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Former Canadian parliamentarian Pierre Poilievre was chosen as the leader of the Conservative Party on Saturday, and will head the party’s mission to push the Liberals and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau out of the country’s government.
Poilievre, 43, was declared the victor with 68% of the vote in the first round of ranked-choice voting. He is the sixth leader of the Conservatives since 2015.
He campaigned on reducing the role of the state in people’s lives and scaling back government spending and taxes that he blames for the rise in inflation.
The new Conservative leader defeated four opponents, including his primary competitor Jean Charest, a former Quebec premier. During his campaign, Poilievre had criticized Trudeau and the central bank governor for failing to control soaring inflation.
“Tonight begins the journey to replace an old government that costs you more and delivers you less with a new government that puts you first – your paycheck, your retirement, your home, your country,” Poilievre said in his victory speech.
Poilievre became a member of parliament in 2004 at just 25 years old. He later served as minister for democratic reform and as minister for employment and social development until Trudeau took office in 2015.
With Trudeau’s support from the left-wing New Democrats, an election could come as late as 2025. And pollsters have suggested that Poilievre will be a formidable opponent against Trudeau should the prime minister run for the fourth time.
“Here are two people who know exactly how to push each other’s buttons, who know exactly how to get underneath each other’s skin,” Angus Reid Institute president Shachi Kurl said of Poilievre and Trudeau.
Poilievre in February supported the Canadian trucker convoy and its supporters who blocked border crossings as part of a protest against Trudeau and his COVID-19 vaccine policies for truckers.
The new Conservative Party leader also promised during his campaign that he will fire Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem. Poilievre has attributed price increases to the central bank’s pandemic bond buying.
Reuters contributed to this report.