MacDougall: Want to stop Pierre Poilievre? Then fix the economy


As surprises go, Stephen Harper’s help for Poilievre shouldn’t register on the Richter scale. The information would have been if he hadn’t endorsed Skippy.

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What would Stephen Harper do?

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Like Christians pondering what their man Jesus would do when confronted with challenges, annoyed Conservatives usually marvel what their political god would do confronted with present circumstances. How would Harper have dealt with the “Freedom Convoy”? What would he do to unseat Justin Trudeau? How would he deal with all the “wokery”? Did he like the brand new High Gun?

Effectively, marvel no extra, all ye who crave Harper’s steerage. For the good man descended into the continued Conservative management race this week to declare precisely what he would do: help Pierre Poilievre. “(Poilievre) has been speaking in regards to the points, particularly the financial points, that matter,” Harper mentioned in a video endorsement. “Gradual development, debt, inflation, lack of job and housing alternatives, and the necessity to repair the establishments which might be failing Canadian households.”

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As surprises go, Harper’s help for Poilievre shouldn’t register on the Richter scale. In any case, he made Poilievre his parliamentary secretary after the 2008 election and made him a minister in 2013. The information would have been if he hadn’t endorsed his boy Skippy. Most Conservatives I do know took it in stride.

After which there’s Jean Charest. Regardless of Harper’s reference to a “robust discipline” in his endorsement of Poilievre, there isn’t a approach the “robust” in that discipline had something to do with the previous Quebec premier. If Charest ever ran to be canine catcher in Rivière-au-Tonnerre, Harper would drive all the way in which there within the lifeless of a pandemic winter — on a skidoo, if he needed to — to poleaxe his possibilities. Such is the value for utilizing the repair for the fiscal imbalance to finance tax cuts forward of a provincial election. Hell hath no fury like a Stephen robbed by Jean to pay Paulette.

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If something, Harper’s endorsement of Poilievre made extra noise in non-Conservative circles. Giant sections of Pious Twitter virtually fell over. You understand, the individuals who made it by means of the pandemic intact and aren’t actually battling the gradual development, inflation, lack of job and housing alternatives, or establishments which might be failing Canadian households. Yeah, these individuals thought Harper’s endorsement was harmful.

Which isn’t to say you may’t have causes for caring; I’m no fan of Poilievre’s convoy footsie, both. However I’m additionally a agency believer within the reality there’s a structural downside within the fashionable market financial system and it’s the individuals who do properly out of that fashionable market financial system who dominate many of the decision-making and discourse within the nation. Extra importantly, they’re usually those who heap scorn on those that don’t share their similar stage of accomplishment, angle, or worldview. However right here’s the factor: somebody’s bought to talk up for these to whom many years of meritocracy and globalization didn’t deal profitable fingers.

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The scolds I’m referring to aren’t, by the way in which, uniformly on one aspect of the political spectrum. Most of them straddle what could possibly be described because the “centre,” whether or not that’s centre-left or centre-right. And whereas probably the most strident critics of capitalism used to reside on the identical aspect as most of its victims (i.e the left), lately too few on the left are asking about financial points, preferring as an alternative to concentrate on tradition and id. This leaves the economically aggrieved of all political persuasions open to an strategy from somebody on the extra populist proper. Welcome to Poilievre’s goal voter pool. And no, they’re not all racist nutters (although some are).

If the left needs to dampen the rise of cultural populism on the appropriate, it ought to drop the snide insults in opposition to populists and focus as an alternative on rewiring the financial system. Suppose many years of globalization, shareholder capitalism, and low-cost cash have gutted employment whereas making the few rich on the expense of the non-asset holding many? Effectively, give us a plan to repair it. Suppose the tax code is just too sophisticated and favours the wealthy? Suggest a brand new one. Any politicians price their salt and never named Poilievre must be specializing in the financial system and the way to increase the center class with each single fibre of their being.

In the event that they do, Poilievre will likely be sunk and a complete new era of Conservatives will likely be pressured to marvel what Stephen Harper would do.

Andrew MacDougall is a London-based communications marketing consultant and ex-director of communications to former prime minister Stephen Harper.

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