Monday, March 18, 2024

No Bosom Buddies

You might think that, if Pierre Poilievre becomes prime minister, Doug Ford would be ecstatic. Martin Regg Cohn writes that such is not the case:

By rights, these two right-wingers should be soul mates.

Yet they are anything but.

Premier Doug Ford and federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre barely know each other. Nor are they in a hurry to get better acquainted.

They have no private conversations to speak of. Nor any public interactions to take stock of.

Helming the Progressive Conservative government at Queen’s Park, Ford is Canada’s most powerful Tory. As leader of the federal Conservatives, Poilievre is putatively Canada’s prime minister in waiting.

By tradition, these two top Tories should be as one. Yet it is hard to fathom two fellow travellers moving in such different directions — keeping their political distance when in close proximity.

What evidence is there that Poilievre and Ford are not bosom buddies?

The best evidence of that avoidance came last weekend, when Poilievre convened a mass political rally in Ford’s home riding of Etobicoke North. Poilievre’s call went out to all true believers to stand together against the federal carbon tax, but Ford sent word out to caucus that he'd sit it out.

Despite their shared antipathy to taxes and hostility to government meddling, they clearly feel no mutual felicity. In truth, they have no time for each other, never having attempted a meeting of minds in the 18 months since Poilievre became federal party leader and the six years since Ford took over the provincial Tories.

What’s keeping these two conservatives so far apart? Why can’t they be friends and allies, if not comrades-in-arms?

From talking to those in the know, it’s apparent that the differences are as much personal as political, more stylistic than substantive.

Poilievre is a lifetime politician who never went to charm school. Ford had a life before politics, capable of turning on the charm to make a sale for the family business.

Where Poilievre is constantly chippy, Ford is alternately chipper to get his way. Where the federal leader is cantankerous, the premier can be gregarious when the mood moves him.

While Poilievre disdains Ottawa, he embodies the bubble of the federal capital — right down to the riding he represents. By contrast, Ford projects an everyman persona, cultivating the salty language of working folks while downplaying his privileged upbringing.

But there is a bigger divide:

Canada’s Conservatives are anchored in Western regional alienation, oblivious to the instinct for accommodation in Ontario. As premier, Ford is more mindful of the province’s propensity for centrism and compromise, no matter his initial impulse for conflict and upheaval.

Paradoxically, the premier sees his true counterpart as Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. While the two leaders are far from soul mates, they are at least simpatico — breezily cutting cheques and cutting ribbons for new factories or shared programs.

We'll see what the future holds.

Image: Toronto Sun


zoombats said...

I can think of at least one thing they have in common. That being a derogatory term for a part of the human anatomy best left to the imagination.

Owen Gray said...

In other words, zoombats, they're not too smart.

e.a.f. said...

As long as the two of them can't get it together, Canadians will be better off. At least we won't see the two of them caimpaigning together. Politics will not be comfortable for Ford if PP is P.M. PP comes across as a nasty piece of business, with no sense of humour or depth to him. Ford at least smilies, is fairly friendly and understands business and politics--don't agree with his politics, but if I had to make a choice between the two of them, it would be Ford. PP is just to scary for a leftie.

Northern PoV said...

So that's two provincial CON groups that don't like Lil'PP!

Did the recent David Parker eruption make it to the national news?
Parker is Danielle Smith's 'boss' and leader of Take Back Albert.
He thoroughly dissed Lil'PP and his wife with a set of Jenni Byrne-related (Lil'PP's ex) rumours.

What else do the Smith/Ford CON insiders know and can Lil'PP's handlers keep it quiet?

We ain't winning on policy or outcomes, so perhaps we join them in scandal mongering, eh?

Owen Gray said...

It sounds like Poilievre and the natives have their problems, PoV.

Owen Gray said...

Ford is uncomfortable with Western Alienation, e.a.f. Poilievre and he come from two different worlds.