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Federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre speaks at an adult education centre as he starts his tour of Quebec on Jan. 16, in Montreal.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

As a public service, we are ceding this space to an urgent request from the Quebec provincial police for help in identifying a person calling himself Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, who visited the province in recent days. The following is an unofficial translation:

The Sûreté du Québec is seeking assistance from the public in establishing the true identity of an individual going by the name of Pierre Poilievre, who held several public events and granted mainstream-media interviews this week in Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City.

The SQ has reason to believe that the person in question may have usurped the identity of the federal Conservative Leader in order to persuade Quebeckers that the real Mr. Poilievre is nothing like the angry cartoon character who won his party’s 2022 leadership contest by promising to blow up Canada as we know it. The individual in question seemed much nicer and more reasonable than the Pierre Poilievre who has been trolling the internet in recent months. We nevertheless ask the public to exercise caution in trusting this individual, despite his friendliness.

The SQ draws the public’s attention to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey indicating that almost two-thirds of Quebeckers have an unfavourable view of the real Pierre Poilievre. This may have something to do with his highly publicized support for the “freedom convoy” that occupied downtown Ottawa in early 2022, and a widespread portrayal in Quebec media of Mr. Poilievre as a right-wing populist who styles himself along the lines of MAGA Republicans. The person calling himself Pierre Poilievre who visited Quebec this week sounded more like a Green New Deal Democrat.

The individual in question bears a striking physical resemblance to the Member of Parliament for Carleton and speaks with the same distinctive twang, in both official languages. Nevertheless, the SQ has several reasons to believe he may be an imposter.

During his media interviews and press conferences, this individual never once said that everything feels broken in Canada. He offered a positive green vision of Canada’s future as a renewable-energy superpower and global leader in electric vehicles. “We must permit Quebec to build more hydroelectric dams to provide the electricity that will be needed to power electric cars,” the person calling himself Pierre Poilievre said. “The future of our green economy depends on [critical] minerals and green electricity.”

The individual in question did act like the real Pierre Poilievre in evading questions about whether a Conservative government would make an increase in federal health transfers conditional on Quebec agreeing to adhere to certain national standards. He did promise to speed up the certification of foreign-credentialed doctors and nurses to alleviate a labour crunch that has left Quebec hospitals severely understaffed.

“I respect Quebec’s autonomy. I do not want to interfere in their decisions,” the person calling himself Pierre Poilievre told a prominent Radio-Canada news anchor. “Quebeckers are capable of being masters in their own house, as they say.”

However, contrary to the real Pierre Poilievre, the individual in question offered only mainstream answers to mainstream questions. This person did not once veer into the culture-war diatribes characteristic of the real Pierre Poilievre’s social-media persona. Not once did this individual leap to the defence of Jordan Peterson – the University of Toronto professor emeritus who has become a hero of the anti-woke U.S. right, and who has complained that the College of Psychologists of Ontario ordered him to undergo social-media training because some of his tweets may be “degrading” the profession – as the real Pierre Poilievre did recently in English on YouTube. The individual calling himself Pierre Poilievre was not heard even saying the word “woke” in Quebec.

The individual in question denied reports the Conservatives are trying to recruit high-profile Coalition Avenir Québec cabinet ministers Geneviève Guilbault and Eric Girard to run for their party in the next federal election. Ms. Guilbault is Deputy Premier and Transport Minister. Mr. Girard is Finance Minister. They are competent centrists in Premier François Legault’s otherwise right-leaning government. Either would be a catch for the Tories.

Controversial Quebec Conservative Party Leader Éric Duhaime, who is also a fan of Mr. Peterson, would appear to hold political views that align more closely with those of the real Pierre Poilievre than the two CAQ ministers. But the person calling himself Pierre Poilievre did not go out of his way to arrange for any photo ops with Mr. Duhaime on his Quebec tour.

These and other inconsistencies in the behaviour of this person calling himself Pierre Poilievre lead the SQ to ask the public for any information that could aid in determining whether this individual is the real deal or a poseur. If you can help, please contact the SQ Anti-Fraud Squad as soon as possible.