As Time Magazine unveils its Person of the Year, Canadian politics take center stage with discussions on the unexpected rise of Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre as a potential frontrunner, reflecting on his successes and challenges in the past year. Photo Credit: X/Pierre Poilievre
‘Tis the season for reflecting on the year that was. Nothing signals holidays on the horizon quite like Time Magazine’s annual Person of the Year cover story.
It should come as no surprise that Taylor Swift was trending across social media platforms this week after the release of Time’s splashy profile. It puts a bow on what was arguably the most impactful and financially successful year of her illustrious career. But Swift’s accomplishments extend beyond just her bottom line, which truly made her deserving of the end-of-year accolades.
Don’t take my super fan word for it, though. It’s a fact. According to the Wall Street Journal, Swift’s sold-out Era’s Tour brought an estimated $5.7 billion boost to the U.S. economy. In this case, what was good for one was good for all.
At this stage, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with Canadian politics. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
But it got me thinking about what the qualifications for Canadian Politician of the Year might look like.
Securing the top spot certainly requires substance matched with style. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we’re talking about Canadian politics.
Politician of the Year deserves to go to someone who defied all odds. The name that instantly comes to mind? Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.
After all, he did ditch the signature glasses to put a softer spin on his image. While he has yet to be battle-tested in a general election, Abacus Data has Poilievre ending the year 19 points ahead of the Liberals. If an election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives would be in majority territory and looking at 200 plus seats from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
Poilievre has managed to captivate Canadians on social media, driving views on social media platforms from YouTube to X to Instagram. In many respects, he has also avoided stumbling into the traps of previous leaders and has kept a firm grip on a caucus that has veered off the conventional talking points in the past.
The messaging that has worked best for the not so newly minted Leader of the Opposition isn’t new. In fact, it’s eerily similar to the narrative that catapulted Justin Trudeau to victory against former Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015. It’s underpinned by hope and hard work.
The audience isn’t dissimilar, either. Poilievre is reaching millennials and Generation Z by talking about getting housing built for cash-strapped young people, and ensuring their paycheques stretch far enough to keep up with the bills.
Who knows what state the economy will be in come election time, but one thing is for certain. Money talks, and Canadians are listening to politicians who’ve got solutions to the current crisis we find ourselves in.
Time will tell if Poilievre’s success is but a flash in the pan, but he’s managed to defy the odds so far. He deserves credit for his successes this past year in a political arena that has not been kind to his predecessors.
Poilievre should take a moment to reflect on his success this holiday season because with great expectation comes great responsibility. Just ask Justin Trudeau.
Josie Sabatino is a Senior Consultant at Summa Strategies, focused on providing strategic insight and helping clients meet their objectives in an ever changing and complex political and regulatory environment. Prior to joining Summa, Josie spent nearly a decade in political communications and most recently served as the Director of Communications to the Hon. Erin O’Toole, former Leader of the Official Opposition.