GUNTER: O’Toole’s convoy response didn’t impress anyone


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Why can’t Pierre Poilievre be the Conservative leader?

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Rather than running and hiding whenever “progressive” reporters ask tough questions, Poilievre, an Ottawa-area MP, answers candidly.

Move over Erin O’Toole.

Just compare how the two responded to media questions about the convoy of truckers as they made their way to Ottawa in their thousands.

O’Toole would eventually agree, at some political risk, to meet with the drivers protesting the Trudeau government’s new requirement that all cross-border truckers be vaccinated.

When asked on Tuesday, however, O’Toole’s first instinct was to let go.

“It is not for the leader of the opposition or a political party to attend a demonstration on the hill or a motorcade,” O’Toole said. He added that no one wants to see an empty grocery store on the shelves, but everyone should get vaccinated. Eh!?

No doubt O’Toole feared associating himself too closely with the “Freedom Convoy” because some of its members had checkered pasts. And crazy ideas.

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Sudbury’s Jason LaFace, who is one of Ontario’s main convoy organizers, said the mask mandates are akin to “Nazi Germany” and bragged about having constitutional lawyers working to disband the federal government.

But rather than fall into the trap of “progressive” media and liberal politicians, and look weak and weak (as O’Toole often does), Poilievre pushed back.

“Every time you have [5,000] or 10,000 people who are in any group, you are bound to have a number that [do] or say things that are unacceptable,” Poilievre explained. “That’s not to say we denigrate the thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, peace-loving truckers” who jumped into their cabs and drove across the country in mid-January to protest the Trudeau government. vaccine mandate.

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It’s harder to be candid when you’re the leader of the party, rather than the party’s financial spokesperson. Yet O’Toole takes shyness and obfuscation to new levels.

Also this week, the entire Conservative caucus heard former Conservative MP for Edmonton Center James Cumming’s report on why their party lost last fall’s federal election.

One of the biggest problems with the campaign? When faced with “woke” media questions, O’Toole folded like the proverbial cheap shirt. (That’s my style of Cumming’s conclusion, not his.)

Let’s take for example the “assault” type weapons. Before the election, O’Toole vowed to reverse Trudeau’s ban on rifles simply because some designs look militaristic. It could explain why law-abiding gun owners posed no threat to public safety.

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Then, during the campaign, when liberals and their friends in the media accused O’Toole of not taking gun violence seriously because he opposed the government ban, O’Toole completely flip-flopped. face.

Flip flops never work. They simply anger your supporters and fail to convince any of your opponents.

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Poilievre wouldn’t back down and collapse. And voters would have stuck with him and the Conservatives rather than staying home in sufficient numbers to give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberals another minority victory.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown. That means it’s a big responsibility to be the boss.

So it’s easier for Poilievre to get away with taking rhetorical risks than it is for O’Toole. But O’Toole never seems to take any chances. And he too often takes his base for granted.

For example, he never seems to stand up for Canada’s energy sector lest support for oil and gas bother the people of downtown Toronto who will never vote for him and the media who will never be fair.

If O’Toole continues to compete with the Liberals and NDP for the same 50% of voters (and for the sake of the mainstream media), rather than firming up the 40% of voters he is, he will continue to lose .

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