During the campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre stated at various rallies that he wants to make his country the “freest in the world”. Last Saturday he won overwhelmingly (in the first round and with 68% of the votes) in the Tory selection process. The second on the podium was Jean Charest, former Quebec premier (16% of the preferences). Poilievre’s supporters applauded loudly upon hearing the result; They also chanted: “Freedom, freedom.” The party that represents the official opposition in Canada, and which has alternated power for decades with the Liberals, has placed its trust in a politician who bears many similarities -in ideas and attitudes- to Donald Trump and other right-wing populist figures. .
In his victory speech, Poilievre called for unity. He later launched darts against the Government of Justin Trudeau, especially in the economic sphere. “This government has increased the debt more than any other. And the more you spend, the more prices go up,” he said. He also vehemently referred to the “woke” culture (a pejorative term that alludes to different left-wing groups). Next, he listed several of his best-known promises and underlined the anger he has heard from “the people.”
Pierre Marcel Poilievre was born 43 years ago in Calgary (Alberta). He began supporting conservative candidates on the campaign trail from the age of 16. He later graduated in international relations and worked at a polling firm. He has served as a deputy for the Carleton (Ontario) constituency since 2004. Between 2013 and 2015, he served as Minister of Democratic Institutions and Social Development, in years when Stephen Harper was the Canadian premier. He has distinguished himself by a marked fierceness in parliamentary debates and a constant presence in the streets (both in his constituency and in other parts of the country).RELATED
The new conservative leader promises, among other things, to reduce the budget deficit and the bureaucratic apparatus, abolish the tax rate on carbon and increase oil production. He has also pointed out his opposition to the health restrictions derived from covid-19. In fact, he supported the truckers who brought Ottawa to a standstill earlier this year. He exhibits his sympathies towards cryptocurrencies and is at odds with various media outlets in the country. Of course, he has specified that he will not support initiatives to prohibit abortion or homosexual marriage.
In February, Conservative MPs forced out their leader, Erin O’Toole; Just four months after she lost the elections against the Liberals, and in which she used a discourse that sought to bring the party more to the center. Three days after O’Toole’s dismissal, Pierre Poilievre announced his candidacy for chieftainship in a campaign that began in April. Poilievre not only focused on the existing conservative base: he also added nearly 300,000 new members in these months.
Last Monday, Poilievre held a first meeting –already as head- with the deputies of his group. He stated that the Conservative Party will work tirelessly to “transform the suffering of Canadians into hope.” In said appointment he said that Justin Trudeau has used the federal checkbook without limits; he also issued a challenge to the prime minister: that he commit not to raise taxes on Canadians. Poilievre conceives of politics as an exercise closer to boxing than to the search for consensus.
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Trudeau had congratulated Poilievre on Twitter, indicating that they must work together “to deliver results to citizens across the country.” However, this Monday he responded to the first attacks by the conservative leader. He said that the investments made by his government have not only been the right thing to do, but the smartest thing to do. “We will never apologize for supporting Canadians,” he said.
The next federal elections are scheduled for October 2025. There is a possibility that they could be brought forward, since the Liberals form a minority government. However, Justin Trudeau’s group has a collaboration pact with the New Democratic Party, so it is likely that Canadians will go to the polls in three years. Trudeau has not ruled out running for a fourth term, although Chrystia Freeland, deputy prime minister and also head of the finance portfolio, sounds like a likely successor.
The contest, in any case, promises sparks with Pierre Poilievre. “Liberals should be worried. Poilievre’s decisive win confirmed not only that the match belongs to him, but also that he is now more unified, more focused, more organized and better prepared to win,” Althia Raj noted in his column on The Toronto Star.