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Poilievre withdraws from Conservative Party of Canada federal leadership race

By Jeff Morris

Manotick Messenger

Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre, with his wife Anaida, addresses his supporters after winning the Carleton seat in last fall’s federal election.
Manotick Messenger photo by Jeff Morris

Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre will not be the next Prime Minister of Canada.

Poilievre announced Thursday that he will be withdrawing from the Conservative Party of Canada’s federal leadership race. He will remain in place as the Carleton Member of Parliament.

“Over the last several weeks, I have been building a team and support for a possible run for the conservative leadership. In criss-crossing the country, I have been overwhelmed with the favourable response,” Poilievre stated on Twitter and Facebook. “I knew it would be hard on my family life to do this. But I did not realize how hard. It is harder still because I had just spent the earlier 18 months campaigning furiously to win back my seat in the recent federal election, I mostly missed the first year of our baby’s life.

“As such, my heart is not fully engaged in this leadership race. Without being all in, I cannot be in at all. So I have decided not to seek the leadership of the party at this time.”

It was first reported that Poilievre would seek the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership Jan. 7. Speculation of Poilievre running for the leadership began immediately following the resignation of Andrew Scheer as the Tory leader.

Poilievre had a couple of political heavyweights in his corner. John Baird, the former Nepean-Carleton MPP and federal Cabinet Minister, was the Chair of his campaign. Jenni Byrne, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, was an advisor to his campaign. Byrne commented on CTV Power Play Thursday that she was disappointed in his decision, but also proud of what they accomplished in a few weeks during their campaign.

“He was organizing, there was no secret there” she told CTV Power Play. “He’d built a team of people like myself who were behind him. He’s a veteran MP, He’s fought in the trenches. But the toll that it was taking on his family was something he want to proceed with.”

Poilievre’s wife, Anaida, also commented on her husband’s withdrawal from the race on Twitter.

“First of all, I would like to thank the overwhelming amount of people that show support for my husband, within caucus, outside of caucus, and in all provinces of our beautiful country,” she stated. “This decision wasn’t taken lightly. But it was necessary.

“Time cannot be bought back, and our baby girl is growing way too fast. While we felt ready to tackle this challenge together as a family, logistically it became a challenge bigger than expected. We wish to be together more, and I hope people understand that.”

With Poilievre’s announcement, and with the announcement made by Rona Ambrose that she is not running for the leadership, former Cabinet Minister Peter MacKay is considered by many to be the front runner for the Tory leadership.