Northern Conservatives seek stability, unity under new party leader

Party members to choose between 5 candidates in vote Sept. 10

The five Conservative Party leadership candidates are pictured here. Top row (L to R): Scott Aitchison, Roman Baber and Jean Charest. Bottom row (L to R) Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre. (Photos from Facebook)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In just over a week and a half, the federal Conservative Party of Canada will choose a new leader.

As the party prepares to elect its third leader since 2015, Conservative members in the North say they are hoping for someone who will bring stability and unity to the party — which has lost three consecutive elections — while presenting an electable alternative to the current Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.

More than 120 Nunavummiut were registered with the party to vote in the leadership contest, set for Sept. 10, said Steve Berrill, president of Nunavut’s Conservative riding association.

“I think that it really behooves us, as northerners, that we have a credible and stable leader and leadership,” Berrill said.

Conservatives are selecting a new leader nearly seven months after party MPs ousted Erin O’Toole from the job following last September’s federal election that saw a minority Liberal government elected.

In a five-person race, the candidates are former Progressive Conservative MP and Liberal Quebec Premier Jean Charest, former Ontario MPP Roman Baber, as well as current Ontario MPs Scott Aitchison, Leslyn Lewis and Pierre Poilievre.

Berrill would not say who he supports because he needs to remain neutral in his role in the riding association.

Leona Aglukkaq, the most recent Conservative MP for Nunavut who served from 2008 to 2015, is also not offering opinions about the race, citing her role in the party’s national leadership.

“I sit on the national council of the Conservative Party and also a member of the leadership election organizing committee overseeing the leadership selection process and must remain neutral,” Aglukkaq wrote in an email.

As well as stability, northern Conservative party members are expressing hope for a leader who will unite the party.

According to Steve Corriveau, the 2021 federal Conservative candidate for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, Charest is the one who can best do that.

Corriveau said he likes Charest for his character and experience as a politician. His support dates back to Charest’s time as a federal cabinet minister under prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell, and even as a Liberal premier leading Quebec.

“He’s such a charmer, he’s someone that can rally the troops,” Corriveau said in an interview.

Dennis Patterson, Nunavut’s senator, is also backing Charest.

Earlier this year, Patterson defected from the Conservative Party caucus over his Conservative colleagues’ support of the so-called Freedom Convoy, which occupied the streets of Ottawa for three weeks in January and February.

While he no longer sits as a Conservative in the Senate, Patterson remains an active party member and has been vocal about his support for Charest.

“It’s been a very long-standing close, respectful relationship that I’ve enjoyed with Mr. Charest, and so that’s part of the reason for my support for him,” Patterson said.

Corriveau and Patterson expressed concern over Poilievre’s ability to be a winning and unifying leader for the party, despite them both saying it’s very likely that he will win this race. Specifically, they cited concerns about Poilievre’s slogans such as “Justinflation,” and his support for anti-vaccine mandate protesters like those who occupied Ottawa earlier this year.

“It is divisive and negative, and we need a leader who will be a unifier,” Patterson said.

“Those slogans could win Mr. Poilievre the leadership, and certainly could win continuing strong support from western Canada, but we need to find a way to win the country.”

Corriveau said he has a lot of respect for Poilievre, complimenting his intelligence and communication style.

At the same time, he said Poilievre plays a tougher “American” style of politics, which he doesn’t want to see from the party leader.

Corriveau said he’s worried about the future success of the Conservatives in federal elections, and that his relationship with the party will change if Charest isn’t elected.

“We’ll see what happens, but one thing is for sure: me, I will definitely be less involved with the party if my candidate is not the winner,” Corriveau said.

Despite Corriveau and Patterson’s feelings, Poilievre does have support in the North. On Tuesday, he tweeted about two voters who are backing him from Iqaluit.

Last week, Michelle Ferreri, a Conservative MP from Ontario, hosted an event in support of Poilievre in Iqaluit.

