Going for baroque

Who could have imagined the new Pierre Poilievre? Not me. One day he’s a geeky, bespectacled nonentity, and the next day he’s sleek, newly sartorial, with a swirled head of hair and eyes that see and can be seen. Put it all together and I’d almost call him handsome.
I cannot imagine the hours of staff meetings that went into this transformation. Well, as a former political staffer to another leader who had image problems, in fact, I can well imagine. A journalist was commissioned to write a magazine piece on my leader, Robert Stanfield, and we foolishly allowed said writer to sit in on a staff meeting. When the article appeared we were surprised just how much time we’d spent discussing the leader’s image.  
But we made no progress. Poilievre has. Coincident with his makeover, some polling is circulating that that has him five or six percentage points ahead of Justin Trudeau nationally. To be sure, that doesn’t necessarily translate into seats, but it is said that Poilievre is doing well in some of the Toronto ridings where Conservatives have won in the past, but not recently. If that’s the case, then there are other regions in the country where Poilievre has made headway. It is a political truism that Toronto is the last to know.
My favourite political columnist, Andrew Coyne of the Globe and Mail, has written extensively of late how Trudeau might be returned after a close election because, as prime minister, he can meet the house, and call a vote. With the continued support of the New Democratic Party, he could hang on to power. What Coyne has not factored into his equation is the number of seats the NDP might have. At the moment, they have 25, but I doubt they will command that high a number after an election. NDP voters in the past haven’t liked supporting Liberals. They might stay home or vote Green.
Nor has Coyne made much of the idea of Poilievre combined with the Bloc Québécois. The Conservatives have 116 seats, the BQ 32 for a total of 148. The Liberal-NDP consortium have 183. I can see the possibility for Poilievre and the BQ to have more seats after an election than the Liberal-NDP duo. 
Did Poilievre’s do-over work? Absolutely. The country is taking a closer, more positive look. I’d bet my next haircut on him.

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