WELL, HELLOOOOOO, KITS!
Earlier this week, following the Convoy Party of Canada’s disastrous result in the recent Mississauga-Lakeshore by-election and the announcement of near-cataclysmic favourability numbers earned by a certain Opposition Leader in a public opinion research survey conducted by the very Conservative-leaning Angus Reid Institute, our very own Dean Blundell published an article titled Everyone Hates Pierre Poilievre. Like, Everyone in which he astutely stated: “Hate and rage farming isn’t sustainable. It works until people get tired of trying to wade through the hate and self-aggrandizing behavior of influencers and politicians who weaponize hatred and division.”
Hate and rage-farming political campaigns are fear-based initiatives, much like anti-smoking social marketing campaigns. They are designed to press the target audience’s internal fear / caution button so as to provoke a specific behavioural change. In Pierre’s case, the primary desired behavioural change is to get the so-called swing voter, particularly the “Blue Liberal / Red Conservative” voter, to either not vote for anyone at all in the next federal election or, even better, switch their vote from Liberal / Trudeau to Conservative / Pierre. One who uses such tactics also hopes that the campaign keeps acquired decided voters in one’s camp (and better yet, gets them to open up their wallets) and will serve as a motivating factor at “get out the vote” time.
Such campaigns rely on two things, in particular, to be effective: a) that that about which one is hate and rage farming provokes fear / concern / distaste / discomfort among the target audience (which is usually helped when the target audience is predisposed to not having positive feelings about the one, those, or the thing about whom or which one is hate and rage farming) and, b) that the target audience believes that the one doing the hate and rage farming is viewed as meaningfully less frightening / concerning / distasteful / discomforting than the one, those, or the thing about whom or which one is hate or rage farming.
PRESSING THE FEAR BUTTON
Canadians of a certain age may remember this particular anti-tobacco public service announcement featuring Debi Austin.
If you remember it, it is most likely because of how effective it was at the time.
After all, who, in their right mind, would want to develop an addiction to a substance, or keep engaging in a behavior, that could eventually lead to a tracheostomy? If the health argument didn’t land, perhaps it’s the vanity one that would.
According to marcrotrends.ca, the smoking rate in Canada has decreased from 28.40% in 2000 to 13% in 2020.
The combination of campaigns, legislation, social peer pressure, etc., has been somewhat effective at lowering the cost to society due to smoking.
But what about the 13% who continued with the habit despite such PSAs, graphic labels, statistics from credible sources, advice from their physicians, and increasingly reduced number of spaces where one can legally smoke?
BUT IT HAS LIMITS
For them, though there may have been an instance of fear, it was rationalized away in several manners: “I’m generally healthy otherwise, so this won’t be my fate;” “Oh, that only happens in rare cases;” “Well, I only smoke about half-a-pack a day / lights / menthols, so my consumption isn’t as bad;” “Oh that’s so over the top! They’re trying to scare me, but it won’t work;” “I’ve been smoking for 20 years, and I’ve never had an issue yet;” and so on…
The other thing about fear-based social marketing or political campaigns is that if the worst case doesn’t materialize, the fear one feels eventually diminishes to a point at which the tactic is simply no longer effective for some. Fear-based movements are difficult to sustain without constantly raising the stakes. Over time, worse yet for the one repeatedly pushing the fear button, engaging in a fear-based campaign may backfire, making the one leading it look like they are simply being strident, particularly in cases when the target of the fear campaign has enough time to be exposed to countering messages that effectively contradict / refute / rebut the issue for which a case for fear is being made.
THE STRATEGY AS IT APPLIES TO THE PRIME MINISTER
This is where Petey P. Staines comes into the equation.
Since April 2003, when Justin Trudeau became Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, it’s been an all-out, 24/7 campaign to discredit him:
- They’ve tried elitism, but Trudeau has been a bouncer, actor, snowboard instructor, and convener of parent-teacher meetings. In contrast, the leader of the opposition party has been a career politician who qualified in his early thirties for a platinum-plated pension.