Regardless of who wins the leadership, Berrill said he wants to see a Conservative leader who will show interest in and care for the North, and present an option that will appeal to a region known for its consensus style of politics.

“Our previous prime ministers, going back to [John] Diefenbaker, were enamoured with the North like no party has been, and we hope that will continue with the new leader,” Berrill said.

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(39) Comments:

  1. Posted by Brambleberry on

    Pierre Poilievre Quotes!

    “Canada’s aboriginals need to learn the value of hard work more than they need compensation for abuse suffered at residential schools.”

    “the root causes of terrorism are terrorists”

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    • Posted by Binky the Doormat on

      Poilievre is an unsurprising product of a culture downstream from social media.

      Someone said he is a troll, and trolling is really a game for attention and extreme statements get that.

      These comments were made to provoke a reaction, to irritate liberals, socialists, and ‘post modernists’ as some call them.

      There’s a point beneath them though, if we are honest we know there are problems with our working culture in Nunavut. We know what its like to have to leave work because a daycare closed for no staff, or to have a health center close for the same reason, all surrounded by so much unused human capital.

      Still, his framing wasn’t only poor, it was intentionally provocative. The concern some have is that the incentives on social media push our conversations and perceptions away from mutual understanding and empathy and toward conflict. Conflict gets attention, attention gets engagement. It’s a business model influencing culture.

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      • Posted by Yellow Brick Road on

        These comments were made in 2008. Social media was around then, but it wasn’t quite the cultural force you’ve depicted at that time. That said, the dynamics you’ve laid out are undoubtedly playing into culture today.

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      • Posted by Oh ima on

        He doesn’t do this to be provocative let’s call his statements and believes what it is RACIST! This coming from a boy worth $9 million who never worked a day in his life

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        • Posted by Binky the Doormat on

          You’re right, it would be a mistake to reduce his comments to ‘being provocative’ alone. And undoubtedly, he believes what he says.

          Still, I think he relishes provocation and the reputation it’s given him. It’s become part of his identity.

          Is he “RACIST”!?

          It’s interesting how that has become such a liberally applied and generic term of abuse. One wonders if it means anything anymore.

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    • Posted by Truth Hurts on

      A good leader will tell the truth – even if it’s unpopular, or, even when it hurts.
      I think if we’re honest, he has a point. For example, in my community, the Northern Store just hired a bunch of people to help with the sealift. And, if you stay the whole day – you get your name entered in a draw for a prize. Yep, people now need to be bribed to commit to a full days work!!
      What happened to the work ethic of the elders? There was no tougher or harder working group of people than the Inuit. Elders literally fought day in and day out for their survival. They never stopped working hard. Sadly, young people have lost this work ethic.

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  2. Posted by Paul on

    Sure is taking a long time for them to choose a leader for their defunct party.
    I guess when you have radical far right groups and individuals in your party it complicates things.
    They should remove the name conservatives, this party is not your progressive conservatives anymore, it’s been taken over by the alliance party and far right, a lot of us progressive conservatives have left this group of yahoos, it’s such a embarrassment and shameful party now not what it used to be,

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  3. Posted by Nice to know on

    I often wonder who in Nunavut would support such a party, we know some of them who have been vocal on social media and they are not very many but most of the people I know don’t support this party.
    We have seen this in the last two elections where this party is a distant third, pretty much dead last.
    Nice to know.

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  4. Posted by Pork Pie on

    It’s interesting to see Patterson and Corriveau appeal to the idea of a ‘unifier.’ We know Poilievre has more support among his party, though perhaps not the country. So, it matters where you are taking your measurements.

    Fair enough, Poilievre is divisive and a bit of a troll. He’s also a troll that could win. In a way he is the perfect mirror of Trudeau, he has charisma, youth, confidence in his view of the world. He also presents an antidote, bitter it may be, to the superficial, performative virtue signaling that cynically informs the Trudeau policy making paradigm.

