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Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre rises during Question Period on Nov. 29, 2021, in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre has launched his bid for the party’s leadership by declaring he’s running to be the next prime minister.

In a three-minute video released on social media tonight, Poilievre criticizes government spending and says he wants to make “Canadians the freest people on earth.”

Poilievre doesn’t mention the Conservative party by name or the contest, saying only that he wants the job as prime minister.

Poilievre is the first candidate to announce his intention to run for the party’s top spot after MPs forced Erin O’Toole out of the position only three days earlier.

Many Conservatives regarded Poilievre, an Ottawa-area MP and the party’s finance critic, as a natural front-runner in the race.

Poilievre is throwing his hat into the ring before the race has officially begun and the party’s election committee doesn’t yet exist and no rules have been released.

As such, he can’t begin fundraising.

A document attached to his launch video lists one of the options for supporters to choose to help is by purchasing memberships to vote for Poilievre.

Poilievre’s announcement was quickly followed by many MPs throwing their support behind his candidacy.

“I’m with Pierre,” tweeted Ontario MP Melissa Lantsman. “No question – Pierre is the right answer to a strong (and) united Conservative Party.”

Long-time Conservative Manitoba MP James Bezan also endorsed Poilievre, saying in a tweet that he has the communication skills, work ethic and “strong conservative values” to defeat Trudeau.

Many Conservatives regard the 42-year-old Ottawa-area MP a natural front-runner in the race.

He currently serves as the party’s finance critic and was first elected to the House of Commons back in 2004 at the age of 24, serving in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

Throughout his time in Parliament, Poilievre has built up a reputation as as fiery performer in the House, who is deeply steeped in conservative values and thinking.

He enters the race with a considerable social media following and during last year’s election struck out with his own campaign videos and slogan, separate than that of the party’s or leader’s.

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