Waterloo Region Record

Nice guys finish last in Poilievre's playbook


How do you get a Canadian to apologize?

You step on their foot.

Go ahead, try it for yourself! The internet is chock full of jokes aimed at the deserving reputation Canadians have for being among the nicest and most polite people on the planet. Well, except maybe the man who is most likely to be our next prime minister.

Barely a month after dismantling a reporter in British Columbia while calmly munching an apple in an Okanagan orchard, Pierre Poilievre was at it again, this time with a reporter from The Canadian Press.

The reporter asked Poilievre if he felt it was responsible of him to label a vehicle explosion at a border crossing an act of terrorism when it had not been confirmed as such.

But Poilievre turned the question back to the reporter, asking if she felt it was responsible for the media to characterize the explosion as being “terror-related” before Poilievre himself used similar language. And, for good measure, the Conservative leader even tossed in a jab at the reporter’s CP credentials and a wisecrack about the number of times CP had to update its story as it developed, suggesting a Guinness record might have even been set.

It's all fun and games when you have a 16-point lead in the polls and a clear contempt for the job someone else is trying to do.

We’ll ignore for now a curious timeline between Poilievre’s question in the House of Commons — and allusion to a terror attack — and the actual use of “terror-related” in any Canadian reporting. Where Poilievre gets his information and whether he scrolls his phone at work is not the point here.

What does matter is how he treated reporters in both B.C. and Ottawa over the past month.

Using his considerable rhetorical wit to his advantage, Poilievre belittled the people with whom he was speaking. Sure, the questions posed may have been fumbled or tangential but, still, the leader of Canada’s Official Opposition has a choice in how to respond.

Maybe it’s true that this happens so often to Poilievre, that the media is out to get him at every turn, he’s finally begun to snap. There’s no evidence of that, though.

There is evidence, however, that he has created exceptionally viral moments to lather up a base that already regards the media with a lower-than-ever esteem.

And, frankly, Poilievre hasn’t come across in either of these exchanges as the kind of nice, polite person Canadians have a reputation for being.

It’s a curious course given the Conservatives’ recent efforts to soften the image of the man once described as the party’s attack dog. That no-nonsense, shoot-fromthe-hip approach seems to lift you to a big lead in the polls, but it might not foster broad, lasting appeal.

Since most Canadians are, in fact, nice and polite, maybe they want their prime minister to be, too. Maybe we’ll find out in 2025. Hey, did you hear the one about the guy who’s going to be the next Canadian prime minister?

He thinks nice guys finish last.






Toronto Star Newspapers Limited