    He is, in effect, the anti-Trudeau, and that is why, like it or not, you should not be surprised to see him win.

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    • Posted by One More Thing on

      Another thing they have in common is that they both lack any significant amount of real life experience outside of politics.

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  5. Posted by Umingmak on

    Poilievre is the right choice to lead the Conservatives, and to lead Canada.

    We desperately need to end the Trudeau Regime’s reign.

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    • Posted by Taqualaraiit on

      And you call yourself Inuk. Here’s what Poilievre thinks about indigenous people who were horrifically abused in Residential Schools:

      “Canada’s aboriginals need to learn the value of hard work more than they need compensation for abuse suffered in Residential Schools.”

      It hurts my brain that ANY First Nations, Métis, or Inuk person could stand behind such a vile scumbag.

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      • Posted by The Reality Is… on

        Poilievre’s sentiments are not at all wrong, just clumsily worded and overly broad, but it certainly applies to much of the territories.

        There is much to applauded in his sentiment.

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        • Posted by Maq-Pat on

          NO. The statements were wrong, plain and simple. He withdrew them and apologized the very next day. Quote: “Yesterday on a day when the House and all Canadians were celebrating a new beginning, I made remarks that were hurtful and wrong…I accept responsibility for them and I apologize.” This was also YEARS ago, the average Nunavummiut alive today was eleven-years-old when Poilievre made that one-day mistake. For context this was also around the same time as our then Primer’s infamous “There are no gay Inuit” statement. People make mistakes, what more can we ask for then for them to quickly learn, grow, and apologies for their mistakes?

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      • Posted by Maq-Pat on

        While still indefensible, the quote was actually: “My view is that we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance. That’s the solution in the long run — more money will not solve it.”

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        • Posted by Unmuted on

          Thanks for shedding new light on that… this doesn’t seem indefensible to me. What am I missing?

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          • Posted by Maq-Pat on

            The context. It was the day residential school compensation was announced.

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      • Posted by Igunaaqi on

        Maybe if you watched anything other than mainstream media you’ll have a better understanding.

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    • Posted by oh ima on

      oh ya, Trudeau is wreaking havoc on the country, no more freedom, truckers (white supremacists) can’t drive around Ottawa, blaring horns all day long, harassing people that live there. Also, they can’t purchase churches, ya, pale skin Canadians are losing their privileges!

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      • Posted by iThink on

        Your comments are almost always superficial and full of hate. They are a disgrace to you, but a disgrace I suspect you can’t see at all. Is this really the best you can do?

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        • Posted by Lack of Awareness on

          Self-awareness is quite lacking in Oh Ima’s comments, isn’t it?

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  6. Posted by Entertaining on

    The craziest one is in the lead lol.
    I wouldn’t vote for this party but they are entertaining, not in a good way lol

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  7. Posted by Bored Member on

    Leona really knows how to feed at the trough, doesn’t she. Get that cushy board job at AEM, show up to a few meetings a year and probably pull down a couple hundred thousand. Be on the National Council of the Conservative Party, show up to a few meetings a year, probably grab another couple hundred thousand. All while “representing” Nunavut, yet how long has it been since she’s actually lived in Nunavut? Doesn’t she live somewhere around West Vancouver? Maybe neighbours with Senator Patterson.

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    • Posted by oh ima on

      if you were in her position, you would do that same too.

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  8. Posted by Pain In The Groen on

    The only conservative party in Canada is the Liberal Party. The CPC has chosen to travel to the fringes of the far right and populate itself with fascists, bigots, Qanon types and the like. No one in their right mind would ever vote for these feckless cucks. The time for coddling right wingers is over.

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  9. Posted by oh ima on

    They couldn’t find an Inuk family to post support for Peppy La Pew?

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  10. Posted by Mindless Hysteria on

    Interesting or informed comments are as rare as hens teeth in this comments section.

