Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre depends on the continued support of freedom convoyers but that support is tenuous. Recent comments by Poilievre are raising doubts about his loyalty to the freedom clan.
image: BBC News
Freedom convoyers hold a bizarre set of beliefs. They mistook terrorization for freedom as they bullied Ottawa citizens; they think Prime Minister Trudeau, Bill Gates, the World Health Organization and the World Economic Forum are evil; they believe in the “Great Reset” -that elites are using the COVID pandemic to collapse the world’s economy and install a tyrannical global government.
Freedom convoyers flocked to Poilievre during his leadership bid.
The problem with Poilievre’s supporters is that they score high on disinformation. When your supporters believe what is false, what you tell them has to stretch credibility.
Ekos conducted a poll to measure levels of disinformation in the general population after Poilievre became leader. The poll used incorrect statements about COVID-19 to test disinformation. In a random sample of respondents statements such as: the number vaccine-related deaths were being concealed and that vaccines alter DNA were used. Seventy percent of disinformed voters backed Poilievre.
After a far-right German politician visited Canada and had a three-hour lunch with three Conservative MPs, Poilievre is now trying to back away from supporting her.
The politician, Christine Anderson, has anti-immigrant views and has at times trivialized the Nazi dictatorship and the Holocaust. She has opposed vaccine mandates and voiced her approval of the Canadian trucker convoy protests last year.
Poilievre walks a thin line when he criticized Anderson’s views and called her “vile,” especially when the German politician is considered a folk hero among freedom convoyers.
One of the organizers of the lunch with Anderson, Bethan Nodwell said: “There’s a sense of betrayal and we feel used by Poilievre, to take the freedom convoy, freedom movement and use them for his own benefit.” She added that Poilievre has disrespected a “celebrated folk hero” cherished by convoy supporters.
“Trust has been lost among this voting bloc,” said Nodwell.
Poilievre rode the wave of populism with his celebration of the freedom convoy and his disdain for “elites” and “gatekeepers.” He has marshalled a powerful political challenge to the status quo governing Ottawa but catering to the whims of the disinformed is a challenge.
Not only does he have to maintain support of a notoriously fickle bunch to form government, he has to win support of voters in Toronto and Quebec.
Conservatives ended up with just five of fifty-three seats in the Greater Toronto Area in the 2021 election. In the Quebec election of 2022, the Conservative Party of Quebec ran campaign similar to Poilievre. If they managed to win just three or four seats, it could have been a blueprint for Poilievre.
Instead, the Conservative Party of Quebec came up with no seats.
And with votes split between the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP nationally, Poilievre needs a majority government. Cooperation with the NDP or Liberals in a minority government is not going to happen.