OTTAWA, August 28 (Reuters) – Just days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a member of the Liberal Party, revealed the probable dissolution of his marriage, his Conservative adversary Pierre Poilievre launched a promotional video featuring his wife endorsing him as the nation’s essential leader.
The video, titled “Introducing Pierre Poilievre,” has been aired on television and shared online. In the video, Poilievre’s wife, Anaida, provides a brief overview of his upbringing in suburban areas. She mentions that their two young children affectionately call him “Papa,” and she describes him as the man who cherishes her for who she is – “a Canadian who has come to consider Canada home – along with being her husband.”
Anaida, aged 36, was born in Venezuela and relocated to Canada as a child. She married Poilievre in 2017.
Nik Nanos, the founder of Nanos Research, a prominent polling company, commented, “This was no mere coincidence that the Conservatives rolled this out merely a week after Justin Trudeau’s separation announcement.” Nanos emphasized that this move positions Poilievre, aged 44, as a family-oriented figure at a time when Trudeau is dealing with personal family challenges.
Although the Conservative Party’s spokeswoman, Sarah Fischer, clarified that the ad had been planned weeks before and wasn’t tied to Trudeau’s marital situation, the timing’s symbolic significance remains apparent.
Trudeau’s image has recently been weakened after three elections and nearly eight years in power. According to an Angus Reid poll earlier this month, the Conservative Party led the Liberal Party by seven percentage points. Despite the next election being scheduled for 2025, the possibility of an earlier vote looms.
Trudeau rose to power in 2015 with an image of youthful vitality and being a family-oriented man, although his public appearances with his family have dwindled in recent years.
Shachi Kurl, the president of the Angus Reid Institute polling company, noted, “We haven’t seen much of the ‘loving-husband family-man’ narrative from Trudeau since the 2015 election.”
Trudeau, aged 51, is grappling with voter fatigue, which has become more pronounced than ever. He is also facing the impact of Poilievre’s campaign that blames the Liberal government for persistent housing shortages and high inflation.
Over his nearly two decades in the House of Commons, Poilievre has gained a reputation for being a formidable Conservative presence, particularly in his aggressive exchanges with Trudeau during parliamentary Question Periods. He once even pledged to dismiss the central bank governor for his slow response to inflation.
Poilievre’s assertive style tends to repel female voters more, according to Kurl. The Angus Reid survey indicated that only 28% of women view Poilievre favorably, compared to 44% for Trudeau.
Consequently, Poilievre’s recent video aims to reshape his “pitbull” image. Nanos emphasized that Poilievre aims to portray himself as a father and husband within a conventional family framework, seeking to humanize and soften his public perception.
The Conservative Party has allocated a substantial budget, exceeding C$3 million ($2.2 million), to a comprehensive ad campaign spanning several months, featuring the “Introducing Pierre Poilievre” video.
In another ad titled “Mending the Pieces,” Poilievre assembles a puzzle of Canada while cradling his infant son, Cruz. In this video, he criticizes Trudeau for allegedly leaving Canada in a state of disarray.
Trudeau responded by accusing Poilievre of fanning the flames of public sentiment instead of offering concrete solutions.
With the electorate’s appetite for change growing, Nanos posits that the Conservative Party only needs incremental support in strategically important areas to secure victory. This makes Poilievre a genuine contender for the forthcoming election.
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