Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Ben Woodfinden: Going after Canada’s elite gatekeepers could be a winning strategy for the next Conservative leader

Affordability is a prime issue of concern for many Canadians right now

Pierre Poilievre is the heavy favourite and clear frontrunner to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. Facing off against a government that will likely be close to a decade old at that point, there’s a good chance he may well be the next non-Liberal prime minister.

Unlike the last Conservative leadership race in which the supposed frontrunner Peter MacKay ended up losing, Poilievre’s status as frontrunner is not simply a media narrative. He is a darling of partisans and the Conservative base, and his name recognition and social media popularity dwarf that of any other federal Conservative politician. Unless something unexpected happens, he will be the next Conservative leader.

This gives Poilievre the luxury of being able to look ahead a bit, and think about his campaign a bit differently than other prospective candidates. The fatal flaw of his predecessor, Erin O’Toole, was probably running a leadership campaign as one thing and then pivoting to something else in order to win a general election. It didn’t work and he’s now gone.

Poilievre would be wise to avoid the mistakes of his predecessor and try to figure out a way to campaign for and win the Conservative leadership and then use and build upon that foundation in a general election. But this is much easier said than done of course. The selectorate that elect Conservative leaders is quite different than the broader voting population. So how can he thread this needle? Fortunately for Poilievre, he may already have the answer.

Read the rest at TheHub.ca

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