- They’ve tried painting him as an intellectual lightweight who might need to be reminded to put his pants on for a debate. The fact is, Trudeau has two Bachelor’s degrees, two years of engineering study at École Polytechnique, as well as some Master’s level studies in environmental geography. The current leader of the opposition party initially left university without graduating but eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2008.
- They’ve tried painting him as weak / “not a real man.” Still, he defeated Senator Patrick Brazeau in a boxing match, handled Trump during NAFTA 2 negotiations, and stood firm when Chairman Xi Jinping tried to use hostage diplomacy to bend Canada to his will. For his part, the current leader of the opposition party appeared to fear taking questions from serious journalists (BTW, an obsession with masculinity is one of the 14 characteristics of fascism as laid out by philosopher Umberto Eco).
- They’ve tried framing him as a bigot / fake feminist / groper. However, there has been no multitude of people making such allegations just falling out of his skeleton closet — as is usually the case with such behaviours — to confirm that these are things inherent to his personality. This stands in contrast to a current leader of the opposition on the record as stealing thunder for himself on the very day of the federal apology to Indigenous Canadians by suggesting not only that they didn’t have a strong enough work ethic but also that Canadians should have gotten value for money for a legal settlement pertaining to tort committed by the government that is today viewed as an attempt at genocide.
- They’ve also tried to define him as unable to handle difficult situations. Yet, he emerge out from four years of Trump and three years of a pandemic with about as high marks as one could hope for considering impossible circumstances. During that time, the current leader of the opposition preached caving to a mob of Canadians who took about 100,000 of their fellow citizens hostage and sought an overthrow of the government. He aslo, ill-advisedly, pushed crypto as a way to circumvent global inflation.
- They’ve even tried to suggest he’s inexorably corrupt. However, the facts are that after nearly seven years as PM, there hasn’t been even one police investigation into his government. The government he replaced pleaded guilty in court to election spending fraud that led it to its first electoral victory, had a Cabinet Minister (Dean Del Mastro) go to jail, and was the first government in the history of the entire Commonwealth to be held in contempt of its own Parliament. In addition, there is also a contrast with the current leader of the opposition who is currently subject to a compliance agreement with the Commissioner of Canada Elections for having circumvented the prohibitions on contributions to a registered party by ineligible contributors.
The latest strategy has been holding Justin Trudeau personally responsible for absolutely everything challenging in the world. Except how can one be credible suggesting Justin Trudeau singlehandedly controls global inflation, supply chains, the ability to reduce global GHG emissions, the price of oil, etc., after having suggested for years that he’s too dumb to work a toaster? Once again, portraying “the enemy” as both strong and weak is another one of philosopher Eco’s 14 characteristics of fascism.
The most recent examples are Poilievre outright suggesting the government is flooding Vancouver streets with Fentanyl and benzo-laced drugs in a video in which he outright lies: “But the addictions that we see that have terrorized these people and our communities, they are the result of a failed experiment. This is a deliberate policy by woke Liberal and NDP governments to provide taxpayer-funded drugs, to flood our streets with easy access to these poisons,” as well as Poilievre mouthpiece, Kean Bexte, stating the recent massacre of 5 Canadians in Toronto is a direct result of the PM’s “reckless immigration policies” despite the fact the alleged perpetrator of the killings immigrated to Canada years before the current Prime Minister was even born!
HITTING A WALL?
Well, it seems that the 24-hour rage party people’s strategy is no longer working, and with nearly three years to go before the next federal election, Poilievre and Friends will need to find another tactic because that which they are doing now, as Dean Blundell noted, is not sustainable.
According to Angus Reid, of the four all-time Chaos Party of Canada leaders, he is far and away the least popular and palatable at this point in their mandate.
