Canadian Conservatives pick populist to oust Trudeau Liberals Reuters

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© Reuters Leadership candidate Pierre Poilever and his wife Anna Poilever watch during the Conservative Party of Canada leadership election in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada September 10, 2022. REUTERS/Blair Gable

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By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Conservatives on Saturday nominated veteran MP Pierre Poyever, who promotes bitcoin to fight inflation, to lead the party’s bid to oust the Liberals and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The 43-year-old Poilevre won the lead in the first round of voting, where more than 400,000 members voted. Polievre is the sixth Conservative leader since 2015, a period in which he lost three elections to Trudeau.

Polievre defeated his main challenger Jean Charest, a former Quebec premier, and three others in a campaign that angered Trudeau and the central bank governor over their failure to control inflation.

“Tonight begins the journey to replace the one that costs you more and a new government that puts you first,” Poilevre said in his victory speech.

The party on Thursday folded the event, which had been planned for months after the Queen’s death, into a one-minute tribute. Earlier on Saturday, Canada proclaimed Charles King in a formal ceremony.

As a member of the former Commonwealth of Nations of the British Empire, the monarch is Canada’s formal head of government.

Polievre sat in parliament for the first time in 2011. In the year In 2015, he served as Minister of Democratic Reforms, then Minister of Labor and Social Development.

While the new Conservative leader is well-known in Ottawa, where he regularly stands in parliament to criticize Trudeau and his government, he must now raise his profile with the rest of Canada.

It should have a lot of time. Trudeau’s support from the left-wing New Democrats means the election could come as late as 2025. Pollsters say Poilevre will be a strong opponent, especially if Trudeau is running for a fourth term.

“These are two people who really know how to push each other, who really know how to get under each other’s skin,” said Shachi Kurle, president of the Angus Reid Institute, the polling company for Polievre and Trudeau.

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

He also made ousting Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Maclean one of his main campaign slogans as the central bank’s pandemic bond-buying drove up prices.

The leader of the Conservative Party, who was ousted in February, tried to bring the party to the center of politics and refused to fully accept the opposition.

Poilevre “represents the deepest soul of the Conservative Party today,” Curr said.

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