The alley battle draws to a close

The alley battle draws to a close

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OTTAWA | Just because the outcome of the Conservative Party leadership race leaves little doubt, doesn't mean the race itself was uneventful. This race quickly turned into a duel between Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre, after the exclusion of the mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown. The other candidates, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber and Scott Aitchison, are relegated to the role of spectators. Two men, two visions of their party and of conservatism in 2022 clashed. One more progressive, the other populist and libertarian. Quebecers and Canadians visibly felt challenged. A record number of them took their party membership cards to vote. Pierre Poilievre's victory seems assured, if we are to believe the polls and the impressive number of cards he has sold. Here are the highlights of this historic leadership campaign that will undoubtedly mark a turning point in Canadian politics, and the results of which will be known on Saturday evening.

Launches at the antipodes

We quickly see that Jean Charest starts from afar. Absent from the political scene for a decade, Mr. Charest has no presence on social networks. Sitting in front of a beige wall, poorly framed and without a microphone, he announced in his first message on Twitter his intention to launch. Conversely, Pierre Poilievre masters the codes of our digital lives. The video of her campaign launch, posted four days after Erin O'Toole resigned, will be seen by almost 5 million people.

Angry debates< /h3>

Had we ever seen such a corrosive cockfight between two leadership candidates of the same party? The shock was total between Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre, the latter being by far the most biting. “The average trucker has more integrity in his little finger than you had in your whole liberal cabinet of scandals. And boom. Jean Charest did not evoke as much warmth towards the truckers of the freedom convoy who paralyzed Ottawa and border crossings. He collected, each time, hearty boos.  

An extraordinary candidate

Pierre Poilievre raised eyebrows during this race. His judgment has been questioned on several occasions. His call to invest in cryptocurrencies has aged so badly that he no longer talks about it. His promise to fire the head of the Bank of Canada was strongly criticized by just about every serious economist. He openly flirts with the “Great Reset” conspiracy theory that the World Economic Forum wants to enslave humanity. However, it has already begun to offer another face, another tone. In his latest campaign video, released Thursday, Mr. Poilievre does not attack Justin Trudeau, his favorite target, but rather focuses on the theme of “hope”. To be continued.

Bye bye Patrick Brown

The mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, will have only passed in this race. His disqualification because of allegations of having circumvented the electoral rules will harm Jean Charest, who counted on his support. How will the tens of thousands of members he has recruited vote? The informal alliance between him and Jean Charest, his spiritual father, was in no way solid. Pierre Poilievre managed to bring several deputies and collaborators of Brown home.

Harper comes out of his reserve  

Stephen Harper came out of his reserve to officially support Pierre Poilievre. It is the passing of the torch, from one “real” conservative to another, we understand between the lines. For much of the population, Harper never fully inspired confidence. This will be one of Pierre Poilievre's challenges if he becomes a chef. Brian Mulroney, he said he no longer recognized himself too much in the Conservative Party of 2022. It was a sad reminder that his good friend Jean Charest must also have often felt very lonely during the race, by dint of being booed when he railed against the freedom convoy. 

THE RACE IN FIGURES

  • 675,000: The number of members in the Conservative Party today. They were around 150,000 at the start of the race.
  • 417,987: The number of members whose vote is valid, for a participation rate of 64 %.
  • 312,000: The number of membership cards allegedly sold by leader Pierre Poilievre

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