Pierre Poilivere Is Not A Populist, He Is Just Popular

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on April 21, 2022

A “populist” is defined as, “a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.”

Under the dictionary definition of populism, every single politician that has ever run for office is a populist. No one has ever adopted the campaign slogan “for the banker, not the client”, and no one ever will. So why is it that only Right-wing politicians incur this label?

Jagmeet Singh seems to blame all of society’s problems on the ultra-rich or the “1 percent”, yet we never hear about the rise of Left-wing populism. The term populist seems to have been adopted by the Canadian media as a phrase to sell fear over something that is related to Trump, not the actual definition.

There is good reason to ditch the dictionary definition, since if accurately applied everyone in the race is a populist and the term has little meaning or relevance. This is a common practice of the left to redefine or invent words into alternative meanings and pejoratives for which they can use to attack. “Cis gendered” would be an example of this tactic. However, the current use of “populist” is also not productive as it is being used as a wedge in conservative circles and it has become another slur to scare people away from Conservative politicians. 

The way the media likes to use the term to attack Pierre Poilievre seems to have an added layer of intellectual laziness. Poilievre is popular and draws large crowds. The media uses the term to imply “Poilievre has large crowds, you know who else had large crowds TRUMP!” This non-sequitur is a smear tactic intended to stoke fear within upper-middle-class socialites who want to endorse Poilievre at a dinner party among friends who have yet to realize legacy media companies like the Globe and Mail lack any credibility. Articles like, “How truck convoy supporters like Pierre Poilievre have weaponized freedom” fall flat to a majority of the population and are the reason they are frequently ridiculed in the public square.

What a real modern populist would be is someone who presents complex problems in a simple way and provides solutions that are emotional or personality appeals.  This would describe Trudeau’s platform of 2015, which was highly populist and successful.  He played on feelings of economic inequality and environmental issues (complex problems) and his “solution” was that he was going to grow the economy from the heart out, and “sunny ways”. This is the type of nonsensical emotional pandering that should define populism, yet Trudeau has never been hit with the label by the legacy media.

If you were to go to a Poilievre rally you would see that this is the exact opposite of Pierre’s style. Poilievre is different in the fact that he actually takes time to define the problems he is talking about. He will go on a five-minute rant about the problems causing the inflated housing market and has the power to make a crowd actually listen as he breaks down an issue and the forces at work that create it. Then he will do something which all political staffers will try and stop candidates from doing: provide detailed solutions in contrast to Justin Trudeau’s famous gaffs “we will grow the economy from the heart outwards” or “The Budget will balance itself.” 

At his April 19th Toronto rally he gave a 3-point plan to solve the housing crisis and actually broke down and explained each detail in all 3 points.

The Trump phenomenon happened in part because people have never seen a politician like him before, he was very human, too human for some. While Hillary Clinton was over polished and almost robotic after a lifetime in politics, Trump’s bombastic style appealed to those who wanted something different.

In a way Poilievre is also a politician that is something completely new. It is not “far-Right rhetoric” that is driving his appeal, but rather Poilievre is the first political figure in Canada who will actually talk to the public like they are adults capable of understanding the world and possess the skill to be engaging while doing it.

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

One response to “Pierre Poilivere Is Not A Populist, He Is Just Popular”

  1. Peace officer Church says:

    If he can put Trumpism to test is likeness of being a true French Candian politician
    And save the freedoms of (All Canadians) Not having there freedom’s taking from them
    And him not changing his course what Trudeau has done in his speeches to be true to
    His word and run a government that we care all equal in as human beings and not change
    His words to do the opersite. It would be for all of the Candian people not to use digital currecy use or force covid mandates it would reassured