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If Justin Trudeau finds himself celebrating a political comeback for the ages at some point in 2025, he’ll probably look back to this past week as the point where it began. It won’t show up yet in the polls, which still have Trudeau’s Liberals well behind Pierre Poilievre’s Conservative Party of Canada. But for the first time in a long time, Trudeau and his team have a fighting chance.

That’s because, on two separate occasions, Poilievre exposed a weakness in his otherwise formidable political armour that they could — and should — exploit. On Tuesday, Poilievre and his caucus decided to vote against a free trade deal between Ukraine and Canada on second reading because, it seems, the deal includes a line indicating mutual support for carbon pricing and the need to avoid so-called “carbon leakage.” The CPC, for some reason, decided to interpret this as Canada “imposing” a carbon tax on Ukraine.

“He expects them to rebuild from a war with a devastating and crippling tax on their energy,” Poilievre said about Trudeau. “The Ukrainian farmers, he expects them to pay a carbon tax while they’re trying to feed their hungry people. This is cruel and, frankly, it is disgusting.”

Ukraine already has a carbon tax, though, and it’s been in place since 2011. More to the point, it will almost certainly have to increase that price on carbon if it wants to join the European Union. “On the path toward EU membership, Ukraine is developing policies to address climate change in line with EU regulation,” Ukrainian embassy spokesperson Marianna Kulava told the Globe and Mail.

This sort of allergic response to the very mention of carbon pricing might play well with Poilievre’s Prairie base, but it’s a much tougher sell for the more moderate central Canadian voters he needs to actually win an election. So, too, was his reflexive reaction to Wednesday’s fatal car crash at the U.S.-Canada border, and his subsequent refusal to back down after more facts came to light.

On Wednesday, he stood in the House of Commons and asked the prime minister about the “terrorist attack,” a depiction that seems to have been drawn from Fox News’ coverage of the incident. Poilievre tried to suggest that he’d gotten that information from a CTV News tweet, but CTV News noted that its reporters didn’t describe it in those terms until 2:39 p.m. Eastern — 15 minutes after he asked his question in the House.

The reasonable response here would be to acknowledge the error, apologize for jumping to conclusions, and move on from the incident. That’s what the Fox News reporter did. That’s even what far-right journalist cosplayer Keean Bexte did. But Poilievre? Well, backing down just isn’t his style, even when he’s clearly and demonstrably in the wrong.

Instead, he went on a meandering and mean-spirited tirade against a Canadian Press reporter who asked him about his comments, clearly channelling the same churlish energy he displayed in that now (in)famous video in the apple orchard. This was the Poilievre id on full display, stripped of the image makeover gurus and slick advertising campaigns. It was the Poilievre the Liberals ought to spend the next two years trying to draw out. And if Thursday’s press conference was any indication, it won’t be that difficult to do.

Yes, this latest confrontation with a journalist will surely delight his online army of angry young men. But as Postmedia columnist John Ivison noted, “He could lose this thing if he keeps behaving like this.” Indeed, as Abacus Data pollster David Coletto tweeted recently, the CPC’s vote — and lead — is not nearly as solid as it would like. “Conservatives have a very big lead. But it's not locked in and there's still plenty of opportunity for it to fall back to where it's been from 2019 to 2022.”

Pierre Poilievre may have a double-digit lead in the polls, but his preposterously petulant behaviour last week showed he's still his own biggest enemy — and why that lead could easily evaporate in the months to come.

Trudeau’s Liberals would still need a lot of things to break their way for this to happen. Chief among them is inflation continuing to cool, as the most recent data released on Tuesday showed, and interest rates starting to come down accordingly. There may yet be a recession in 2024, but by 2025, the economy may have already turned around. And, of course, there’s the ever-present threat — and perhaps reality — of another four years of Donald Trump south of the border.

But Poilievre’s personality might be their real ace in the hole. His indifference to nuance and restraint, his refusal to apologize for mistakes, and his irresistible attraction to his own pre-existing biases aren’t good looks for a potential prime minister. We saw that on full display this week. Now it’s up to Trudeau, who does his best work as a political counterpuncher, to get off the ropes and start landing a few blows.

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I don't think it's that he just opened his big mouth, it's that the press seemingly paid attention this time. However my cynical side thinks this is the MSM attempting to appear objective, lay some criticism on PP, all so they can endorse him in the next election all while seeming "objective".

As evidence of this behaviour, look at how the Toronto Star was writing smear pieces about Doug Ford in 2021, then fawning over him during the 2022 election campaign, pushing puff pieces saying how he's "evolved". In short, just wait for their endorsement by TorStar and CTV for PP and the CPC in 2025....he's who the "owners" want, voters be damned.

Good thing we don’t have a gerrymandered electoral system then eh?
This is exactly who PP is. It was on constant display during his years in the PMO with Harper. He is a petulant, self righteous, uncaring little twerp, with delusions of grandeur and a ceaseless hatred for everything and anything that doesn’t align with HIS ideology.

