, 05.31.2022 10:35 AM

My latest: Doug vs. Pierre

This is a tale of two “Conservatives.”

We say “Conservative” in quotation marks to make a point. And the point is this: Doug Ford and Pierre Poilievre may be notionally, nominally “Conservatives.” But they are very, very — very — different.

And, for both men, it’s a very big political week.

On Thursday night, Ford is going to be re-elected as Ontario’s premier, possibly with a bigger majority than he got four years ago. And, on Friday, Poilievre is going to start adding up the many memberships he sold during the federal Conservative leadership race.

But, in the long term, Ford will be remembered as the winner of this pivotal week. Poilievre, not so much.

Ford will hold onto power in Canada’s largest province for three reasons.

One, he wildly exceeded expectations. Four years ago, Ford’s critics predicted he would crash and burn, and that he would continue to be the pugnacious Toronto city councillor — the one who was often compelled to defend the misadventures of his brother Mayor Rob Ford. And, during the early days of his government, Ford was indeed combative.

But then, he made big changes. Ford replaced his chief of staff with the genial and professional Jamie Wallace, one of our (full disclosure) former editorial bosses at the Sun chain. He shuffled his cabinet. And then he, the man himself, changed.

It was the pandemic that did it, mostly. Ford jettisoned the angry ideological conservative stuff — a pose that never really suited him, anyway. Like many others, Ford accepted that government had a right and proper role during a deadly pandemic.

Caring for the sick. Comforting the frightened. Spending to keep businesses and families afloat. Ford accepted that all of those things could only be done by government — not the private sector. And he became the face of government here in Ontario.

Two, Ford resisted the temptation to politicize the pandemic. At his near-daily press conferences, Ford adopted a compassionate tone. He jettisoned partisanship, often lauding his political opponents, like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And he seemed to be feeling, personally, the grief that too many families were experiencing. He was human, in short.

Thirdly, Ford stuck to the facts. He didn’t speculate. He deferred to his experts. When he didn’t know something — unlike too many others, such as Donald “Inject Yourself With Bleach” Trump — he said so. And when Ford made a mistake, as with the misguided decision to shut down playgrounds and give police powers they didn’t need nor want, he quickly admitted it and changed course.

Playing against type. Being kinder, gentler. Working with others. Making positive personal changes. Being as apolitical as possible. Being factual. Avoiding conspiracy theories and wacky policy.

All of those things Doug Ford did — and that is why he is going to win big again.

And none of those things Pierre Poilievre has done. None. And it’s why, when the federal election finally happens, Poilievre — as Conservative Party leader — will lose.

As many have noted, Poilievre has been simply vicious with other political players — players who are members of the same political party. He has politicized everything, offering precious little policy ideas. He has embraced conspiracy theories (like the one about the “globalist” World Economic Forum) and nutty pledges (like his opt-out-of-inflation with cryptocurrencies that are in freefall).

And, most of all, Poilievre hasn’t addressed his key weakness — that he is an angry little man, one who is the adenoidal voice of a feral stew of anonymous Twitter trolls, antigovernment extremists, and law-breaking convoy types. Instead of showing a kinder, gentler side, Poilievre has gotten more dyspeptic and antagonistic.

Bottom line: Doug Ford is winning because he’s likeable.

Pierre Poilievre will ultimately lose because he isn’t.

— Warren Kinsella advises a trade union active in the provincial election campaign


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    Derek Pearce says:

    If I had the time right now I’d go to the Sun and read the wailing and gnashing of teeth the commenters are directing toward you for this article. Alas, I don’t. But well said.

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    Gilbert says:

    Pierre Poilievre and Doug Ford are different types of Conservatives. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. There’s also no doubt that those who are on the left of the political spectrum prefer Doug Ford.

