Pierre Poilievre renames the Conservative Party after himself
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Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is in the process of overhauling the party he has led for two months.
After members gave him a strong mandate to steer the party in a new direction, Poilievre ousted senior staff loyal to former leader Erin O’Toole and revamped the front bench, with new “shadow cabinet ministers.” which are more in tune with his populist bent. .
He also redefined the party’s relationship with the Parliamentary Press Gallery – skipping interviews and “scrambles” with reporters on Parliament Hill in favor of other outlets, including outlets that serve specific ethnic communities. .
The party has hired two new communications directors – one to serve Poilievre personally and the other to work at party headquarters.
“I think part of the problem is, you know, we’re all too obsessed with Parliament Hill,” Poilievre told reporters at a rare Vancouver news conference on Wednesday.
“The press gallery feels it should dominate the political discourse. I think we have a great country, with people who are not necessarily in the press gallery.”
The Parliamentary Press Gallery has over 300 members from dozens of national and international news agencies and media. As the party’s finance critic, Poilievre regularly made himself available to Hill’s reporters. Since his election as leader in September, he has only once answered questions from Hill reporters.
It is a strategy similar to that of a former Prime Minister that Stephen Harper pursued when he was in office. Harper had an icy relationship with the press gallery.
New Managing Director, Lawyer, Directors of Communications
Many of the new hires chosen for the party’s top jobs have longtime ties to Poilievre and his leadership campaign manager, Jenni Byrne, a Conservative operative and lobbyist who also worked for Harper.
Among Poilievre’s new recruits is Mike Crase, who was recently chosen as the party’s executive director after nearly four years doing the same job for Ontario PCs. Crase and Byrne worked together in provincial politics.
Party legal adviser Arthur Hamilton was replaced by Michael Wilson, an ally of Poilievre.
Robert Staley, a Toronto-based lawyer and vice-chairman of the law firm Bennett Jones, is now the chairman of the Conservative Fund, the party’s powerful fundraising arm. He replaced James Dodd, an O’Toole pick.
Staley, who was Harper’s attorney, worked with Byrne when she served as Harper’s deputy chief of staff and later campaign manager in the 2015 federal election.
Academic and c-conservative small-thinker Ben Woodfinden has been chosen to be Poilievre’s new communications director – the go-to man on the leader’s messages and a liaison between Poilievre and the press.
Woodfinden penned a series of pro-Poilievre posts for right-wing outlet The Hub before taking the job.
He praised Poilievre’s populist approach to politics and his promise to tackle “gatekeepers” such as bureaucrats, regulators and others who are seen by some as making the lives of Canadians brighter. difficult and more expensive.
“There really is some substance and truth to the idea that Canada, and ordinary Canadians, are hobbled by self-serving elite economic and business gatekeepers who need to be challenged,” Woodfinden wrote in a July post.
“A serious Conservative pro-growth, anti-gatekeeper political agenda stands in stark contrast to the Liberal view of frivolous spending and subsidized growth where bureaucrats pick winners and losers. This would make the next election a veritable battle between competing economic visions for the country.
The new director of communications supported the protests of the convoys
The Conservative Party’s new communications director was named last week — and it’s an appointment that has raised some eyebrows.
Sarah Fischer, a former Conservative candidate and House of Commons staffer, was a strong supporter of the so-called Freedom Convoy – a movement Poilievre has also backed as part of her campaign against COVID-19 vaccination mandates .
“We will work to restore hope in a nation that will one day have a prime minister who puts people before politics and makes Canada the freest country on Earth,” Fischer said in a social media post announcing his new job.
Fischer, a former political adviser to Conservative MP Rachael Thomas, ran unsuccessfully for Don Valley North headquarters in the Toronto area in the 2019 federal election.
Videos on her Facebook page posted during the convoy show her thanking people who gathered in Ottawa for the anti-warrant protests.
“I just want to say you look beautiful, you look beautiful,” she told the crowd.
“This country is yours, the people, and you are showing it to them,” she said from the back of a flatbed truck outside Parliament in January. “Thank you for coming out and standing up for this country and for freedom.”
Fischer praised the protest in a separate post on her Twitter feed, saying there was ‘no other place in the world’ she’d rather be as she blasted the horn of a big truck parked downtown.
Loud honking was a feature of the truckers’ protest that disrupted the lives of tens of thousands of downtown residents.
Residents of downtown Ottawa told the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) studying the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act that the incessant noise was life-threatening. in the city intolerable.
In an interview with the Western Standard in February, Fischer played down complaints from Ottawa residents, saying that while she understood the horns “could have been annoying for people”, for her “the horns were music to my ears”.