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Charest condemns leadership rival Poilievre's convoy, crypto, climate policies

Doubling down on his condemnation of his Conservative leadership rival, Jean Charest says that Pierre Poilievre should be disqualified from becoming leader of the federal Conservative party over his support of the “Freedom Convoy.”

“Everyone knows that Pierre Poilievre supported the blockade,” Charest said in an interview on CTV’s Question Period. “If you say to Canadians: ‘I want to be the leader of the Conservative Party and I want to be the chief legislator of the country, but I don't have to obey the laws,’ I'm sorry. That's not just a failure in leadership. It disqualifies you, as far as I'm concerned, as being someone who thinks or aspires to be a leader of a party.”

The anti-vaccine and anti-government protests occupied downtown Ottawa for weeks this winter, leading to hundreds of arrests and millions of dollars in policing and other costs for the city. The federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time ever, and the province and city declared states of emergency.

Poilievre, who represents the Ottawa riding of Carleton, visited the truckers at stops on their way into Ottawa and voiced his support throughout, but there is no indication that Poilievre disobeyed any laws in his support for the “Freedom Convoy” protests. Poilievre has already been authorized as an official candidate by the party, as have Charest and a handful of others.

“He supported the blockade. There's consequences to those decisions. And one of the consequences is that he should not be a leader of a party, even less a prime minister,” Charest said, noting that the protests led to businesses having to close, costing people their jobs.

This new line of attack comes as Poilievre, the leadership race’s perceived frontrunner has been seeing sizeable crowds at his cross-Canada rallies and events, but Charest said he’s not concerned about that, saying he’s focusing his campaign on recruiting party members.


In the interview, Charest also went after Poilievre’s position on cryptocurrency, which includes suggesting Canada could become the “crypto capital of the world,” and condemned him for “attacking the Bank of Canada.”

“You want to be prime minister of Canada, and you're telling Canadians that cryptocurrency is going to wipe out inflation? Does anyone credible believe that? Is there any economic person in the country who actually said that he was right? I mean, this is it's not just wrong. It's bizarre,” Charest said.

Asked what his stance was on digital currencies, Charest said he thinks cryptocurrency “needs to be regulated and needs to be understood.”


Referencing Poilievre’s promise to cancel the carbon tax, Charest said he doesn’t think his opponent has a serious plan to address climate change.

“Our carbon position going into the next campaign cannot be a slogan. And if the only thing you're offering is a slogan, the Conservatives will be dead in the water,” Charest said. 

“I haven't heard anything on his part that says he's serious about the environment, apart from a slogan. And we know where that leads. That leads to direct defeat in the next election campaign. Talk to the candidates who ran in the last campaign. If you knock on a door," said Charest. "And you don't have anything credible to say about climate, you're dead in the water. Canadians care about this issue.”

Charest supports a price on carbon as one of the measures to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions, saying there are ways to tackle climate change “that are intelligent, that support the transition, and allow you to get to where you need to go. And you can do it while supporting the oil and gas industry.”

CTV’s Question Period requested an interview for Sunday’s show with Poilievre, he was not available.

With files from CTV News Ottawa



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