Six candidates will compete in the Conservative Party of Canada’s Sept. 10 contest to become the Conservative Party’s next leader.
The six took to the races to sign up new members in hopes of securing and expanding their bases.
According to Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun, from June 1 to June 3, the Conservative Party of Canada added 100,000 new members.
The final tally of full membership won’t be known for some time, but, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the party will exceed 600,000.
“Candidates sign up new members to the party to vote for them,” Lawrence Martin, a public affairs columnist for The Globe and Mail, told Newsmax.
There is “nothing like it [the Canadian election system] in the American experience,” said Thomas Flanagan, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and former Conservative campaign manager.
There are 338 constituencies, or ridings (as they are known in Canada), and each constituency, no matter what its number of members, receives 100 points in the leadership contest. In the Conservative Party leadership contest, party members receive mail-in ballots and order candidates in a ranked-choice/preferential ballot. The ballots are then tallied and points allocated proportionally.
It is a “compromise out of [the] Conservative Party merger in 2003,” Flanagan said.
This compromise created the current system since what was then known as the Progressive Conservative Party favored a point system and the more right-of-center Canadian Alliance desired a preferential ballot.
If a majority is not reached within the first round of balloting, the candidate amassing the least votes is eliminated. Ranked-choice voting is then utilized. The second choice of those who cast their ballots in favor of the eliminated candidate are counted. The elimination cycle continues until one candidate surpasses the coveted 50% mark.
Whoever becomes the Conservative leader also becomes the opposition leader in the Canadian Parliament. This means he or she leads an opposition responsible for acting as a check against the current administration of the Liberal Party under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Although the selection process in Canada is strikingly different from the United States’ system for choosing nominees of both major parties, some are comparing one candidate in this race to former Republican President Donald Trump. The candidate being referred to is the Honourable Pierre Poilievre.
At 43, Poilievre has already made a name for himself in Canadian politics.
Poilievre, a member of Parliament since 2004, is considered by some, including commentator Martin, as a populitst and a disruptor.
“He believes in a country where the state is servant, not master,” according to his campaign website.
Like Trump, Poilievre believes in limited government and greater economic freedom. The 43-year-old wants to get rid of the red tape of big government and roll back recent tax increases.
Although Poilievre is like Trump in that manner, Martin fell short of claiming that Poilievre is Canada’s Trump.
Poilievre is “not as reckless as Trump,” Martin told Newsmax, he is “better informed than Trump.”
Scholar Flanagan echoed similar sentiments. The professor disapproved of the Trump comparison by simply stating that Poilievre isn’t a multi-millionaire like the former president.
Stockwell Day, former Canada opposition leader, described his former assistant, Polievre, as smart, hardworking, and capable. Day, however, endorsed Dr. Leslyn Lewis to be the next Conservative Party leader.
“She will bring a whole new aura to the political arena,” Day told Newsmax when asked about why he supports Dr. Lewis and not Poilievre.
Day noted that Poilievre and Lewis share similar policy beliefs, and that his former assistant would be his second choice in the race.
Poilievre and Dr. Lewis supported the trucker convoys that made headlines for their protests of COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
As the U.S. gears up for revisiting the decision of Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, Canada faces a similar struggle, even within party lines.
“A Poilievre government would not introduce or pass legislation restricting abortion,” declared Poilievre during a recent televised.
Lewis, the only minority and woman on stage, said: “I am pro-life and women in Canada can have an abortion up until nine months and so there is no restriction on abortion. What we need to do is have conversations about what we believe in.”
Like most, if not all, election campaigns, there are a few bumps in the road. For Poilievre, one of those “bumps” is in regards to his membership tally of his own party.
In a recent interview with CTV News, Jean Charest, former premier of Quebec and current Conservative Party leader candidate, suggested that Poilievre is exaggerating his membership totals of 311,958.
Even with final tallies unknown, Poilievre is positioned as the frontrunner. The question that remains, Flanagan told us, is whether Poilievre can win a general election.
It is “hard to get elected as a hard core conservative in Canada,” echoed Flanagan.
While it is difficult for a hard core conservative to get elected, Day expressed his concern that all Americans believe that all Canadians are leftist.
“Not all Canadians are of the views Trudeau espouses,” Day told Newsmax.
With a leadership election in September and a prime minister election in October 2025, the world will have to wait and see if Flanagan’s and Day’s words ring true in the Great White North.
Micah Hart, a Newsmax intern, is studying politics and journalism at Hillsdale College in Michigan.