    There’s no question that the WEF wants to change society. “The Great Reset” is a book written by Klaus Shwab and Thierry Malleret”. It advocates a universal basic income, mass vaccination, green energy and other ideas that are popular with the left. Not surprising, it is also filled with climate change hysteria. The WEF wants capitalism for the elites and neo-communism for everyone else.

    Jacob Rothschild once said that the pandemic was just a distraction from bigger issues like climate change. It’s clear that to people like him the pandemic is an exciting opportunity to reshape society.

    Doug Ford is very good at playing the game of politics and following the script that most politicians follow. It is an absolute disgrace that Canadians who don’t want the injection are not allowed to travel outside the country or travel by plane or bus. Restrictions that would normally never be accepted are now accepted because of the hysteria caused by the pandemic.

    I won’t make any predictions about how Pierre Poilievere will do in an election. However, it’s clear to me that he’s not as supportive of the WEF agenda as the prime minister. It’s also clear that he’s a man of far greater intellect.

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    EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    I have noticed one thing about Mr Del Duca that has me flummoxed. He seems to be wearing the same outfit at all of his public gatherings, one that doesn’t match that of his supporters. I know he has put on weight, but is that why he is wearing a park blue vest, light blue shirt and dark trousers? All of the supporters gathered for the photo-op are wearing bright red Liberal colours. Why wouldn’t Mr Del Duca wear a red golf shirt with the Provincial Liberal logo, or at least something red? Maybe it’s nothing, but Doug Ford is usually wearing PC blue….

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    EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    Correction on earlier comment; should be “dark” blue vest.

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    Phil in London says:

    I see a lot more similarity between Erin O’Toole and DoFo than Pollievre and DoFo. Both pandered to the right to win and then guided the ship toward the center

    I don’t think there is any doubt, Pollievre is pandering to a disenfranchised base (Max Bernier and Co). I think PP is listing far to right to appeal to the mainstream but I see three very different next federal election outcomes should he (when he?) wins

    1) He can run the campaign his base wants, finish out of the money and be deposed. This is the likely scenario that conservatives seem to agree on – fire the leader – but it is different if that loss happens to Pollievre than with Scheer and O’Toole – They were the compromise in some ways to keep the hard right engaged. Pollievre winning the leadership than being beaten like a rented mule in the main event could lead to a true collapse of the current model of mainstream federal conservatism. There becomes (or PPC evolves) into the hard right party of choice and the more moderate conservatives are left to beg a DoFo to lead them out of the wilderness. Result at least one more Trudeau Liberal election win.

    2) PP could win the leadership, pander to his base and win (or at least make up a significant minority that can argue a right to govern) against a tired Liberal government that no-one has a real stiffy about keeping. The party harkens back to Bob Rae’s Communist takeover of Ontario where the Dippers hadn’t a clue how to organize a piss-up at a brewery. The party gets trounced like Kim Campbell in the following election and is finally put to death while a more moderate centrist party of some stripe emerges. The other possibility here is years of neo-right and neo-left warring, It has happened elsewhere when the ideals were to create and keep a centrist coalition together. I think the middle is crumbling in Canada with the current choices and direction of all three main parties.

    3) He could win an election by campaigning as a moderate conservative party with a red-meat eating leader who manages to channel his inner Stephen Harper and finds ways to let his own versions of Myron Thompson win their seats but orders their silence and governs like Harper did closer to the middle.

    The probable outcomes I see above are about 45% for 1) 35% for 2) and 20% for 3). Would sure be nice if the cons could wake up before they get a little Trumpian in place. The third would be the most welcome route but the conservatives don’t do what is correct in Canada, they do what it “right?”

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    william shakesfeare says:

    To me, Pierre Poilievre is a “goys” politician as in gum on your shoe. Try as you might you can’t quite get rid of him because like the rest of the Harper leftovers he knows if he just sticks around long enough he’ll get a shot at screwing things up Kenny style. He reminds me of an even more useless human, the one and only Ben Shapiro.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:

      You don’t see liquid courage like this every day.

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