EDMONTON — Conservative first official leadership debate of the race took place yesterday, May 11.
The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has struggled to gain momentum following Stephen harper’s loss in 2015. Neither of the past two former leaders managed o build a path to the Prime Minister’s Office. Six candidates are vying for party leadership.
Among the candidates are Members of Parliament Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis, and Pierre Poilievre; former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber.
Image from CTV news-On the right is Mr. Aitchison, Mr. Charest, Mr.Polivere, Ms. Lewis, and Mr. Baber
During the debate, particularly sharp attacks were consistent between Mr. Poilievre, Mr. Brown, Ms. Lewis, and Mr. Charest. Here is a snapshot of some of the points.
Mr. Poilievre, a seven-term Ottawa MP, campaigns around the promise to restore economic freedom. Heavy focus on the current cost of living crisis. Holds the Bank of Canada responsible for the crisis in inflation because of its pandemic-related economic programs.
As he stated on Wednesday night that the “Bank of Canada governor has allowed himself to become the ATM of this government,”
“And so, I would replace him with a new governor who would reinstate our low inflation mandate, protect the purchasing power of our dollar, and honor the working people who earn those dollars.”
Mr. Charest and Ms. Lewis both argue that the bank must operate independently from the government.
“I don’t agree that members of Parliament should be meddling in the Bank of Canada,” Ms. Lewis said after the debate.
“If you’re an investor looking at coming to Canada and you hear that kind of a statement coming from a member of the House of Commons, you think you’re in a third world country,” said Mr. Charest during the debate.
He continued, “We cannot afford to have any leader who goes out there and deliberately undermines the confidence in institutions. Conservatives do not do that.”
Unlike Mr. Poilievre, Mr. Brown’s campaign focused on religious freedom and restoring the relationship between the party and cultural communities.
“We’ll never win with a divisive leader who repels voters and doubles down in discriminatory policies that trample over the religious freedoms of Canadians,” said Mr. Brown.
His time as PC’s leader was questioned, by Mr. Poilievre, especially his pivot on the carbon tax. Mr. Brown previously was against the carbon tax and then when he was running provincially he proposed for one. Now he would work with party members on climate policy.
Hosted by former political journalist Tom Clark, more than 1,000 people attended the debate. The candidate will meet again for a French-language debate on May 25th.
A new leader is set to be announced by the party on Sept 10 and will succeed interim party leader Candice Bergen. Party members will choose via a mail-in ballot.