Sunday, September 11, 2022

Cometh the Hour, Cometh Pierre


So far, so-so.

The good news is, Pierre Poilievre won the Conservative Party leadership in a mortal beatdown. This was always going to happen, inasmuch as the half-million normal people who bought party memberships in recent months, this writer included, did so just to vote for Pierre and an outside shot at being left alone.

The disquieting bit, yet to be confirmed, is that Pierre et al. gave the impression they are poised to perform that grotesque and misbegotten political maneuver: The Pivot.

In the fundraising email Pierre sent out just before the results were announced (all the candidates sent similar missives; it was a cloying look), he cautioned that if he were to win the leadership, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would seek to define him as an extremist right away.

Gentle Reader, you and I have been here before, so we need not make a big, hairy deal about the details. In sum, unless a nominally conservative politician agrees at once with the Current Thing, whilst energetically denouncing the Current Bad Thing, he is a monstrous istophobe who uses guns to guard his guns and probably didn’t even see Captain Marvel.

Taking all that as read, the mistake supposedly conservative politicians make is to allow fear of such characterization to define them. What they fail to understand is that they can be an invertebrate, lefty squish and not only will they still get the same treatment from liberals and their media allies, but their putative voter base will abandon them, as well (for details, consult President Romney).

To wit, upon his victory, Pierre ascended the podium and sounded suspiciously like one of Them. It is possible – hopeful, in fact – that I am overreacting to minor portions of his remarks. I may have been primed to do so by the brutal, brain-melting manner in which the results were presented.

In short, it was the most Canadian thing you ever saw. We half-million normal people who signed up just for this received an email saying the results would be announced online at 6pm. Like a dummy who’s never been here before, I clicked the link at the appointed time and sat there.

Out came some shouty, boxy, Canadian woman of a certain age with those glasses and that haircut (you know the one). I am not certain she introduced herself. It bears repeating that Canadian politicians are deeply weird and this manifests, in part, by assuming everyone recognizes them on sight.

Beside her was a second woman who, we would come to learn, was there to repeat the remarks of the first woman, only in French and much, much louder.

Fine, one supposed, someone has to set the stage, the new leader isn’t just going to poke his head out like Richard Nixon saying, “Sock it to me.”

But then it kept going. By and by, it became clear these people were doing a floor show. There were, appropriately, remarks on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, followed by a rendition of God Save the King on saxophone (reached for comment in the afterlife, Oliver Cromwell remarked, “Told ya so”).

There was the ubiquitous modern grovel to the Indians, asking if it’s okay for us to have the hall for an hour. People refer to this in passing and capitalized as the Land Acknowledgement, the way previous generations would speak of the Lord’s Prayer (every society is a theocracy), as though it’s perfectly normal. It’s not normal, it’s enough already.

O Canada was performed with Justin’s updated commie lyrics. Videotaped messages from every Conservative Member of Parliament were played, along with an extended address from Pierre’s predecessor as leader, Erin O’Toole (more on whom in a moment).

On and on it went, genuflecting to every woke totem and with all the production values of a Christian game show. As I say, it was the most Canadian thing you ever saw.

One respite was the YouTube live comment section, where a number of we normal half-million were saying much the same as what I have written here. In short, we didn’t sign up for this, these are not the things we care about, and just tell us who won.

Being Canadian and “Conservative,” however, the party administrators shut down the comment section. That’s enough out of you, actual people, now hold still and listen respectfully to the throat-singers.

After about two hours, a pair of middle-aged men appeared onstage, waxing about their long, strange journey the past several months, all the hard, hard work they had done, and how it all began for them (“I’ll never forget, I was in my rumpus room in Sudbury when the phone rang…”).

Back and forth they went, congratulating and thanking one another, with no thought having been given to a wrap-up. It was like one of those technical awards at the Oscars, where the winners have some Magna Carta-length list of people to thank, only with no music to play them off.

Finally, one of the men proclaimed, “The moment you have been waiting for is here.” A whoop of joy and relief went up from the crowd (apparently some normal people had slipped into the hall).

He quickly added that he meant they were just about ready to tally the votes. At this point, the crowd might have been forgiven for chanting “WTF” in unison.

Now, now, he informed us, it was simply a matter of sending the results through the computer – “They’re ready to push the button” – and, Gaia willing, he and his accounting partner would be back onstage in 10 to 15 minutes. So we had THAT to look forward to.

