Aspiring Conservative leaders woo Toronto and its suburbs

There are followers of Donald Trump who want Canada to be Great Again. Opponents of compulsory vaccination and people who support trucking convoys, proliberty and antidictatorship. And even some conspiracy theorists, who denounce the dominance of the World Economic Forum.

Pierre Poilievre in an activist rally.

Pierre Poilievre is considered the frontrunner in the CCP’s leadership race.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Evan Mitsui

But the vast majority of people present fear above all the increase in the cost of living, in a region where the median price of houses exceeds one million dollars. Anxiety on which Pierre Poilievre bet, promising to promote access to property and abolishing nebulous administrative obstacles.

It is a message that appeals to its supporters. Enough to wait an hour after the rally to take a picture with him. If the support in the leadership race can be counted in selfies, Pierre Poilievre is right to smile.

Pierre Poilievre and an activist.

Pierre Poilievre has multiplied this kind of photo since the start of the race.

Photo: Twitter (@canmericanized)

In a region like Toronto, which again and again eludes the Conservatives, this kind of rally fuels the hopes of supporters. I see opportunities for breakthroughs in the Toronto area for Mr. Poilievresays Derek Leebosh, vice-president of the polling firm Environics.

For a Conservative member, it must be motivating to see a leadership candidate who attracts so many people. Looks like a winner! »

A quote from Derek Leebosh, vice president of polling firm Environics

Things have been tough for Conservatives in the GTA for the past seven years. If a leadership candidate demonstrates that he can make gains there, it is one more card in his game, believes the pollster.

Courting cultural communities

Wednesday morning, in a restaurant in Markham, a handful of journalists of Chinese origin are waiting for aspiring chef Jean Charest. The atmosphere is more intimate. A stark contrast to his opponent’s rally the day before.

Jean Charest giving an interview to a Chinese journalist.

Jean Charest believes the CCP made mistakes that cost him dearly in the GTA.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jonathan Dupaul

Jean Charest openly courts the cultural communities of the Toronto suburbs, whose political weight is crucial, both for the leadership and for the general election.

Conservatives losing in GTA since 2015notes Jean Charest. That’s three consecutive elections.

In 2011, the suburbs were painted blue and Stephen Harper was in the majority. Four years later, a red tidal wave carried Justin Trudeau to power.

This is a harsh judgment against the Conservative Party, which has failed to win the support of cultural communities and new Canadians in the Toronto region. »

A quote from Jean Charest, candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party

He points to a policy of Stephen Harper, who wanted to set up a toll-free 1 800 line so that citizens could report barbaric practices cultural communities – a policy that Pierre Poilievre supported at the time, recalls Jean Charest.

All this left a very negative impressionwhich persists, according to him. Do we want a leader who will make us win a general election or a leader who will reduce the base of the party?

For the conservatives, regaining power goes through these communities in particular. And another aspiring chef got it right.

A campaign underground

Patrick Brown runs kitchen meetings in Sri Lankan or Nepalese communities and participates in Sikh, Hindu or Muslim gatherings.

The candidate takes advantage of his enormous network of multicultural contacts, which notably enabled him to win the mayor of Brampton, northwest of Toronto.

It promises new infrastructure for cricket, visa offices in Nepal and better access for these communities to the center of government decision-making.

Patrick Brown interviewed on YouTube.

Patrick Brown actively woos ethnic communities in Canada.

Photo: YouTube (Canadian Pakistani Narrative)

Mr. Brown notably promises religious communities to attack the Quebec Secularism Act. No one should lose their job because of their faith, no matter if they want to wear a turban, a hijab, a kirpan, a crosshe said during his campaign launch.

But don’t look for Patrick Brown in the mainstream media. He refuses all interview requests. He leads a underground campaignsays Derek Leebosh

It is like a machine to get new party members within these communities. It goes under the radar, but it can have a big impact in the race. »

A quote from Derek Leebosh, vice president of polling firm Environics

To become a Conservative leader, you have to charm the GTA. To become Prime Minister too. The leadership race serves as a rehearsal for the next general election.

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