Ingredients for Poilievre’s political ‘secret sauce’

Jared Milne
3 min readApr 26, 2024


(Shutterstock/Kevin D. Jeffery)

Right now, Pierre Poilievre has a huge lead in the polls. He’s the overwhelming favourite to win the next federal election and become prime minister. That’s why it’s worth looking at the ingredients of Poilievre’s political “secret sauce.”

One of the most obvious examples is Poilievre’s communication skills. He has kept his message sharply focused on affordability and housing issues, things that a lot of Canadians are worried about. The successful Conservative 2006 election campaign also clearly emphasized several talking points Stephen Harper stuck to. Poilievre’s bluntness also appeals to some Canadians, whether he’s replying to reporters’ questions or using his “Axe The Tax” slogan to condemn Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon pricing.

Another ingredient is that Poilievre is more politically flexible than most people give him credit for. His plans to tie federal housing funding to municipalities’ capacity to get more homes built and ban foreign oil imports in favour of more Canadian-developed energy would make many neoliberals break out in hives, but they’re hugely appealing to Canadians struggling to find housing, and energy industry workers upset at the Trudeau government’s policies.

Yet another ingredient is Poilievre simply being lucky. In his classic book The Northern Magus, journalist Richard Gwyn wrote about how Pierre Trudeau managed to narrowly avoid defeat in the 1972 election, and how Joe Clark’s bungling and the Quebec referendum of 1980 allowed him to resurrect a political career that many observers thought was dead after his 1979 defeat. In the 1990s, the Jean Chretien Liberals benefited from a political right divided between the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform Alliance. In 2006, Harper benefited from a Liberal party burned out after 13 years in office. Currently, Poilievre is benefiting from the Trudeau government being weighed down by nine years’ worth of baggage. Many Canadians are also — rightly or wrongly — blaming Trudeau for a lot of the economic problems they’re facing, problems Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole couldn’t benefit from.

That said, there are some potential holes in Poilievre’s armour.

Given the increasing rates of droughts and forest fires across Canada, and the impact they’ve had on peoples’ homes and livelihoods, many people will want to know how Poilievre plans to deal with pollution and its supposed impact on climate change. Conservative writer Jen Gerson noted to radio host Ryan Jespersen that even if Poilievre would prefer to do nothing, Canada’s international trading partners and customers might punish us by making it harder for the oilsands to get international investment. Teck Energy even said as much in its letter withdrawing its application for the Frontier mine in 2020, criticizing the lack of a framework that “reconciles resource development and climate change.”

Poilievre’s economic judgment is another potential weakness. Poilievre was originally a huge champion of cryptocurrencies, but he became notably silent after their massive crash in 2022. During that year’s Conservative leadership race, Poilievre’s rivals mercilessly hammered him for his endorsement of it.

The smart money says that Poilievre has the best chance to win in 2025, but it’s not guaranteed.

Originally published at on April 26, 2024.



Jared Milne

Passionately devoted to Canadian unity. Fascinated by Canadian politics and history. Striving to understand the mysteries of Canada. Publishes every few weeks.