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Here are three things Pierre Poilievre can do to beat Justin Trudeau – Toronto Sun

Published Jan 03, 2023  •  3 minute read

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We don't know if there will be an election but we do know Poilievre and Trudeau will battle it out politically. Here's how Poilievre can win, writes columnist Brian Lilley.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre greet each other as they gather in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The political showdown of the year in Canada, early election or not, will be Justin Trudeau against Pierre Poilievre.

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The latest political polling has Poilievre’s Conservatives ahead of Trudeau’s governing Liberals in national voter support, and many seat projection models show the Conservatives winning a small minority government if an election were held now.

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As the saying goes, though, a week is a lifetime in politics, so a whole year means anything is possible.

It wasn’t that long ago that Trudeau was being written off as yesterday’s man, with predictions he would soon follow in his father’s footsteps — take a walk in the snow and retire. That speculation was driven by Trudeau appearing detached and uninterested in running the country.

Lately, the PM seems to have regained his passion for campaigning, even as his government shows it has no interest in the daily government operations. Rather than taking a walk in the snow, Trudeau seems determined to fight Poilievre and fight hard to win a fourth government.

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Trudeau is clearly good at finding wedge issues to squeeze out a voting coalition that will put him over the top. He won in 2021 with 32.6% of the popular national vote, the smallest percentage of any governing party in Canadian history. The Liberals have dropped from 6.9 million votes cast for them in 2015 to just 5.5 million in 2021.

The Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau is not in good shape.

Poilievre, though, has boosted fundraising for the party and will beat the Liberals when the latest numbers are released, and on the issue of voter support, things are headed in the right direction.

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The last Leger poll put the Conservatives ahead nationally 33% support to 30% for the Liberals. More importantly, it put the Conservatives ahead of the Liberals in Ontario by seven points — 36% to 29% — and showed the two parties tied among women with 30% support each, while the Conservatives led among men 35% to 31%.

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Poilievre’s Conservatives also held a lead in all voting age groups over 35, the most reliable voters.

How can Poilievre seal the deal in 2023 and take his party’s fortunes to the next level? Here are three things he needs to focus on.

Poilievre needs to connect with women voters, specifically suburban women voters. This is one of the main swing voter groups over the last several elections. The Conservatives usually tend to perform better with men, but when they do convince this group of women to vote for them, the Conservatives form a government.

This means Poilievre needs to continue talking about the issues of everyday Canadians and right now, the biggest one is the rising cost of living. You see it shopping for groceries, clothes, a new car, furniture – whatever you need, the cost is going up.

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While the Trudeau government has failed to deal with this issue, Poilievre needs to convince suburban women that he has a plan to make life more affordable for their families.

Similarly, he needs to show that he has a plan on several issues and a team to carry it out.

Right now, nothing works as it should and people are noticing. That means Poilievre needs to show that he and his party are the government in waiting and will fix the many problems plaguing the federal government under Trudeau.

Passports, immigration, the military, election interference, the inability to get things built in Canada are all problems. Trudeau is good at campaigning, he’s good at making announcements, but he’s terrible at running a government. Poilievre needs to offer an alternative to putting up with this mess.

Finally, he needs to keep introducing himself to Canadians and telling his personal story.

We saw some of that on the night he won the Conservative leadership, but it was mainly political types watching that. His personal story is, as he said, messy, but so too is the personal story of many Canadians.

The positive, smiling leader, father and husband will grab people unsure of whether to put their trust in him.

If Poilievre does these things in the coming months, he’ll win an election if it comes, and if it doesn’t, he’ll be looking at even better poll numbers when 2024 comes around.