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Average Trucker has more integrity “in his pinky finger” than Charest had in his entire “scandal-plagued Cabinet” Poilievre says in May 5 debate

May 5th Conservative Leadership debate. Photo: CPAC

CPAC (the Canadian Parliamentary Access Channel) hosted the first of two all-candidates to be held in the Conservative leadership race last night. The Truckers’ convoy provided a contentious debate point between former Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre, Carleton MP.

Charest, who has publicly adopted the position that Poilievre is not suitable to be Prime Minister of Canada because he supported the Truckers’ protest, attempted to also accuse Poilievre of not actually visiting the convoy in downtown Ottawa but rather, visiting a Truck stop near his home.

Poilievre, who did indeed visit the protest on Wellington Street and provided comment to media from there, corrected Charest’s statement and went on to tell Charest “The average Trucker has more integrity in his pinky finger than you had in your entire, scandal-plagued Liberal cabinet.”

Other candidates in the debate included Roman Baber, MPP; Scott Aitchison, former Mayor of Hunstsville, Ontario; and Dr. Leslyn Lewis, MP. Patrick Brown, also a candidate and currently Mayor of Brampton, was not present at the debate.

Moderators Candice Malcolm and Jamil Jivani presided over the lively but generally orderly debate. The debate format was clearly designed to provide more opportunity for response and rebuttal, with fewer of the single questions to all candidates seen in recent years.

Ontario MPP Roman Baber, who was kicked out of Doug Ford’s Ontario PC Party over his opposition to the COVID lockdowns, turned in a surprisingly strong performance. Baber was born in the Soviet Union, and his warnings about the loss of democracy and freedoms taken for granted in Canada were sincere and effective.