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The “winds of change”
are strengthening in Canada

TORONTO – The federal Conservatives held their Convention in Quebec City on the weekend, where 2,500 Party delegates attended.

From my perspective, such conventions – especially when there is a relatively new leader (in this case, Pierre Poilievre) – serve two main purposes: “to imprint the desired image of the Leader’s “public persona” and to clarify the messages that define the Party to the general public.
A National Convention is the one time where the “message” and the “messenger” come close to being merged. Did they?

Observers and party faithful might refer to Pirandello, early twentieth century Italian dramatist and philosopher, as a barometer.

Pirandello would have said “Cosi’ e’ se vi pare” (It is how you perceive it to be). Later Canadian philosopher and communications expert, Marshall McLuhan, coined the phrases “perception is reality” and the messenger “[… the medium…] is the message”.

In my view, what emerged is the beginning of a consolidation of distinct differences between the main contenders for the support of the federal voter. I might have simply relied on the written text of Mr. Poilievre’s speech for confirmation (I did not have a comparative one for either of the two other “national parties”) but chose to compare with what other “press and media” reported as significant, from their perspective.

The Toronto Star, whose editorial position and those of its writers is often considered by pundits as a Liberal-friendly, the reporting, seemed to aim at analysing the personal success of the leader as an individual and at the perceived platform, doctrine, of the party collective.

Its headlines are revealing of the priorities of some members of the public reflected in coverage by their “representatives” in the media: “social” issues rather “financial/economic” (managerial) ones.

Apparently, the editorial board was not pleased with “Poilievre’s success”, choosing a baseball analogy of delivering “hits” when a crowd “hungry for a ‘blue wave’ (i.e., ‘homerun’) would have demanded more.

It seems their headline writers, catering to their readership, felt it important to remark that: “Pierre Poilievre’s push to keep convention focused on economy falls to grassroots votes for social policies”.

This sets up a Leader vs Party membership struggle that is difficult to confirm given the vote of 71%-29% on such issues. Which ones, you ask?

Well, apparently, the ones that supported “surgical, pharmaceutical care for transgender kids”. Sometimes these refer to and include ‘gender affirming’ surgical interventions and puberty-blockers.

A sub-headline adds: “The majority of party members voted to ban medical treatments to minors questioning gender identity, as well as supporting ‘women-only’ spaces like bathrooms.

Read that again. Either the headline writers live in a different world where minors can make lifelong decisions and women are not entitled to their safe space and personal dignity, or maybe the Convention-goers ‘got it right’.

The latest StatsCan figures place the number of people above the age of fifteen who are non-binary at one in three hundred (1/300); one third of one percent. It would appear that the Convention has a better sense of the ‘public pulse’. Hello Pirandello.

Premier Doug Ford in Ontario, perhaps sensitive to fact that some matters may have exhausted their best before date, came out firmly on the weekend, in Kitchner, that School boards do not replace parents in such matters. Hello McLuhan.

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