a well-timed slash to the ankles

Poilievre is ready to cross check anyone at anytime. He has previously gone after, for example, former auditor general Sheila Fraser, and aboriginals who were abused at residential schools.

This week, he took to Twitter to promote a boycott of Tim Hortons, an unusual attack on a big employer by the employment minister.

Like a lot of what this government is doing these days, that move seems aimed at motivating core voters rather than reaching undecided voters. Not a good sign.

Just as every hockey team needs a cheap shot artist, every prime minister needs someone who can deliver a well-timed slash to the ankles.

But Harper is playing Poilievre as his starting centre, and the poor results are increasingly apparent on the scoreboard.

• Stephen Maher on Pierre Poilievre, federal employment minister and chief spokesman for the Conservative party in the House of Commons, “Poilievre popularity problem bad sign for party,” Postmedia Network, June 8, 2015