Pierre the Grinch

Pierre the Grinch
What did he do to earn this?

I get it. It’s been a busy week, and there’s the holidays around the corner and those damn sugar cookies sure ain’t gonna bake themselves. But I need to ask anyway: Did we have to deal with Pierre the Grinch? 

As you know, the Conservative leader made a colossal fool of himself by throwing his MPs into a marathon voting session over two days in Parliament during which they forced everyone to go through 135 individual votes on government spending. This was done, ostensibly, to force the Liberals into withdrawing parts of their carbon tax. 

“I’ve got news for Justin Trudeau,” Poilievre said to the cameras he’d invited to his caucus meeting precisely to record them fighting words. “You’ve ruined Christmas for Canadians. Common sense Conservatives are going to ruin your vacation as well.”

I had to staple my eyeballs into place to stop them from rolling out of my head. 

First of all, while the job of the opposition is to oppose the government, it does not typically include the right to engage in procedural abuse. By all means, vote against the thing — during regular business hours. Don’t force everyone to stay through the night just to show that you can. That’s stupid and disrespectful. Also childish and extraordinarily inane. 

Second of all, after setting his MPs on this course Poilievre hightailed it to Montreal for a fundraising event as well as a visit to a synagogue to mark the beginning of Hanukkah. He eventually showed up in the House with bags full of McD for his social networks. I mean, his troops. 

Say what you want about Justin Trudeau, but he was in the House with his team starting late Thursday night for the graveyard shift. 

Third of all, give me a fucking break already. You don’t have to be a fan of carbon pricing, but at least do us the minimal honour of not being conspicuously dishonest about it.

As you’ll know if you’ve invested 26 seconds googling, carbon pricing has been present in Canada since Alberta (the notorious woke paradise) first talked about it in 2003. It implemented its regulation in March 2007, a few months before Quebec brought in its own tax on carbon. 

I don’t care how often you wake up at night to hate Justin Trudeau, he did not personally ruin Christmas 2023 with this carbon tax. It’s something the party promised to do in the 2015 federal election. And even if the prime minister was against Christmas, the proper answer isn’t to force so many people (including House of Commons staff) to work overnight. 

Go ahead and devote your life to undoing carbon pricing if that’s what powers your engine, but spare us pointless shenanigans that do nothing except show how much you disrespect the institution of Parliament. 

There was no point in the marathon voting session. It was not designed to accomplish anything except to show that one party enjoys behaving like jerks for social media cameras. There was no alternative proposed or discussed. The disruption was not a tool to accomplish anything. It was the entire plan.

It is a feature of the Poilievre kind of conservatism to invent an offense that would be aggravating (or worse) if true then using it as an excuse to retaliate and a half by being an even bigger and more offensive jerk. 

It’s not about the policy or even the politics. It’s about projecting force, so that supporters can feel like winners on twitter. It’s like wearing a muscle shirt to feel stronger. 

Recent numbers suggest it’s a great tactic to raise money, as the blue party has racked in over $23 million so far this year, compared to about $10 million for the red team. And for sure, the polls. Poilievre’s focus on affordability, especially on housing, is a winning issue. So far anyway. But eventually he’ll have to have something a little more substantive to propose than “Trudeau is a fink.” 

Ideally he’ll present that without chomping on apples or picking stupid fights with reporters. Because the nastiness that’s been on display of late — very much including the overnight marathon session in the House — is not something that most people in this country find appealing, even if they agree with you on some of your points. 

To win seats he doesn’t currently have, Poilievre is going to have to appeal to the people who live there and don’t traditionally vote conservative. He won’t get that done with vinegar, spite, and related grincheries.