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  11. Posted by Beleaver on

    Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party aka CCRAP, sadly no longer Progressive Conservative Party. Did you read Stephen Harper made a deal with the Catholic Church so the Church won’t have to pay millions to Residential School survivals? Than again, Trudeau Liberals. What other choice is there?

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  12. Posted by Snapshot on

    Ladies and gentlemen, meet your next Prime Minister Pierre Polievre!

    Alianai, it’ll be interesting couple of years.

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    • Posted by John K on

      Would make a ton of sense for a B-List country like Canada.

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  13. Posted by C stephen on

    More choice is a good thing, think Green. Parties trend is to take care of themselves before the constituents/the people. The worst possible thing we could have is a duplicate of the US system where 2 parties work together to suppress others, while their lobbyists are favoured strongly over the good of the people.

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  14. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Pierre Poutine appeals to the lowest bases common denominator of the alt right. He would be the most divisive and corrosive prime minidter

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    • Posted by MARS on

      Wake up and smell something other than the Kool-aid you’ve been drinking. This country has never been so divided and it isn’t because of Pierre Poilievre.

      We should be supporting all Canadians but our current government has shown a very visible reluctance to do just that. Our differences have always been our strength until the current administration weaponized it.

      Pierre Poutine, haha, that’s a knee slapper. You’re so clever. /s

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      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        This country is divided because alt right fascists wannabe MAGAs have found a voice through the support of enablers like Msr Poutine. This used to a country where differences were respectfully debated. It’s now a place where blockades and hurling rocks and abuse are considered acceptable mainstream behavior. Thankfully a majority of Canadians don’t subscribe to Msr. Poutine’s brand of divisive politics.

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        • Posted by We Are Divided Because on

          The country is divided because of the encouragement of tribal, inward, belly button gazing thinking that encourages people to put their ethnic/linguistic/gender category first. We are becoming more and more fractured everyday due to such narrow and exclusive thinking.

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  15. Posted by Journey to the Right on

    I voted for Trudeau when they first came to power. In the years since I have found an old professors quote apply to me: “All you young people, don’t you know life is a journey to the right?”
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    As someone living in the north I can see the benefits that a mountain of liberal money has given. You will never ever ever see that under a conservative regime.
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    As someone who wants to see some balance, I have taken time for the first time in my life to join a party just to vote for Polli as leader as he clearly is the only candidate capable of ousting Trudeau. I believe the amusing rhetoric will die day the moment he is elected.
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    I’ll just say whoever is focusing on some quotes saying indigenous people need to have some work values instilled in them you clearly never have worked outside Nunavut, where showing up to work 3-4 days a week so the norm and no one is disciplined. It is also funny the same critics forget Trudeaus black face moments.

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  16. Posted by MassFormation on

    Reading the comments in this news post, it’s frustrating and sad to see the comment writers minds are in manipulation control parroting the mockingbird media. As Yuri Bezmenov, in summary said, by the time they realize what’s going on, it’ll be too late.

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  17. Posted by Tinman on

    Not a huge fan of Mr. Pollievre, but some of his message does appeal to me. For example, when he talks about the lack of incentive to work harder when any gains that you make will be taken back in taxes. I mean, what’s the point of working hard? Or when he talks of killing that God-awful carbon tax that is a contributing factor to inflation; please do! And he’s not wrong when he says that money printing also drives up inflation, its basic supply and demand. Let’s face it, our country has been managed badly. Platitudes and virtue will get us nowhere. Real vision and action will. Is Pierre that guy? Probably not. However, I am 100% confident that our NDP-Lib government is not.

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    • Posted by The Lost Plot on

      Thinking about the recent announcement of a $100 million action to plan to promote 2SLGBT rights as a perfect example of virtue signalling taking precedence over good fiscal management. There’s no real economic or social justification here. There are of course the legacy aspirations of our PM, who in my opinion is trying to compete with the ghost of his father, a man who like him or not achieved serious, tangible things. Justin, by contrast, will throw money at every group and cause he believes will prevail and will remember him fondly in the process.

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