Canada’s Conservative party elects populist as new leader

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre delivers a speech after he was announced as the winner of the Conservative Party of Canada leadership vote, in Ottawa, Ontario, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — Canada’s opposition Conservative Party elected its go-to attack dog as its new party leader. 

Pierre Poilievre is a firebrand populist who opposes vaccine mandates and blames Canada’s inflation on Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He won the party leadership on the first ballot, defeating a moderate, centrist candidate with 68% of the votes cast by the party’s members. 

The 43-year-old Poilievre was a Cabinet minister in then Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government. He embraced Canadians who were against vaccine mandates and supported the freedom truck convoy that paralyzed Canada’s capital and blockaded the border with the U.S. 

“Tonight begins the journey to replace an old government that costs you more and delivers you less with a new government that puts you first,” Poilievre said. “By tackling Liberal inflation we will put you back in control of your life and your money.” 

He has urged the firing of the head of Canada’s central bank, calling him Trudeau’s personal ATM machine. He has also promoted crypto currency and has said he will defund the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.