An ordinary man

An ordinary man

Erin O'Toole is an ordinary man. He is neither a savior nor a celebrity.

He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Nor was he destined to end up at the door of power.

He is a working middle class family man like there are millions across the country.

This is basically the portrait the Conservative leader painted of himself during his first speech in Parliament in response to last week's Liberal throne speech.

Mr. O'Toole, still largely unknown to the public, is not the first nor the last politician to play the card of the ordinary citizen, down to earth and close to the concerns of the people.

He even allowed himself to praise the virtues of trade unionism, which protects workers in difficult times. Like, for example, during a pandemic.

(The Conservative Party has a complicated relationship with the labor community.)

Mr. O'Toole is addressing the blue collar workers in the manufacturing sector who form part of the NDP electoral base in English Canada.

His predecessor, Andrew Scheer, also tried to bring down the ordinary citizen's card, without success.

He should have known that this outfit does not suit a career politician like him.

The hat goes much better to Erin O'Toole, who seems to want to capitalize on her more humble origins to score political points.

The contrast with Justin Trudeau is obviously easy to establish.

Canada “doesn't need a celebrity, it needs a handyman,” O'Toole said in his remarks.

It will be interesting to see if this contrast marks the Conservative's advantage in the minds of Canadians.

Justin Trudeau remains popular. And he has long survived attacks on his character's supposed superficiality.

Footprint

In his response to the Speech from the Throne, O'Toole spoke very harshly on the Trudeau government for its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

To hear him say it, it is as if the Liberals were all wrong. We imagine that his message was addressed to his supporters. Because overall, the emergency aid programs – which the Conservatives have approved – are well received by Canadians. The second wave will only reinforce this feeling.

Erin O'Toole promises a darker, less spending government, offering “peace, order and good ethical governance.” Austere, the Liberals will say.

This is the whole challenge of Mr. O'Toole: not to look stingy in front of a Justin Trudeau whose checkbook seems inexhaustible.

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