When Lyndon Johnson was asked why he didn't fire J. Edgar Hoover, he famously replied that he wanted Hoover "inside the tent pissing out and not outside the tent pissing in." Michael Harris writes that the Conservatives are masters of pissing inside the tent:
One wonders if the Conservative Party of Canada will ever hold a leadership race without turning it into a master class of mud-wrestling, hanky-panky, and mutual denunciation.
They are usually so busy slagging each other, any notion of policy is at best an after-thought. Sorry guys, but squealing “freedom” at the top of your lungs while tying up a city is not a policy.
Pierre Poilievre, the slur-king of the current leadership, now says that the Patrick Brown campaign is cheating.
Poilievre lodged a formal complaint, accusing his rival of reimbursing membership fees paid by people who agreed to join the party. Brown has made public that he sold 150,000 memberships—a number Poilievre claims is bogus. How, one wonders, would he know, one way or the other?
In addition to the reimbursement charge, it is alleged by the Poilievre camp that the Brown campaign offered “additional financial inducements.” What does that mean? Cash, a bit of bitcoin, free beer? What?
But this kind of cat fight isn't new:
It is interesting that Poilievre has already smeared Brown before, repeatedly calling him a liar. He accused the mayor of Brampton of lying about his position on sex education in Ontario, his position on the carbon tax, and in his critique of the Harper government, of which Poilievre was a key member.
Poilievre seems to have forgotten all about his own attempt in government to de-tune democracy with the risibly named Fair Elections Act, and that other legislative stinker from Harper-times, the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Practices Act. Strange way to support immigrants.
Poilievre is dissing Brown because Brown could hold the key to who wins the party leadership in September. If Brown’s membership numbers are correct, and the leadership should go to a second or third ballot, Brown could very easily deliver a victory to Jean Charest. So far, the Charest camp has been coy on its membership numbers, saying only that it has a path to victory in the fall.
That is precisely why Poilievre tried to paint an unflattering picture of Charest as a philosophical liberal who was in the pocket of the Chinese as a private consultant. He’s worried.
If Poilievre can get people talking about the moral poverty of his rivals, they may forget about his own blunders on this campaign. He extolled the virtues of bitcoin to Canadians as a hedge against inflation, without telling them he had investments in it. He later claimed that he checked with the ethics commissioner, who gave him the green light.
Poilievre also did his Donald Trump imitation in a childish outburst about firing the governor of the Bank of Canada.
Even Conservative MP Ed Fast came out against Poilievre for his comments about Tiff Macklem. And Poilievre is still missing in action on some big files—from climate change, to the rising tide of authoritarianism around the world. That hole in his resumé earned criticism of the party from former Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell. It isn’t hard to figure out who she is talking about.
The Conservatives don't win elections because they're mad as hell. Most of all, they're mad at themselves.