MacDougall: Liberals’ hysterical attacks on Poilievre do not come to fruition

These Liberals and this Prime Minister are now old dogs, incapable of new tricks.

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We are now a few weeks into the federal budget and the latest Liberal offer to Canadians is being greeted with all the enthusiasm of an unsolicited email from a Nigerian “prince.” Of course, it didn’t end up in the spam folder to begin with.

What impact did the budget have?

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Well, most of the drama in Parliament this week has revolved around the word “mad” and the one-way trip it earned Pierre Poilievre out of the House of Commons. And that came after a week of boomerang action on the budget’s major initiative: a proposed change to the capital gains tax.

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Whatever one thinks of its merits, a little Liberal action on capital gains hasn’t produced any proportional gains in the polls, with Justin Trudeau’s gang still 20 points behind Poilievre and his Conservatives. The needle has not moved. Like it hasn’t moved for most of the year.

This lack of movement should cause some introspection in the liberal camp. Only introspection no longer seems to be on the menu, if it ever was in the first place. These Liberals and this Prime Minister are now old dogs, incapable of new tricks.

And so there is nothing but endless hysteria about his opponents. It’s “Pierre said, ‘Crazy!'” or “Pierre visited a trailer with funny symbols” or “Alex Jones loves Pierre Poilievre!”

Put another way, liberals can’t resist taking the bait. Instead of focusing on their clear advantage over the Conservatives (the fact that they control the government and, in theory, have the power to fix the things that bother Canadians), the Liberals do stupid things like remove the immigration minister, Marc Miller, to have a complaint about Poilievre.

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“Pierre Poilievre’s relentless relationship with extremists and his ultra-thin skin got him justifiably kicked out of the House of Commons,” Miller tweeted after Poilievre’s outburst.

And then, to make sure Canadians heard their priorities, the Liberal Party’s main account rebroadcast Miller’s testy response about Poilievre in its post-question period scrum. Were they “silenced” Poilievre? “That guy has never shut his mouth in his life,” Miller responded.

But here’s the thing: Canadians want Immigration Minister Miller to control Canada’s immigration system, a system that a growing percentage of the country believes is broken, the system that even Justin Trudeau has admitted is not. is doing the job.

They don’t want you to complain about the language of the guy harassing you to fix the system.

Let’s say the Liberal tactic worked and led Canadians to shamelessly Google why Poilievre used the word “crazy.” Do you know what they would find?

They would find Poilievre denouncing the newly legalized open use of hard drugs in public places in British Columbia, a provincial request authorized by the Trudeau government. You would find members of Poilievre’s group tweeting about a 380 percent increase in drug deaths since the change was made. Or that overdose is now the leading cause of death in British Columbia?

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And you know what? Most Canadians will probably agree that it’s crazy. In other words, the liberals would find themselves playing on Poilievre’s preferred turf.

Liberals must accept that the world has changed. It’s not 2015 and people aren’t looking for “sunny shapes.” It’s not 2016. People aren’t panicking about Donald Trump. It’s 2024 and the country has changed significantly and Canadians aren’t very happy about it. And that is not the fault of Poilievre or his party.

This dynamic puts liberals in a bind. Their favorite colors (conservative ones are scary!) no longer fit the canvas they now have to paint on (Canada in 2024). They must change their paint or change their canvas. Only they have little power to change the tarp, one that Canadians already blame them for ruining. And that’s why they have to change their paint.

This means that the Liberals must focus on solving the problems until November. And then, and only then, and only if Trump is re-elected to the White House, can they dream of receiving a new canvas on which to use his old paintings.

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

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