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(LifeSiteNews) – Branden Leslie, who is running in an upcoming federal byelection in Manitoba as the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) candidate, said he is fully “pro-life” and called out his main opponent Maxime Bernier from the People’s Party of Canada (CPC), as “an opportunist who has parachuted in from another province.” 

“I am 100% pro-life,” Leslie told LifeSiteNews. 

Leslie was nominated as the CPC candidate for the riding of Portage-Lisgar. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a byelection for the riding which will be held on June 19. 

Portage-Lisgar has been a conservative stronghold riding for many years and was recently held by former interim leader of the CPC Candace Bergen. 

Leslie was recently voted as the Conservative candidate to run in the riding.

Leslie said that as an MP he will also work towards ending “the Liberal culture of death.” 

“Instead of offering assisted suicide to the homeless, the disabled, and people struggling with mental illness, we will give Canadians the help they need and turn hurt into hope,” he wrote on social media last month. 

“I know what life is like on a farm,” said Leslie, who grew up on one in southern Manitoba. 

“That is why I will always defend our farmers. I will continue to fight back against Liberals telling farmers how much fertilizer they can use,” he noted. 

As for Bergen, she served as interim leader of the CPC from the spring of 2022 after Erin O’Toole stepped down, until the election of current leader Pierre Poilievre last year.  

She stepped down as an MP on February 28, 2023.  

While the interim leader of the CPC, Bergen was more vocal than O’Toole in opposing COVID mandates and did show some support for the trucker Freedom Convoy. 

In the 2021 federal election, the local PPC candidate for Portage-Lisgar, Solomon Wiebe, had the best results of any PPC candidate in the country, getting about 22% of the vote. However, he was up against the popular Bergen. 

Leslie, Bernier criticize each other

Leslie’s main rival is Bernier, who lives in Quebec and is a former MP and cabinet minister from the CPC who left the party to form the PPC in 2018. 

In 2017, Bernier lost by a slim margin to Andrew Scheer who became the leader of the Conservative Party.  

Leslie told LifeSiteNews that Bernier, who has promised to re-open the abortion debate if elected, is someone who will do “anything” to get attention.  

Meanwhile Bernier blasted Leslie as a “fake” conservative, who he said “believes in the Liberals’ climate agenda and has been working with them as a lobbyist to impose it on farmers.” 

Bernier recently announced he is running in the Manitoba by-election in Portage-Lisgar on a campaign focusing on the fight for traditional family values against a society “overtaken by evil,” including “transgender madness,” he has said.  

Two weeks ago, Bernier promised his party would overturn a slew of extreme pro-transgender laws should it ever form a government, after announcing his official policy on what he called an “evil agenda” of “radical gender ideology” targeting kids in the nation.    

Bernier also announced that if elected as an MP in the June by-election, he will introduce a private member’s bill to try and ban late-term abortion, calling the practice “abhorrent.”    

The nation’s top pro-life and pro-family group, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), has given Bernier a C-plus grade, noting he has a mixed voting record on issues related to life and family, despite making a shift towards a more socially conservative stance in recent years.  

Leslie told LifeSiteNews that Bernier would have to “explain his decision to go to the World Economic Forum to meet with billionaires, the corporate elite, and celebrities including Bono, Hamid Karzai, Carl Bildt and Jean Charest.” 

He said all those elites “want to destroy our rural way of life.” 

Current CPC leader Poilievre has also called out Bernier for having gone to Davos in 2008 as well.  

Bernier, while a member of the cabinet under former CPC Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has explained why he went to a World Economic Forum meeting. 

In March, Bernier said, “is Pierre Poilievre seriously trying to imply that I’m a globalist for a trip to Davos I did 15 years ago while serving his corrupt party. Really?” 

“How about you come clean about the globalist policies you are promoting right now?” 

Bernier in March clarified in a video that he was there “as Foreign Affairs Minister.” 

“My only goal, and only job when I was there was to meet other Foreign Affairs Ministers, to have a discussion about Canada and our role in Afghanistan.” 

He added that the “did not” attend debates and left after his meetings, adding that he would never “go there [to WEF meetings in Davos] in the future.”