Canada’s Conservatives pick populist to try to oust Trudeau’s Liberals

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OTTAWA, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Canada’s Conservatives on Saturday picked Pierre Poilievre, a veteran parliamentarian who has promoted bitcoin as a way to fight inflation, to lead the party’s bid to oust the Liberals and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Poilievre, 43, won the leadership in the first round of a preferential ballot in which more than 400,000 members voted. Poilievre becomes the Conservatives’ sixth leader since 2015, a period in which they lost three elections to Trudeau.

Poilievre beat his main challenger Jean Charest, a former Quebec premier, and three others in a campaign that lambasted Trudeau and the central bank governor for failing to bring soaring inflation under control.

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“Tonight begins the journey to replace an old government that costs you more and gives you less with a new government that puts you first — your paycheck, your pension, your home, your country,” Poilievre said in his speech. victoire.

The party toned down the event, which had been planned for months, following the Queen’s death on Thursday, by starting it with a minute’s silence in her honor. Earlier Saturday, Canada proclaimed Charles king in an official ceremony. Read more

As a member of the Commonwealth of countries of the former British Empire, the monarch is the official head of state of Canada.

Poilievre first served in parliament in 2004, days after his 25th birthday, representing a suburb that includes parts of Ottawa. He was Minister of Democratic Reform, then Minister of Employment and Social Development until Trudeau, 50, took office in 2015.

While the new Conservative leader is well known in Ottawa, where he has regularly appeared in Parliament to level pointed criticisms at Trudeau and his government, he will now need to boost his profile with the rest of Canada.

He should have plenty of time. Support for Trudeau from left-leaning New Democrats means an election could go as late as 2025. Pollsters said Poilievre would be a formidable opponent, especially if Trudeau is running for the fourth time.

“Here are two people who know exactly how to push buttons, who know exactly how to get under each other’s skin,” said Shachi Kurl, president of polling firm Angus Reid Institute, of Poilievre. and Trudeau.

In February, Poilievre supported protesters who blocked border crossings and paralyzed downtown Ottawa for three weeks to protest Trudeau and his COVID-19 vaccination policies. Read more

Poilievre also made the firing of Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem one of his key campaign promises, blaming the central bank’s pandemic bond purchases of fueling price rises. Read more

The former leader of the Conservative Party, ousted in February, had tried to bring the party back to the political center and refused to fully embrace the protesters. Read more

Poilievre “represents…the deep soul of what the Conservative Party is today,” Kurl said.

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Reporting by Steve Scherer, editing by Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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