Former PM Harper Congratulates Poilievre on ‘Successful Convention’

Former PM Harper Congratulates Poilievre on ‘Successful Convention’
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre waves as he enters a caucus meeting prior to the Conservative convention, in Quebec City on Sept. 7, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot)
Marnie Cathcart

Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper extended congratulations to Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre following a successful three-day national party convention that began on Sept. 7.

“Congratulations to Pierre Poilievre on a successful convention and great speech by a future prime minister. The time for change is already long past,” said Mr. Harper in a Sept. 10 post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Mr. Harper included a brief clip from Mr. Poilievre’s 60-minute speech in Quebec City with the campaign theme of “Bring it Home,” in which the Calgary-raised prime minister contender for the next federal election said the most important job of any leader is “to bring hope.”

“Hope is what Canadians need now more than ever. Hope is something that you feel, but it’s hard to picture it. So let me paint a picture for you,” said Mr. Poilievre.

He said hope is “students laughing walking down safe streets to class,” and “the distant drumming of hammers driving nails through Canadian lumber and to [build] yet another beautiful new Canadian home.”

Mr. Poilievre said hope is “shopkeepers sweeping clean storefronts at the end of another day,” “seniors heading home with a carful of groceries” and money to spare, and kids asking for 10 more minutes of street hockey before bed.

“And then quiet. And the young couple sits on their front porch, soaking in the summer warmth, a Canadian flag hanging gently but proudly from the front of their house. With a cold drink in one hand and a paycheque in the other,” Mr. Poilievre continued.

“They look into each other’s eyes, in a way that can only say, ‘The hard work paid off. The sacrifices were worth it. Because, finally, we’re home.’”

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader thanked his parents for making the decision to adopt him, and for working hard in their careers as teachers.

‘Common-Sense’ Government

Mr. Poilievre responded to the former prime minister with a social media post on Sept. 10 that said, “Thank you Prime Minister Harper for leaving Canada with low inflation and even lower taxes.”

His speech focused on restoring a country plagued by high cost of living, inflation, and housing and affordability issues. His promises included expediting credentials for skilled immigrants, offering cities incentives to build more homes, and supporting natural resources.

Mr. Poilievre also vowed to scrap ArriveCan, the mandatory COVID-19 traveller vaccine registration program implemented for a period of time during the COVID pandemic.

“A common-sense Conservative government that frees hardworking people to earn powerful paycheques that buy affordable food, gas, and homes in safe communities,” or “Trudeau’s costly coalition,” said Mr. Poilievre, comparing a Tory government with the coalition between the NDP and the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The crowd broke out in applause when Mr. Poilievre said he would “axe the tax,” specifically the Trudeau government’s carbon tax, and defund the CBC.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)
Former prime minister Stephen Harper in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)
The popularity of the Conservative Party, as the official Opposition, has increased significantly in Canada over the past six months, results of a new Research Co. poll released on Sept. 7 suggested.
The survey indicated that 37 percent of decided voters would cast a ballot for the Conservative candidate in their constituency, up four points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in February, giving Mr. Poilievre’s party a six-point lead over the Liberals.

This is the first policy convention since Mr. Poilievre took leadership of the CPC, with more than 2,500 attendees at the event in Quebec City, the largest attendance since the party was formed in 2003 by the merger of the the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance party at the time.

The CPC also unveiled a new logo on Sept. 7, featuring a red maple leaf atop a pale blue line inside a large letter “C” in dark navy.

“Mr. Trudeau and I agree that things are broken. We just disagree on what’s broken and who broke it. He thinks the people are the problem, when Canadians know he is the problem,” Poilievre said during his speech.

The Liberal Party on Sept. 8 alleged that Mr. Poilievre “is only focused on rolling back our progress and importing far-right American style politics.”
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.