Speed Reads

a challenger approaches

Canada's Conservatives pick populist Pierre Poilievre to take on Trudeau

Canada's Conservatives on Saturday elected populist Pierre Poilievre as the party's new leader, The Washington Post reported.

Poilievre received 68 percent of the vote on the first ballot in an apparent rebuke to the party's more moderate wing, which favored former Quebec Premier Jean Charest. The Post explains that the vote was conducted using a ranked ballot and "was restricted to dues-paying members of the Conservative Party," with some 678,000 people eligible to vote.

"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 a victory speech. Poilievre was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 2004 at the age of 25, Politico notes.

Charest reportedly claimed that Poilievre was "unfit" to be prime minister due to his support for the Freedom Convoy protests against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's COVID-19 policies.

The Post notes that Canada's Conservative Party has struggled in recent years, failing to secure the seats needed to form a government in three consecutive general elections despite winning the popular vote in two of them. Poilievre will face an uphill battle to unseat Trudeau, who struck a deal in March with the left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) that would keep him in power until 2025.