good as Poilievre’s, and perhaps that is what accounts for the difference. However, I am willing to concede that perhaps my assessment of Eric and this situation is wrong.
I have always admired Eric for wanting to be a politician who brings decorum back to our politics. Who wants to do away with the mudslinging and crass showmanship. I hope that he is still dedicated to being that person.
What do you think readers? Email me your Letters to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org