Hannah Hodson, a transgender former candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada, says that Leader Pierre Poilievre's comments on transgender sports and bathroom policies create confusion on party priorities.

"What he has said today just further extends the idea that trans people are predators," said Hodson, who ran for the Conservatives in Victoria, B.C., during the 2021 federal election. "It's very unfortunate."

In response to a question at a Kitchener, Ont., press conference Wednesday, Poilievre said "female spaces should be exclusively for females, not for biological males," but added that "it is unclear … what reach federal legislation would have."

In an interview that aired Wednesday on CTV News Channel's Power Play with Vassy Kapelos, Hodson warned of the risks of taking time away from tackling inflation to weigh in on transgender inclusion in sports and bathrooms, issues the party can "dangle in front of social conservatives," but which "sell out a vulnerable group of Canadians in order to seek political expediency."

Asked about the discussion's emergence in the Canadian political landscape, Hodson pointed to its relationship with broader, international trends.

"I think that the social conservative global movement figured they lost on gay rights, and with the exception of the Dobbs ruling in the U.S., I think they've largely agreed they've lost on issues like abortion. And I think this is a target they can see."

Appealing to that movement is a tactic she says she sees in Canada and elsewhere.

"We can see in certain other conservative political parties, including the Republicans, [that] the moderate, country-club, traditional conservatives, let's say, think that they can handle these extremists, and use them for money and for votes, and probably ignore them come policy time. That's not happening anymore," she said.

"[At] the Conservative [Party] policy convention – at a time of massive inflation and cost-of-living issues, the issues that they chose to vote on were targeting trans people."

In this climate, there's been an increase in negativity toward the trans community, Hodson said.

"The hate has ramped up," she said. "The casual bigotry, and the willingness of people to say things that I think they wouldn't have said two years ago, has significantly increased."

Watch the full interview with Hannah Hodson at the top of the article.