Poirivre’s leadership victory could signal change in party’s social conservatives

Pierre Polivre Crushing win Being the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada raises questions about the status and power of the party’s social conservatives.

This well-mobilized portion of the party’s support base has played a key role in helping former leaders to seize power, and some have called them “Kingmakers”.

In the 2020 leadership election, former party leader Erin O’Toole is a social conservative (broadly defined as people whose politics are known for their faith-based values, belief in family, and opposition to abortion). to elect him in the party’s ranked ballot.

Andrew Scheer, who holds that view himself, was able to emerge victorious in a crowded 2017 election thanks to the votes he received after other social conservative candidates lost.

But Poirivere is different. The 43-year-old longtime MP won the first ballot with nearly 70% support.

Rather than appealing to specific groups through direct policy appeals, Polivre will appeal to many interests within the party at once through a larger message, according to Conservative campaign strategist Michael Diamond. won by doing

Now Diamond said, “He’s his own man.”

Former Conservative MP Brad Trost was one of the Social Conservative candidates in the 2017 election, and his endorsement helped Scheer.

while he says poirivre win It will elicit a variety of views on what this means for the role of social conservatives going forward.

Trost said social conservative voters were concerned that Scheer and O’Toole, once in power, would backtrack on promises made during their leadership campaigns, appealing more broadly to Canadians. The emphasis is on doing.

For example, O’Toole was outraged for abandoning his promise to protect the rights of conscience of nurses and doctors when referring patients to services they did not consent to, such as abortion, sex reassignment surgery, and dying medical assistance. collected.

But Trost said social conservatives aren’t worried about disappointment because Polivre made no concrete promises.

Pierre I’m neither social conservative nor anti-social conservative,” Trost said. “He’s a political pragmatist sitting on the right side of our party, and I think that makes our relationship clearer.”

During the race, Polyvre vowed not to reopen the abortion debate, but to continue to allow his party’s caucuses to vote freely on matters of conscience.

Trost added that there were members of social conservatives poirivre A leadership body that includes former Cabinet Minister Gail Shea, current MPs John Williamson and Kelly Brock.

Still, Poilievre wasn’t the frontrunner for two anti-abortion groups that encouraged supporters to buy memberships to help choose their next leader.

Both RightNow and the Campaign Life Coalition backed Leslyn Lewis, the only candidate to commit to restrictions on abortion.

To the surprise of many, Lewis came in third with only about 9% support from party members.

Riding on the popularity she gained in the 2020 contest, she entered the contest as a rookie MP, placing third, but winning in Saskatchewan.

This time, she faced off against Polivre, a juggernaut whom many of the members felt had similar appeal but felt had a larger profile and more experience within Congress.

Lewis’ campaign manager Steve Outhouse said concerns about COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates play a big role, especially in socially conservative circles, sometimes masking their feelings about abortion. , stated that this contest is unique.

He said many voters have been directly impacted by pandemic-related policies and feel the government has gone too far in individual health care decisions.

“Freedom was the biggest issue this voting cycle,” said Outhouse.

Pierre Very strong on these issues, many social conservatives clearly had no problem voting for Mr. Polivre. ”

Lewis was also avidly campaigning against health measures for COVID-19, but Polivre overpowered her and all other party candidates.

Regardless of how Lewis’ results look, Outhouse said she has improved since 2020.

The Campaign Life Coalition and Right Now, the groups that support her, said Poilievre should choose Lewis to play the role of prominent critic as a sign of respect for the party’s social conservatives.

Diamond said that with a crushing victory, Polivre had already earned the confederacy’s respect.

“He’s free to build the team he wants.”

Stephanie Taylor

canadian press