Canada’s Conservative party is changing. The question is whether it goes down a right-wing populist path — as Republicans south of the border have with Donald Trump — or whether it takes a centrist approach to appeal to a wider audience. In many ways, that question reveals the cracks in the nearly 20-year-old marriage of convenience between the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance, one that risks ending up in a nasty divorce.
The only declared candidate, Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, is a polarizing figure with a “take no prisoners” attitude. He recently called Europe’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shockingly “weak,” embraced the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” and called COVID-19 public health measures a purposeful attempt by governments “to try and take away our freedom and give themselves more power.”