Poilievre runs as prime minister-in-waiting at Conservative convention – National

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre attempted to portray himself as a prime minister-in-waiting in an election-style speech to party loyalists on Friday, filling it with messages he intends to deliver to Canadians, while throwing red meat at his base.

Poilievre’s speech to more than 2,500 supporters gathered for the party’s political convention in Quebec City was the highlight of the meeting, which falls on almost exactly the same day, a year ago, since he won a landslide victory in the first round of leadership. race.

“I want to thank my own parents,” Poilievre told a sea of ​​supporters bathed in blue stage lights. “It’s because they made the decision to adopt me and work hard in front of a cla*sroom that I now stand proudly in front of this room.”

As he thanked his mother, his voice cracked slightly with emotion.

The story continues under the ad

His victory nearly a year ago was the most decisive victory for a Conservative leader since Stephen Harper in 2004 and continues to be the party’s hope of regaining power after nearly eight years of Liberal rule.

Since his big win, Poilievre has struggled to sharpen the party’s priorities, trying to shape it for the electoral fight and, more recently, presenting a mellowed version of himself to new voters through numerous awareness events and a $3 million advertising campaign. hoping they warm to the idea of ​​seeing him as prime minister.

Friday’s speech was the culmination of those efforts. Poilievre promised the Tories would bring hope to a country weary from the high cost of living, amplifying his message-turned-rally cry “Bring it Home,” which his supporters chanted before they even took the stage.

Like several of the speeches he gave during his summer tour, Poilievre accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of breaking his “promise” to allow people to realize what he described as the Canadian dream, namely home ownership.

The story continues under the ad

“We don’t know when those elections will be, but when they do, Canadians will only have two options,” he told the crowd.

“A common-sense Conservative government that empowers hard-working people to earn powerful paychecks to buy affordable food, gas and homes in safe communities” or “the costly coalition of Trudeau,” as he calls the supply and confidence agreement he struck with the NDP.

Poilievre was introduced by his wife, Anaida, who spoke of her family relying on food banks when she first immigrated to Montreal from Venezuela and receiving gifts for her first Christmas. She also spoke of the sacrifices the couple make as a family with two young children, including one with special needs, to rise to the highest office in the country.

“The work ahead of us is great and not easy, but it is very important,” she said.

The story continues under the ad

Throughout his nearly hour-long speech, Poilievre listed what he would do if he were to win: speed up credential recognition for sk**led immigrants, push cities to build more housing and develop more the country’s natural resources.

He also nodded to some of the most popular priorities of the party base that filled the room, such as the removal of the country’s ArriveCan app, originally rolled out to allow travelers to enter their vaccination information against COVID-19.

Speaking of the need to keep Canada safe in an increasingly unstable world, he said it didn’t depend “on attending another gabfest at the UN or, God forbid, Davos.” .

Anaida Poilievre, in her own introduction, also received a round of enthusiastic applause when she listed the workers she says make the country run, nurses and plumbers and “yes, the truckers.”

The story continues under the ad

Poilievre’s wholehearted support for last year’s “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa continues to serve as an attack from his critics, including the ruling Liberals, who also point to his lack of detailed policy. party to fight against climate change.

Poilievre also filled his speech with partisan attacks on Trudeau’s Liberals and at one point characterized his feelings of anger on behalf of a man unable to pay his rent. Much like Convoy, Poilievre’s anger is often used as an affront by his opponents.

“An economy in which the people who build our homes cannot afford to live in them is fundamentally unfair and wrong,” he said.

The crowd cheered again when Poilievre promised his first act as premier would be to “remove the tax”, in reference to the federal Liberal government’s carbon pricing plan.

He also praised his promise to “cut funding for the CBC” when he spoke of seeing a family stop by his former headquarters.

A very popular rallying call for his base, but it is a more sensitive subject in Quebec where language and culture are subjects of the vote.

The story continues under the ad

Earlier in the day, delegates gathered behind closed doors flatly rejected the idea of ​​changing party policy to withdraw federal funding from the French and English wings of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which receives about $1.2 billion. dollars from Parliament every year.

After his speech, Poilievre took photos with supporters lining up to meet him. Those who did are calling for one thing: a “blue wave” that will topple the liberals from power.

“If you don’t remember anything else I said here today, to build a united Canada, we have to stick together as a Conservative party,” former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay told his supporters in a speech given earlier on Friday.

MacKay’s appearance was meant to show some of that unity. Billed by the party as one of its co-founders, referring to his role in merging the former Progressive Conservative party he led with the Canadian Alliance, he represents a more moderate wing of the party than critics de Poilievre feared they would flee after his term. leadership election last year.

Another ingredient of the “blue wave” the Conservatives hope to see is money, which has flowed in since Poilievre’s election.

The story continues under the ad

“We will continue to spend on touring and we will continue to spend on advertising,” said Robert Staley, the Toronto lawyer appointed by Poilievre to lead the Conservative Fund, on Friday.

“All of this is done to influence voters, especially in key constituencies, to support the party and our leader in the upcoming election. »

The party convention ends on Saturday when delegates vote on policy resolutions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button