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Opinion Feb 1, 2022 8:11 PM EST

It’s time to replace Erin O’Toole with Pierre Poilievre

Erin O'Toole is a ditherer, who isn’t supporting Canadian workers while the entire sane world is cheering them on.

It’s time to replace Erin O’Toole with Pierre Poilievre
Matthew Azrieli Montreal, QC

The Faustian Bargain is always a tempting one. But if you were a politician, would you sell your soul to the devil in order to win an election… And then lose even worse than the last guy did?

Erin O’Toole. I supported him in the past. I was wrong. I realized this mistake as soon as he lost the election and made zero gains in the Greater Toronto Area. Conservatives were told that suburban moms wanted Trudeau, but frumpy and "family-friendly." Somehow, inexplicably, we believed this. Needless to say, we were wrong.

Now, Erin O’Toole sits third in opinion polling behind Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh for prime minister. Singh—who is coming under fire for getting paid by companies to advertise products on his Instagram—has still retained his public charm. All the while, somehow, O’Toole is still more unlikeable with the Canadian public writ large.

This doesn’t match up with Canadian opinion polling on party preference, which actually narrowly favours the CPC.

Canadians, in sum, can be brought to support the CPC—in fact many already do. Canadians, however, have not been brought to support Erin O’Toole, and it is doubtful whether they ever will.

Why is this? Is it because he is a ditherer, who isn’t supporting Canadian workers while the entire sane world is cheering them on.

Well, plenty of shrewder analysts have tried their hand at explaining the feelings and frivolities of the Canadian electorate. Instead of outright stating my thesis, I’d like to relay an anecdote; a conversation I had with a classmate in my Executive MBA program.

My classmate, who will remain unnamed, is an immigrant from Nigeria who worked in Alberta—in the energy sector—and now lives in the GTA. Had this been 10 or 15 years ago, this voter—an immigrant, with children—would’ve epitomized Stephen Harper’s immigrant electorate.

But he liked Justin Trudeau. Why? "Because he’s a good guy."

And what about SNC Lavalin? What about the WE Foundation scandal? At the end of the day, whatever his foibles, Trudeau stands for people like my friend—Trudeau isn’t perfect, but he’s appealing. He is a family man, and that counts for something. No matter the corruption of the people around him, he means well. Trudeau also doesn’t have a problem with immigrants.

And what has Erin O’Toole done for immigrants? As leader of the opposition he can’t do very much, but his ham fisted anti-China rhetoric has alienated Chinese and East-Asian Canadians that have traditionally voted Blue.

And what about the Greater Toronto Area? Let’s recall why Doug Ford became premier of the province of Ontario. Remember, that he had to win the leadership contest first. And what propelled him to victory? Tanya Granic Allan‘s opposition to the OLP sex education bill. She galvanized support among tens of thousands of immigrant families throughout the province, all of whom opposed this sex ed bill, and her delegates pushed Doug Ford ahead of Caroline Mulroney.

Erin O’Toole did not learn from this. In fact, his bill opposing conversion therapy has been widely criticized for mandating therapeutic affirmation of gender dysphoria in children. In short: he became more socially progressive than Justin Trudeau ever has been. (And has he won any favour from the LGBTQ+ community? Quite the opposite—he’s still widely perceived to be an insidious homophobe, waiting for his chance to legislate against the wider queer community. And given how duplicitous he has been with promises related to not implementing a carbon tax, defunding the CBC, and too many other issues to mention, maybe their fear is well-justified!)

And O’Toole’s support for a carbon tax? Well… That’s not gonna win you voters; outside of a captive audience in Alberta, it’s viewed as a real turn-off to rural Canadians and those, like my friend, who have worked in Canadian energy.

So, maybe my classmate had a good point. Justin Trudeau is viewed as less xenophobic, more socially conservative, and about as economically irresponsible in regards to oil as O’Toole. He’s not perfect, but he’s better than O’Toole, in my classmate’s eyes.

We need to start over. We need a blank slate. I’ll tell you who we need: a real leader. Somebody who understands the economy, somebody who is married to an immigrant, somebody who supports family values… Who could that be?

A man who has Canadians’ backs. Who is supporting Canadian workers and truckers the way that they have supported all of Canada for the past two years.

A man that O’Toole has tried, unsuccessfully, to keep out of the public eye.

A man Canadians respond to. A man with leadership skills and a backbone. Pierre Poilievre.

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