Whereupon, the screen went blank. About half an hour later – there was some imbroglio with the elevator, about which you don’t care any more than I do – they returned and, after suspenseful language about having “SOME results,” announced that Pierre had eaten everyone’s lunch with somewhere north of 68 percent of the vote.

There were cheers and applause, of course, if perhaps somewhat less jubilant than they might have been at, say, 6pm.

Obviously, none of the foregoing can be laid at Pierre’s feet, as he was not yet Leader. What follows, however, is all him.

After an interminable evening of bait-and-switch CanCon, preceded by an unnecessary 6-month campaign (the entire point of which, it says here, was to give establishment candidates a chance to beat Pierre), people wanted to hear, at last, from the Man of the Hour.

Instead, a woman few of us knew ascended the podium and spoke passionately in French, Spanish, and English, about herself, her racial history, and her family’s struggles. At long last, she had finally made it.

One wants to be careful here; nevertheless, it ought to be said. I was aware Pierre is married, and I am sure she is tremendous. We who supported him in this bid respect who he is and what he is trying to accomplish; doubtless, she has much to do with that. But with a monsoon of respect, no one voted for her.

Again, the soul-crushing hours leading up to the announcement may have frayed my patience. After months of campaigning and an evening of beaver-juggling and speeches that sounded like Air Canada safety instructions, Pierre needed no one to “Introduce” him, as was her stated task.

And unlike those poor souls in the hall, I was in the comfort of my home and the movie channel was showing a Rocky marathon. So, you know, I had options.

Someone should have called an audible and just let Pierre address his patient supporters. If that’s all it was, so be it. But if, as part of The Pivot, they plan to exploit Pierre’s wife as some kind of Venezuelan Hillary two-for-one deal, it needs to stop, and right now. Canada is too perilously close to becoming the actual Venezuela for that kind of play.

When he did speak, Pierre was fine, and no better. We who had seen his outstanding videos online throughout the campaign recognized some of the notes. He plans to tackle inflation, support farmers, and restore freedom (which really is the key). But we also heard a lot of stuff that most definitely was not in the Welcome Package: “climate change,” electric cars, and “it doesn’t matter who you love” (egads, the grammar).

Wait, what? Are we doing this again?

Let us reflect, for a moment, on how we got here. Pierre’s predecessor, Erin O’Toole, was a pal of mine since before he entered politics. I just considered him a solid, normal guy I knew and no one was happier than I when he won the leadership. Sadly, I was just as relieved when he stepped aside. And why did that occur?

Honk, honk, mes amis.

The truckers drove Erin from office and gave Pierre his moment. These past couple years, when the mask slipped (so to speak) and government revealed itself to be the necessary but malign force many of us always knew it to be, Erin was nowhere. Indeed, I am being kind for old times’ sake. He was dead wrong.

Justin, the champion of “my body, my choice” when the topic is eliminating children, decreed that all must receive injections of his choosing. There could be no more egregious violation of personal freedom and bodily autonomy. And where was Erin? Agreeing, in the main, on this and everything else. Premises we accepted, The Pivot was performed, and all was lost.

Pierre, meanwhile, was out there giving coffee to the truckers who braved deep snow, frozen bank accounts, and police brutality just to give normal people hope.

But now, in his first speech as Conservative Leader, Pierre box-ticks a bunch of lefty nonsense, performing The Pivot for fear of being badly defined.

Allow me to be clear, for the benefit of those who pretend not to understand: A person can have tolerance, compassion, and Christian love for others, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or WHOM they love, yet simultaneously be sick to the teeth of Diversity Enforcement.

Besides which, all these are luxury priorities for rich societies not facing crisis. At this moment, Canada, and the West in general, is neither. 

One hopes Pierre noticed that the loudest cheers he received in his speech came when he renewed his promise to eliminate all remaining Covid mandates, as well as Justin’s Satanic, citizen-tracking app, ArriveCan. These are the issues that removed the old guard and gave him his chance.

If Pierre runs in the next election as Jean Charest in problem glasses, it will go as badly for him as when Apollo Creed took that exhibition fight against an unknown Russian.

Pierre’s victory is cause for celebration, but also caution. This really is our last chance, in my estimation. Western elections are now so utterly “fortified,” Pierre may need to prevail by a similar margin to his victory in the leadership race in order to form a government. To do so, he must remember how he got here.

Congratulations, Pierre, thank you, and please don’t mump this up.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at