Pierre Poilievre Has The Liberals Running Scared
By Spencer Fernando, Exclusive to the National Citizens Coalition
Chrystia Freeland talking about fiscal responsibility.
Liberal ministers apologizing for not enough “consultation” on Bill C-21 amendments and retreating on the issue.
Delaying state-assisted suicide expansion until next year.
Internet censorship legislation being pushed through Parliament at a desperate pace.
What do all these things have in common?
They all demonstrate that Pierre Poilievre has the Liberals running scared.
We’ve seen how the Trudeau government operates.
They’ll get away with everything they possibly can, and only ‘recalibrate’ temporarily when facing overwhelming pressure.
When they think people aren’t paying attention, or when they think people are scared and want more government power, they’ll push the limits.
We saw this with their attempt to govern by fiat during the pandemic, with their reluctance to give up on mandates and travel restrictions, and with the use of the Emergencies Act.
A key reason the Liberals try to move in such an extreme direction is that they aren’t really a ‘liberal’ party under Justin Trudeau.
They are a reskinned (not blackface) NDP Party, with Justin Trudeau moving the party away from its relatively moderate past and in a more authoritarian and socialist direction. This is why Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh get along so well (Singh’s performative and hilariously hypocritical pretend ‘opposition’ aside), and it’s why more traditional Liberals are increasingly uncomfortable with the direction in which Trudeau is taking the party.
But, the Liberal ‘brand’ retains some strength, and many Canadians still instinctively see the party as centrist.
The Liberals take advantage of this, often putting on a centrist veneer whenever they feel politically vulnerable.
And right now, they are deeply vulnerable.
Pierre Poilievre has been hammering the Liberals on multiple fronts, and the Liberals are on the defensive in a way they haven’t been in a long time.
Their attempts to refute the idea of Canada being broken have backfired, leaving them looking out of touch with the difficult reality many Canadians are facing.
Noted galaxy-brain Mark Gerretsen even tried to counter Poilievre’s “Canada is broken” message by, uhhh, saying that Canadians have felt Canada is broken for years.
Poor guy. At least he’s trying…
Gerretsen’s gloating attempt obviously didn’t make the point he thought it did.
But it’s interesting that the best the Liberals can do in response to Poilievre is to point out that people have been upset at the state of the country for years now.
The Liberals are also on the defensive when it comes to crime, with more and more Canadians feeling unsafe amid surging levels of violence.
And when Chrystia Freeland is talking about the need for responsible spending, you can be sure the Liberals are feeling the heat on that front as well.
Now, it’s not news that the Conservatives have tried to put the Liberals on the defensive.
What stands out now – and what demonstrates Poilievre’s success so far – is that the Conservatives are succeeding.
Even with much of the media dependent upon government funding and hostile towards the Conservatives, Poilievre is effectively setting the agenda and forcing the Liberals to respond to him.
Poilievre has successfully maintained his framing of key issues, rather than being drawn into the Liberal frame.
The Liberal retreat on Bill C-21 demonstrates this.
The Liberals tried it all, throwing all their firearm fearmongering against the wall to see what would stick, and none of it did.
Instead of the Conservatives giving in to the Liberal position, the Liberals were forced to give in themselves.
Remember, the Liberals just a few weeks ago were saying that Poilievre was spreading “misinformation” by calling the C-21 amendments a “hunting rifle ban,” only to acknowledge the truth of that criticism by pulling the amendments.
On state-assisted suicide, the Liberals again attempted to fearmonger.
As per usual, they spread misinformation while accusing the Conservatives of doing so, only to acknowledge that the concerns about Canada’s dystopian ‘MAiD’ regime were indeed legitimate.
What’s unique about the current political moment is that the Liberals keep trying their usual tactics only to realize it’s not working.
They surely expected to just accuse the Conservatives of being in favour of ‘assault’ weapons and then win on the issue.
They likewise expected to just claim the Conservatives were lying about MAiD and have all the concerns go away.
But with a Conservative Leader who doesn’t give in to the Liberal narrative, and who takes his message directly to Canadians instead of having it ‘filtered’ by an often-biased establishment press, the Liberals are being forced to actually defend their record.
And that is proving to be a near-impossible task.
Now, you may be wondering why the first part of this column mentions Bill C-11.
Doesn’t that fly in the face of my other examples, since the Liberals are on the path to ramming it through?
Well, not exactly.
The Liberals are retreating on C-21 and MAiD for the same reason they are desperate to push C-11 through:
They fear losing control.
Having recently lost two big political battles to a CPC Leader who effectively uses social media – and with independent media increasingly levelling the playing field in terms of press coverage – the Liberals are desperate to control social media, and turn it into something easily manipulable by the state.
In effect, the more the Liberals realize that free and open expression may not result in their preferred political outcome, the more the Liberals try and curb free and open expression.
This gets back to the point of how the Liberals aren’t really ‘liberal.’
And, while calling them ‘authoritarian socialists’ or even ‘neo-communists’ seems over the top to some people, it’s quite interesting that both Senator David Adams Richards and author Margaret Atwood compared Bill C-11 to the state censorship that existed during the Soviet Union.
A temporary tactical retreat combined with an attempt to gain control over the information space to influence the outcome of upcoming political battles is exactly what would be expected from a Trudeau-led government.
Is anyone really surprised that someone who praised Fidel Castro and the Chinese Communist Party is also no big fan of free and open communication?
Is that really a shock?
And so, as the Liberals continue to struggle, and as their old tactics flounder in the face of a strong Conservative Leader, we must be prepared for the Trudeau government to reach for ever-more blunt applications of government power in their effort to stave off defeat.
Spencer Fernando is one of the most popular and prolific political voices in Canada. He is a Campaign Fellow for the National Citizens Coalition. For more from Spencer, visit his website, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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