In just under two weeks into his tenure as federal leader for the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre’s influence has continued to cause rumblings throughout the country. CP24 reported on Thursday that the federal government will be dropping vaccination requirements and all other pandemic restrictions at Canada’s border on Sept. 30.
Conservative MPs are attributing this discussion to Poilievre’s ascension as he has sternly stood against vaccine mandates and other restrictions throughout his campaign.
As reported by CTV News, recent polls have indicated that Poilievre could be a worthy contender against the longstanding PM since support toward the Liberal Party has dropped in recent times. With his ascension, many observers feel Poilievre is drawing in support from young, diverse voters thanks to his social media presence and immigration policies.
With that being said, how is the student body reacting to Poilievre’s newfound position?
Michael Mandel and Yair Shpiler are the President and Vice President for the YorkU Campus Conservatives, respectively. Both acknowledge Poilievre’s rising social media presence and noted his relatability to the young voters, particularly those concerned with housing and employment.
“Poilievre offers comments and solutions not seen from past federal leaders,” says Shpiler, a first year business administration student at Schulich. “Poilievre relates to younger people because he covers topics pertaining to the cost of living and further praised the overall message he sends to young Canadians.
When asked what they look forward to seeing Poilievre accomplish, Mandel, a first year student double-majoring in Jewish studies and political science, looks forward to “hopefully seeing a diverse cabinet and seeing him stand for values of the average Canadian.”
Alternatively, third year sociology major, Muhtaseem Abid, spoke on behalf of Socialist Fightback. Abid feels Poilievre “talks a big game about looking out for working class Canadians.”
“The reason he is tapping into a certain debate among working class families is because there is a thirst for anti-capitalist ideas. But the problem is it’s the likes of Poilievre, who are demagogically using the language of ‘fighting against the rich’ without providing any solutions that improve people’s lives.”
Regarding his growing popularity and influence, Amid feels that part of Poilievre’s appeal is his refusal to “present himself as a traditional politician who obeys the rules.” Noting that because many citizens are disappointed with the current state of affairs and the lack of “healthy, socialist alternative, people are inevitably going to go to whatever is out there. In this case, you have a right-wing, populist, Conservative who is tapping into that anger.”
Poilievre most recently went toe-to-toe with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, in his first question period as leader of the opposition. Per The National Post, Poilievre blasted the Liberals for the party’s intentions to raise the rate of worker contributions to the Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP), claiming them to be tax hikes.