Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl is endorsing Pierre Poilievre in the federal Conservative leadership race.
Strahl made his pick public in a Monday morning Tweet.
“Conservatives need a principled leader who will fight for our values and make the case for conservatism in Canada,” he said. “We need a champion who will stand up for our rights and freedoms and won’t back down from Justin Trudeau. Pierre Poilievre is the leader we need for such a time as this and he has my full support.”
Poilievre is the only candidate to declare for the race so far, entering in the first week of February. The 42-year-old jumped in with the backing of a lengthy list of Conservatives, highlighted by Ontario MPs Melissa Lantsman and Marilyn Gladu, longtime Manitoba MP James Bezan and former Conservative cabinet member John Baird.
Poilievre has promised to do away with the federal carbon tax if he’s elected Prime Minister.
There are nine people who are thought to be potential rivals, including Jean Charest, who led the Progressive Conservative party in the mid-1990s. He’s also a former Premier of Quebec.
Peter McKay, a former cabinet minister in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, ran for the party leadership in 2020. He lost to Aaron O’Toole, but is considering another go.
Names who won’t be familiar to British Columbians include Leslyn Lewis, Scott Aitchison, Leona Alleslev, Patrick Brown, Roman Barber, Tasha Kheiriddin and Michael Chong.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is among those who won’t be running. Kenney says he’s not interested in the job, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s got enough on his plate running for re-election in June.
Candidates have until April 29 to enter the leadership race, which will be decided Sept. 10, 2022.
Strahl and the Conservatives are only two years removed from the last party leadership race, which saw Erin O-Toole prevail in August, 2020.
At the time, Strahl called him a principled leader with real world experience “who will fight for all Canadians.”
“Under Erin’s leadership, we will come together as a strong, united party,” Strahl said at the time. “We will respect one another and our diversity of opinions and we will work together like never before.”
In the 2021 federal election, O’Toole’s party captured 33.74 per cent of the votes and matched the 119 seats they won in 2019.
With files from The Canadian Press