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Pierre Poilievre, who won the leadership of the federal Conservative Party Saturday, calls on members to cast their ballot during a rally in Charlottetown on Aug. 20, 2022.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

After a seven-month race, Pierre Poilievre is the next leader of the Conservative Party. The seven-term Ottawa MP beat out four other candidates on Saturday, Sept. 10, including Mulroney-era cabinet minister and former Quebec premier Jean Charest, social conservative Leslyn Lewis, onetime Toronto MPP Roman Baber and Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison. Mr. Poilievre becomes the third Conservative leader in only seven years, after former leader Erin O’Toole was ousted by dissident MPs in February, 2022. Andrew Scheer preceded Mr. O’Toole and was leader from 2017 until 2020.

Now the Liberals have a new Official Opposition Leader to contend with – a social media-savvy career politician who campaigned on reducing the cost of living and making Canada “the freest country in the world.” Mr. Poilievre is a former cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. In recent years, he has served as critic for finance and jobs and industry. Here’s what to know about Mr. Poilievre’s policies and his background.


As a Conservative finance critic, Mr. Poilievre criticized Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and her predecessor, Bill Morneau, for running massive deficits during the COVID-19 pandemic and for ethical breaches such as the WE Chartiy scandal. Mr. Poilievre says excessive government spending is to blame for rising prices and has criticized the Bank of Canada for failing to manage inflation. During the May leadership debate, Mr. Poilievre said if elected, he would fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem and replace him “with a governor who would reinstate our low-inflation mandate.” Mr. Poilievre also said on the campaign trail that he wants to make Canada “the crypto capital” of the world and that he wants to give people “the freedom to choose other money.”


Mr. Poilievre has said he would address Canada’s housing affordability crisis by getting tough with municipalities that tie up real estate development in red tape: “If they want more federal money, these big-city politicians will need to approve more home building.” He said he would force cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, to increase new home building by 15 per cent in an effort to bring down housing prices. He’s also promised other measures, including converting federally owned properties into affordable housing.

Climate change

Mr. Poilievre hasn’t said whether he would commit to Canada’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, or how much greenhouse-gas pollution he believes the country should cut by the end of the decade. He has vowed to cancel the federal carbon price, which he calls a tax, scrap legislation on environmental-impact assessments and the ban on oil tankers off the coast of northern British Columbia, which the Liberal government passed in 2019. He has also said he would review energy projects that he identified as having been unfairly blocked by the Liberal government, and approve them if they meet several standards.

Health care

Mr. Poilievre has spoken out against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. In June, 2022, he tabled a bill in the House of Commons to prohibit the federal government from imposing COVID-related vaccine mandates on federal workers and travellers. Mr. Poilievre has not said if he would increase health transfers to bring the federal share of health care spending to 35 per cent from the current 22 per cent, something premiers have continued to call for as hospitals face staffing crunches across the country. Mr. Poilievre has said he would ensure that the provinces expedite the approval of professional credentials for immigrants, including trained nurses.

Social issues

Mr. Poilievre has said he would not legislate limits on abortion. In 2005, Mr. Poilievre voted against same-sex marriage legislation, but has said since that same-sex marriage is “a great success.”

During the campaign, former candidate Patrick Brown criticized Mr. Poilievre’s role in Mr. Harper’s 2015 election campaign, when the party promised to create a tip line for “barbaric cultural practices.” Mr. Poilievre has said that his government would withhold a part of federal research grants from universities that did not do enough to protect free speech on campus and promised to appoint a former judge as a “free-speech guardian” to probe any alleged violations. On national child care, Mr. Poilievre has said he would wait to see the results of the current program but that he is interested in reducing costs and providing parents with more choice. In the past, however, he has voiced opposition to the Liberal policy.

What is Mr. Poilievre’s background and political history?

Mr. Poilievre was born in Calgary in 1979 to a 16-year-old and was adopted by two French-Canadian school teachers from Saskatchewan. As a teenager in Calgary, he became interested in politics and sold Reform Party memberships for Jason Kenney. In 2002, he worked as an adviser for Stockwell Day during Mr. Day’s tenure as leader of the official opposition with the Canadian Alliance. Mr. Poilievre was elected as a member of Parliament at 24 years old for the newly formed Conservative Party of Canada. He was a former cabinet minister in Mr. Harper’s government and was known to go on attack for the prime minister in the House of Commons.

During the leadership campaign, Mr. Poilievre has packed rooms where hundreds and thousands have gathered to hear and be photographed with him. His campaign team has also said it signed up 311,958 new members, who are widespread and not just concentrated in traditional Conservative strongholds.

More reading:

Jen Gerson: Pierre Poilievre’s dominant win is the death knell of moderate conservatism in Canada

Campbell Clark: The Conservative Party knows what it wants to be, and it wants to be like Pierre Poilievre

First the win, now the work: What Pierre Poilievre has to do next as new Tory leader

With reports from Mark Rendell, Marieke Walsh, Ian Bailey, David Parkinson, Andrew Coyne, John Ibbitson, Bill Curry, Sean Silcoff and the Canadian Press

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