Bell: Poilievre and Trudeau, let’s get ready to rumble

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It’s Canada.

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Just the very fact of the man’s steamroller of a victory is revolutionary.

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Pierre Poilievre’s mind-blowing triumph, his juggernaut of a win to lead the charge against the Liberals now and in a ballot battle quite a few people are already salivating over, sure feels a solar system away from the forgettable days when Conservative politicians with far less backbone took the reins.

Poilievre’s full-meal deal against the status quo, his full-court press against the high-and-mighties who need an XXXL attitude adjustment in the worst way and won’t get it by anybody playing nicey-nice, appears all-so-revolutionary when measured against the usual trademark lameness of what passes for politics here.

But there they were.

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The crowds Poilievre drew across the country, the unlikely and unanticipated number of souls joining the ranks, folks never political getting political, pissed-off young people with lots of reason to be pissed off, outsiders pushing their way inside and hoping this trip taking on the establishment won’t end up as the usual double-talking, vote-scrounging snake-oil bullcrap.

It better not be. It damn well better not be.

Yes, it was quite a thing to witness, the buzz good and bad when Poilievre’s name came up, the fear and loathing eating away at the psyches of the self-styled smart set of Canadian politics … Canadian politics, for heaven’s sake!

Here was a guy talking about things actually touching Canadians who don’t watch the House of Commons question period.

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Some saw him as a saviour, others dismissed him as a rabble-rousing fraud.

But they were talking about him.

Just seeing the perplexed naysayers squirm was worth the price of admission.

The nerve! The audacity! The man even talks about the working class and he’s not, like, being ironic!

It looks like he might not even try some kind of makeover! He might not pivot to the centre!

What will we ever tell our brunch group? It’s enough to toss our avocado toast.

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Doesn’t Poilievre know if you want the brass ring you have to put a huge helping of pablum into your political diet so folks down east don’t get scared?

So says the received wisdom, thin gruel that it is.

Let’s face it.

Politics in this country in the federal arena is usually a game played as inside baseball.

Living-inside-their-head wonks jousting other living-inside-their-head wonks no doubt reliving the good old days on the high school debate team.

Smarty pants think-tankers burping up treatises to refute other smarty pants think-tankers burping up treatises.

Political hacks looking for the next cushy gig, ivory tower head-scratchers pontificating on reality through their tenured looking glass.

Over in the real world, yes there is one, Ottawa really only gets our attention when they screw us.

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Like now, for instance. Often.

A memo to those in power.

Some very reasonable individuals want someone to shake things up, to take seriously the concerns of those in the day-to-day grind, working hard and trying to pay all the bills and not getting the government they deserve.

A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photo by Chris Wattie /REUTERS / FILES

Of course the reaction is to cast Poilievre as dangerous. Nasty or nuts or both.

Poilievre is waking up the great unwashed and getting them worked up.

For them, Poilievre is … well … reckless.

You could say a revolutionary.

Riddle me this, Batman.

Why don’t those on the left retrieve their working-class roots from the dustbin of history?

“The economic model is taking from the have-nots and giving to the have-yachts,” said Poilievre, over lunch with your scribbler at a Calgary diner this past April.

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“This is reverse Robin Hood going on right now. It’s like a ladder being pulled up. If you didn’t get on the ladder before they started pulling it up, you can never get on.”

Sounds a little like old-school lefty talk.

Sorry. I forgot. New-school lefties aren’t into that bread-and-butter stuff anymore. They’re waiting for us to say something offside on Twitter.

It’s left to Poilievre to talk about the hope of many being melted down into hurt.

It’s left to Poilievre to bang the drum on the cost of living or how taxes should not go up but go down.

It’s left to Poilievre to remind us again and again how every single dollar spent by government is paid for by working stiffs and seniors and those who don’t have an ever-inflating nest egg to rely upon to get them through tough times.

Now it’s Poilievre and Trudeau and the Liberals facing off.

On Monday, the biggest puzzler some Ottawa reporters are left to breathlessly ask Conservative after Conservative politician is whether Poilievre will fire the governor of the Bank of Canada.

They don’t get it. They just don’t get it.

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