He is the perfect automatron robot politician. Trained by both Manning and Harper since his early teen years, he has been proselytizer, brain washed, and now truly believes that liberalism” is evil, and must be eradicated from the land. Problem is, like all his predecessors he is all vitriol and no plans. His only plan is to destroy Trudeau because he outed Harper from office, and to tear apart all of Canada to be rebuilt in the image he thinks it should be in. And trust me that vision is a very ugly one, that will include women losing their right to bodily autonomy. He might not say anything about it right now, but considering the the majority of his financial backers are right wing religious fundamentalist, they will demand that and he will give it to them.
Pay attention people, this is dangerous, and though he presents far better than the Fat Angry Yam south of the border, he has the same mentality and desires!

Two thumbs up, Alexis!

Perfectly said Alexis!

Excellent Alexis!

20 year high inflation.
5% interest rates, and climbing.
Housing unaffordable for young families.
Taxed to death.
1 in 7 families needing help from food banks.
50+ first nations still without clean water.
No progress on missing aboriginal women.
No progress on unidentified graves at residential schools.
$1.2 trillion in debt.
Our per capita GDP is falling.
More money spent on interest than on healthcare.
An opioid epidemic in every city.
Rising crime in every urban centre.
Foreign interference in our elections.
6 ethics violations.
A standing ovation for a Nazi in the House of commons.
Hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for.
We're te butt of jokes around the world.
Our once great institutions, like the military and the RCMP have been gutted. But were supposed to forget all of this because Pierre tangles with a reporter?

Also, all those leaf blowers.

LOL I was trying to reply to the "Hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for." troll, sorry!

Nice list of things with no proof. Come on, surely you can do better than that.

Damn, I meant to reply to the list from tha alt-right cut and paster.... sorry.

I wonder what Liberals would do if Pierre ridiculed a young indigenous woman at a Conservative rally if she was just trying to protect her people from tainted water. Would they vote for Pierre if he said, "thank you for your donation the conservative party" just so he could make her look like a fool and get a hardy laugh from all the conservative supporters in the crowd?

I may be able to withstand more of his blowhard Trump style if...and this is a big IF, he was willing to use fact to back up his hyperbole. The sole fact that he refuses to be read in on national security protocols should be more than enough to scare support away in my opinion.

Pierre Poilievre has always been a snake oil salesman in my books. Pierre has a solution for everything, but has no plan what so ever to offer Canadians as proof he truly has one. Pierre also plays on whatever the media posts, using only points that can make the PM look bad, while leaving out other facts that tell the actual story. More recently Pierre has been caught on two lies in the House of Commons. Postmedia of course plays right along with Pierre and his antics and, only reports on positive items and buries anything not so positive.

However, if Trudeau happens to pass gas, between Pierre and Postmedia will make out as a major scandal.

I say, let Pierre keep up his antics, it will only help ensure he never becomes PM and save Canada from another Trumpian style politician.

Poilievre has benefitted from fawning coverage from most media outlets, probably because the owners of those outlets think Pierre would be beneficial to them if he was PM. For many years, he has consistently come off as an ideologue with limited interpersonal skills and a very wide nasty streak.

It's obvious that Poilievre has many flaws, lately remarked on as a grating, petulant personality, policy iniatives overwhelmingly laser focussed on targetting Trudeau, and social views strained through an ultra-conservative filter doubled up with a conspiracy injection mold.

But it's also important to daylight his utter lack of experience in anything of consequence to actual governance, let alone governance under best practices, and how the above led to a contorted world view.

Public finance / economics = bitcoin.

Public healthcare = anti-science + conspiracy.

Law = free pass for trucker blockades of cities and borders for weeks, arrests of environmentalists and women's rights advocates practicing their legitimate right to protest.

Environment / climate = giving polluting industry everything they want.

Etc.

It seems the Conservative Party leader would be utterly lost without progressive or middle ground political targets to shoot his arrows to. He and his party seem incapable of an original thought or policy. All politicos shoot at their opponents and try to win horse races, but these common traits are not indicative of their ability to actually govern for the common good.

The mean spirit, easy blame game and lack of any real interest in doing any homework is one aspect of our colonial heritage. It remains to be seen if it has enough life in it to delay action on the real problems we face for an additional 4 years.

I keep imagining that the people will wake up, take responsibility and begin working together to build a sustainable world..........and world which by definition, would have to be more egalitarian and less compatitive... but the jury is still out on that one

Blame is easy, rolling up our sleeves and getting to some real work.....hard.

It's not just our "colonial heritage;" you're ignoring who's been in charge of that and everything else in human "his story." And for the most part, still is. Women are indeed FINALLY somewhat ascendant but face massive headwinds, proportionally the worst via misogynistic religious doctrines that were ALSO created by men. Worst because of the billions enthralled; note the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. etc. NO mitigation by women is the common theme.
I truly think that the real question before us is whether or not we will survive the male of our species.
Max aptly describes conservative supporters as an army of "angry young men"--- arrogant, ignorant warriors in the Convoy Party of Canada. And Poilievre is one of the top recruits in Harpers' army of boys in short pants.

Take off.

The election's two years from now. Stuff that happens today, tomorrow, who's going to remember or care?