Hon. Pierre Poilievre – What you need to know about the new face of the Conservative Party of Canada
Canadian Conservatives have elected a new leader, Pierre Poilievre. His victory comes as little surprise given the commanding lead he maintained throughout the race. He was able to consistently draw turnout numbers to his events that rivalled that of his Liberal rival and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2012. Oddly enough, this is not where the comparisons to Trudeau stop – his message has connected with the average Canadian because he speaks to issues that matter to them in a manner they understand and on platforms they use. His promises have been bold and catchy— more freedom, a stronger economy, less government. The way that he executes these commitments will, however, be expectedly different and his panache is something that makes a lot of Liberals very nervous.
What to expect from Poilievre:
In 2004, at the age of 24, Poilievre was elected as one of the youngest MPs ever to run for Parliament. He moved quickly to establish himself as a no-nonsense small-c Conservative. Over the years, and under multiple leaders since Harper, he has built his brand and support base leveraging social media to amass a significant following; including almost 300,000 Instagram and over 400,000 Twitter followers. He’s even embraced TikTok, and in five months has amassed nearly 70,000 followers and over 400,000 “likes” on his videos. Much of his growth on social media has been based on his ability to produce content on pocketbook issues that resonate with voters. He has also focused on making government easier to understand, highlighted in his most recent commitment to legislate plain language rules for the public service.
For business leaders and regular citizens alike, that’s exactly what they can expect from Poilievre – direct language, a focus on smaller government, policies that entice investment in Canada, and promises to make things easier and more affordable for the average Canadian. Poilievre has consistently highlighted his commitments to growing domestic manufacturing and resource development, supporting labour and the trades and unlocking the technological potential of Canada. It comes down to what he sees as common sense policies that put more dollars (and crypto-coins) in the pockets of Canadians.
Rebuilding the team:
There are clear divides in the Conservative Party, and it will now be up to Poilievre to find a way to create stability within his caucus and party. He will be up against a Trudeau Government propped up by the NDP, who could pull their supply and confidence agreement at any moment and send Canadians back to the polls. Poilievre will likely have a short runway to stabilize the caucus politics, set out his new branding and define clear policy objectives before another election (and an even shorter one ahead of an expected fall byelection). He will need to identify a pathway that retains Conservative party voters, while also deciding whether he needs to moderate to appeal to vote-rich communities that can deliver him victory in the next election.
In the first 100 days, he has four key goals:
- Create stability
- Build a brand
- Set clear policy priorities
- Grow broad Canadian support
A singular focus:
Poilievre’s campaign slogan says it all, “Pierre4PM”. He had a singular goal of becoming leader of the Conservatives and — then — the next Prime Minister. Many question his ability to broaden his vote base enough to secure the necessary plurality and vote efficiency required to topple Trudeau, but it would be unwise to count him out. Those voices may not like his style, but he’s proven his ability to communicate effectively in both official languages, he speaks to the issues top of mind to the Canadian voters, and he’s eager for the fight with Trudeau.