With the seven-month-long race to determine the new leader of the federal Conservative Party, Pierre Poilievre, has managed to earn the position of leader. However, prior to the leadership race coming to a close, we spoke with Martin Shields, MP for Bow River, to see what his overall take was.
“The leadership race has been going on for some time,” said Shields. “It’s now down to a lot of the voting — it’s huge membership numbers. It was 230 some thousand for the last one which was the record — now it’s 630,000 members. It’s a huge number of people who are in the process of voting that will be announced on September 10. From a conservative caucus member here is my priority. As a caucus, we have to be very united with whoever is elected leader by the membership. We need to be strong in support of the leader, we need to be unified, we need to act like a government in waiting so people say we want you as our government of the next election. That only comes by leadership and a strong team supporting the leadership. To me, the leader has to provide that leadership, but we have to be unified in the direction of that leader and we have to support it as a team. That’s the only way people in Canada will look at us as an alternative to the current government and say ‘we want to elect you’.”
Shields briefly discussed who he was backing in the leadership race, and doubled down on how the party should proceed as a united front regardless of the winner of the race.
“I have publicly supported Pierre Poilievre, but there are other people that if they are so elected out of that group — I talked to the caucus and this is a membership vote. If the membership vote chooses any one of the other four, then it is my job to support the leader chosen by the membership.”
With voting now closed, and the result in Poilievre’s favour, he received 22,993 of the 33,800 electoral points. This resulted in Poillevre having 68.15 per cent of the vote, making it a decisive victory with the next closest candidate, Jean Charest, only managing to receive 16.07 per cent of the vote.
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times