MacDougall: Conservatives are moving forward, but what would Poilievre do as prime minister?

After this week’s election victory, the Conservative leader appears on track to win a large majority in the next federal election. How will you spend all that political capital?

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In terms of the writing on the wall, the result of this week’s federal election in Ontario was delivered IN ALL CAPS and blood red font. It’s the curtain for Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.

Conservative Jamil Jivani rode in Durham with 55.7 percent of the votes, easily surpassing his liberal rival, who obtained a meager 22.5 percent. And while a single by-election (in a Conservative-held seat, no doubt) is not necessarily prologue, no one at Liberal Party headquarters should expect anything different in the next federal election. Pierre Poilievre’s victory is now a question of “by how much?” no Yes”.

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Everything the liberals tried to increase their chances failed. Trudeau stooped to take a swipe at Jivani, mockingly labeling him a “double,” a comment that drew unhelpful comparisons to the more personable version of Trudeau from 2015, that now-aloof figure who touted “sunny ways.” The Liberals then renewed their promise of pharmaceutical assistance and presented Bill C-64 in the House of Commons, that is, the legislative follow-up to his previous vague promises of universal pharmaceutical care.

And yet, Jivani took down his opponent with ease. Let’s hope the national drug formulary includes smelling salts for soon-to-retire prime ministers.

As occurred shortly after the death of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, the subsequent by-election is also a good time to consider what Poilievre might do with his majority government. Mulroney won a huge majority when he arrived after 16 years of (mostly) a different Trudeau, but he also did great things with that formidable mandate. The “little guy from Baie Comeau” did not play small ball.

Free trade with the United States. Constitutional conversations. Renew the tax system. Harassing Maggie Thatcher about apartheid. As a result, Canada changed, and for the better. Fiscal measures eased the pain of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin’s belt-tightening in the mid-1990s. Free trade kept Canada inside the American tent while leading the expansion of post-communist global trade. The constitutional dispute precipitated a separatist fever that finally broke out, albeit after nearly breaking the country. The most important thing is that we have not looked back.

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We still don’t know what type of player Poilievre will be in the position. We know he is adept at pointing out weak points, but we have little idea how he might alleviate them. And there is a lot of pain around.

Canada feels fragile. Trudeau’s “post-national” state is still a great place in relative terms, but this is of little comfort to a population facing absolute challenges. Pockets are full. Housing is scarce and its costs are too high. Defense spending is too low for current threats. Immigration does not meet the needs of hosts or newcomers. The provinces and the federal government are at odds with each other. There are fences everywhere. Let’s hope, then, that Poilievre is in the mood to swing in his favor.

Unlike Stephen Harper in 2006, Poilievre will be able to move forward with confidence thanks to what will be a healthy majority. He latest Abacus survey gives Poilievre about 220 seats, with Trudeau’s Liberals reduced to one ignatiefian rump 40 or something like that. The only thing that will block real reform will be the timidity of conservatives.

Furthermore, the diminished power of the mainstream press means that any major changes will not be challenged to the same extent as Mulroney’s signature achievements were. This is, of course, a double-edged sword, as scrutiny is essential, but it should encourage boldness. A majority of the expected size plus a diminished press is a recipe for country-altering change.

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However, a precondition for that change is a mandate. The fact that Canadians are enormously angry with the current occupier is not in itself a license for Poilievre to do as he pleases later. If conservatives have answers to the nation’s problems, their prescriptions will need to be spelled out in advance.

The idea of ​​Poilievre astride Canada will no doubt send liberals into a panic. But he should put them back to the drawing board. Doubling down on what has brought them to the ground will only give Poilievre more room to maneuver in the future, not less.

Andrew MacDougallis a London-based communications consultant and former communications director for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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