By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger
A date has been set and Conservative Party members will be electing a new leader on September 10, 2022. Carleton MP Pierre Poilevre, who has thrown his name in the hat, hasn’t wasted any time campaigning across the country.
His rallies have attracted thousands of in-person supporters, who have been cramming packed ballrooms and restaurants.
The local MP recently faced some heat after campaigning at a Montreal restaurant who is at the centre of anti-vax controversy. The rally was held at Casa Grecque restaurant in Laval, where protest dinners were held in the summer. Many Quebecers who are a part of the local Greek community gathered there to oppose vaccine mandates which were being implemented, and to brainstorm ways to show their discontent.
Many media outlets, including the Manotick Messenger, reached out to Poilievre’s Team multiple times for comment on his campaign, but never heard back.
Unifying The Party
While Poilievre says he’s not anti-vax, he’s pro-choice, and feels Canadians should have the opportunity to not get the jab without having restrictions imposed.
Poilievre has also gone on the record to say he’s vaccinated, and encourages Canadians to get the vaccine.
In a recent interview with Conservative news outlet The Post Millennial, Poilievre said he wanted to “unite people for freedom and restore respect and kindness to all of our citizens regardless of their vaccine status,” because “that should not divide us.”
The far-right People’s Party of Canada took away many of the Conservative Party’s anti-vax members. Now Poilievre says he wants to reel them back in.
“The average PPC voters that I met on the doorstep during the last election were concerned about losing freedoms. And, it turned out that was a legitimate concern,” he told right-wing media outlet True North.
Speaking in London, Ontario last week, Poilievre said if he was to be elected Conservative party leader and then Prime Minister, his government would work to normalize cryptocurrency like bitcoin and ethereum.
The Carleton MP, who was once Finance Critic for the Conservatives, went after the Bank of Canada for creating $40 billion in cash “out of thin air”, resulting in inflation reaching a three decade high.
“Government is ruining the Canadian dollar, so Canadians should have the freedom to use other money, such as bitcoin,” he said. “Canada needs less financial control for politicians and bankers and more financial freedom for the people. That includes freedom to own and use crypto, tokens, smart contracts and decentralized finance.”
In February 2021, Poilievre appeared on a cryptocurrency podcast which has regularly promoted COVID-19 conspiracy theories and has compared the current climate to Nazi Germany. The show hosted by a bitcoin trader, is one watched by the Carleton MP and his wife “late into the night.”
Bitcoin, first founded in 2009, uses digital or virtual currency through peer-to-peer technology to facilitate instant payments. It’s for the most part unregulated in the western world, and is sometimes used as a way to reduce government control over money. Unlike the Bank of Canada or the US Federal Reserve, the supply of cryptocurrency is not set by an authority.
“Choice and competition can give Canadians better money and financial products,” said Poilievre. “Not only that, but it can also let Canadians opt-out of inflation with the ability to opt-in to crypto currencies. It’s time for Canadians to take back control of their money and their lives by making Canada the freest country on earth.”
Poilievre is also campaigning on ending the federal carbon tax, reducing foreign dependence on oil and gas, and selling off 15 per cent of federal government buildings to create more affordable housing, which many officials say isn’t that easy to do. The office buildings would need to be completely retrofitted in order to support living, and that would come with a hefty price tag.
“I will use Canada’s federal infrastructure money to incentivize our mayors to speed up building permits and I’m going to sell off 15 per cent of the 37,000 federal buildings that are largely being under-utilized so that we can convert into affordable housing.” Poilievre said at a recent campaign event in Windsor, Ontario.
Since first being elected in 2004, Poilievre, 42, has been known for his quick and sometimes cocky remarks on big issues, never shying away from how he feels.
The Carleton MP is seen as a more traditional Conservative, which could benefit him in the leadership race, but possibly not in a federal election, according to some political insiders.
To date Poilievre is one of 11 names who are either approved or have declared their names will be on the Conservative Party leadership ballot this September.
Among those he’s up against include: Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison, Haldimand—Norfolk MP Leslyn Lewis, current Brampton Mayor and former Ontario PC party leader Patrick Brown, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, and York Centre MPP Roman Baber.
Poilievre currently has the endorsement of 48 sitting members of parliament, three senators, and five provincial politicians, more than any of the other candidates. With 73 Public endorsements total, he still has 34 more than Jean Charest who is in second place for endorsements.