After only three months as leader, PeePee not only the lowest favourability numbers of Harper, Scheer, O’Toole, and himself, but also the highest unfavourability numbers and, the lowest undecided numbers — dude, has really made an impression — therefore indicating he’s the most polarizing. He also has the worst net unfavourability numbers: Harper was at +26 favourability, Scheer was neutral at 0, and O’Toole had a -6 unfavorable rating, but Pierre? Pierre already sits at a whopping -21 net negative rating…
For the sake of comparison, Prime Minister Trudeau sits at -11… after more than seven full years in office.
But there are three other very eyebrow-raising metrics in this survey.
One: The Poilievre narrative has been about how he is connecting with younger Canadians. Well… meh… not so much.
The Prime ‘Minister’s favourability among men aged 18 – 34 has shot up a complete 8% to 39% over the course of the last three months alone, making that age group the one with which he is most popular among men.
With women of the same age group, his favourability has increased steadily over the past nine months for a total 11% jump this year, now sitting at 50%.
Two: Women are once again the ones saving Canada.
With this jump among the youngest cohort, the Prime Minister enjoys 50% or better favourability with women in general, except the 35 – 54 age group with whom he sits at 47%, which is still a 5% increase over the past nine months. Perhaps that MGTOW dalliance from Pee Wee Vermin wasn’t the best move?
Three: The Convoy Party of Canada, under the leadership of Pepperidge Smarms, has gone back to being a regional rump party.
In all provincial regions of Canada, except (of course) Alberta and Saskatchewan, his favourability rating does not exceed 35%. And of the two provinces where he has over 50% favourability, his higher favourability is in Saskatchewan (or “New Alberta”).
Worse for him yet, as was the case for Harper, no matter how much French he speaks, the Québecois already see right through this poseur: his favourability is only at 20%. Considering it is the second most populous province, his road to election victory will not take this path.
Perhaps it is moments such as these — moments during which the mask has fallen to reveal his true face…
“You might want to address it through big fat gov’t programs, we’re Conservatives so we don’t believe in that.”
— Gustave Roy (@GustaveRoyVote) September 15, 2021
That makes it such that so few are buying his attempt to now create moments like these…
It's time we had a government that was on the side of the common people – one that stands up for you.
Your paycheque, your home, your savings, your country.
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) December 22, 2022
THE PIERRE PIVOT
A year-and-a-quarter ago, as Canadians were dying from COVID, Captain Shortpants said that “Conservatives don’t believe in” addressing the financial hit COVID imposed on Canadians with government programs he then labeled as “big” and “fat.” Still, today, he wants you to buy, hook, line, and sinker, that a government he would lead would actually “be on the side of” and “stand up for” those who he considers “the common people”… while telling us every day how much our country sucks.
It’s a stretch similar to the one former CPC Leader Erin O’Toole attempted when campaigning twice in 3 years for the top party job. He said in 2017 that he was a Progressive Conservative and then in 2020 claimed he had a complete change in values and priorities and was now a “true blue Conservative.” The resulting split personality and inauthenticity blew up his campaign.
This Pierre Pivot — attempted in less than half the time Erin had — is not working… because it’s just not credible.
With well over two years to go before an election — unless the NDP sees something in it for itself to pull the plug early — the man who promised the PPC base he was seriously courting that he would not pivot will have to do just that… again. How he accomplishes this without sacrificing these votes without which he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of becoming Prime Minister, Creator only knows. But with that said, these numbers, from a Conservative Party of Canada-friendly firm no less, appear to indicate that PeePee is already a liability for his party, with a lumber ceiling he’ll find difficult to break through.
If he weren’t such a clever, slippery, and resourceful lifelong politician, I’d already be suggesting a “Lettuce see whether he lasts longer than…” contest.
But given the recent leadership campaign revealed that the Conservative bench is entirely without depth and, there is no serious contender to dislodge him, he will get the benefit of much rope with which to hang himself… or not.
Until we next see each other, be kind to and gentle with yourself,
Your Eager Beaver
The True North Eager Beaver is also a podcast. We have a live morning show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 a.m. (Eastern) that you can find on our YouTube channel or live-streamed on our Twitter feed.
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