By Jeff Morris
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Pierre Poilievre after the federal election. “In the last year I’ve knocked on more than 150,000 doors – some houses as many as five times. It’s given me a new appreciation for the people I represent and the enormous responsibility they have invested in me.”
The Carleton Conservative MP won the local seat for the sixth consecutive time last Monday, defeating a strong challenge from Liberal candidate Chris Rodgers. As was the case in 2015, Poilievre is the only Conservative to be elected as the Liberals retained the rest of Ottawa’s seats.
“I’m deeply humbled by the confidence that my constituents have placed in me for a sixth time,” Poilievre said. “I consider myself their humble servant.”
It was close to midnight on election night when Poilievre addressed his supporters and campaign team at the Manotick Legion. He thanked the hundreds of volunteers who spent “tens of thousands of hours” door-knocking and campaigning. He also thanked his family for their support during the campaign.
“Let us all join together to say a big thank you to the people of Carleton,” he said to cheers. “There is nothing one can receive more precious than the vote of a fellow citizen. I am deeply grateful and completely humbled by each and every single vote I received from the great people I represent here in the riding of Carleton. I have always believed that government is servant, and people are the masters. I am here to serve you with all my heart.”
Poilievre also thanked his opponents in the election.
“They poured their hearts and souls into this enterprise,” Poilievre said. “What I can say from having met all of them is that they truly believed in what they were doing and that they put their names forward for all the right reasons.”
Poilievre commented that despite the Liberal Party winning a minority government for the next term, the Conservative Party received more votes than any other party in Canada.
“The people of Canada have given us a mandate to be a strong official opposition in a minority parliament,” Poilievre said. “We will collaborate with other parties when necessary and hold the government accountable where possible, work every day to advance the promises that we made throughout this campaign, and we will always remember that we are here for the people of Canada and not the powerful.”
Poilievre played an important role as Official Opposition Critic for the Treasury Board. He was also a member of the Public Accounts Committee, which investigates Auditor General’s reports on government spending and the management of taxpayers’ money. Before the election, he referred to himself as a lone agitator.
“There’s a role for holding the government accountable,” he said. “It’s very important to have voices who represent the people.”
One of the first things Poilievre wants to focus on when Parliament resumes is something he said he heard constantly during the campaign. He wants to make life more affordable for families.
“High Liberal taxes have driven up the cost of living,” Poilievre said. “Prices are rising faster than paycheques. People are getting by but they are not getting ahead. They want us to fight for their quality of life and their ability to actually get ahead again. That’s the Canadian dream – working hard to get ahead. Right now they are working hard, but they’re not getting ahead. That’s what I want to change, and that’s what I want to champion.”
Poilievre said he took no votes for granted, and campaigned as if he was an underdog.
“When people asked me how I was doing during the campaign, I always told them I was one vote behind, and if I have your vote, it’s a tie.”