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Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre delivering a speech at the CPC 2023 convention in Quebec CityGlobal News/YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) — Andrew Lawton returns on this week’s episode of The Van Maren Show to discuss his recent biography of Canadian Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre.

Contrasting his previous book on the Freedom Convoy with his latest on Poilievre and why he thinks it is getting more attention, Lawton says the Convoy and matters dealing with it were “already in the past” despite “live issues,” whereas the biography on Poilievre looks at past events but involves a more “forward-looking component.” Lawton claims Poilievre will in some way contest the next Canadian election and likely become the next prime minister if the polls remain steady. While he admits that he may be “overly optimistic,” Lawton says there was an idea that established itself in the Canadian media that they don’t know much about Poilievre.

Poilievre’s political trajectory was as Lawton expected it to be. He notes, however, Poilievre’s criticism of Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, a prominent figure in Albertan conservatism whom Poilievre did not think conservative enough. Speaking to how Poilievre himself became a conservative, Lawton says that he never experienced an “awakening” to conservatism but was immersed in the conservative atmosphere of the Alberta of his youth. At the time, Lawton recounts, Poilievre was reading economist Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand while also attending political events with his mother after being bored from not being able to play sports over an injury.

“I think the why is a tough one,” Lawton says of Poilievre’s conservatism. “I think it’s just that it was around him, but he still made the choice to do something with that and to want to engage because there was a philosophical underpinning to it, not just because, ‘Oh, wow, I can meet girls here’ or something like that, or, ‘Oh, this is something fun to do.’”

Speaking to Poilievre’s brand of conservative, Lawton says that Poilievre has “shades” of the social conservative, the Red and Blue Tories, and the libertarian in his conservatism, describing him as a “movement conservative,” or a conservative that moves with the Conservative Party and the conservative movement. “He’s really been in the fight at the right moments every step of the way,” says Lawton, referring to Poilievre’s reactions to the present government’s spending early in Justin Trudeau’s tenure as Prime Minister, or the government’s reaction to COVID.

Speaking to Poilievre’s social conservative views and his stances on same-sex “marriage” and abortion, Lawton tells Jonathon that he spent a good deal of time researching Poilievre’s positions while writing the book, only to admit that he is unsure what Poilievre believes about them. For Conservatives from 20 years ago, Lawton says one can perceive a “bandwagoning,” where the standard position of Conservatives at the time was opposition. Abortion, meanwhile, does not appear to be an issue for him, even though he attended pro-life events early in life and was associated with pro-lifers early in his career, at least peripherally.

Looking to Poilievre’s stance on gender ideology, that he is an apparent libertarian who is acting like a social conservative in terms of “gender transitions” for children, Lawton admitted that it is somewhat interesting how libertarians can go further than Catholics on the issue because of a lack of “baggage of religious views,” as Jonathon says. Lawton offers a counterpoint, noting that Trudeau was given a “pass” for a time upon claiming that he was a devout Catholic though eventually said his position on social issues changed, much like Barack Obama claimed that he was personally pro-life but that his position changed.

At the same time, however, Lawton says that in general the priorities of social conservatives have changed, looking to how many do not want to bring up same-sex “marriage” as a political issue but will discuss the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program. He notes the same regarding religious freedom over abortion. This, Lawton believes, is why Poilievre experienced success.

“This is the first leadership in the last three … leaderships … where social conservatives were irrelevant to the result,” he asserts. Looking at the election results that won Poilievre the premiership of the Conservative Party, Lawton observes that Poilievre won the votes of social conservatives on a “freedom message” more than Leslyn Lewis on pro-life issues. To Lawton, this shows that while some social conservatives are single-issue voters, many are not.

Towards the close of the show, Lawton considers how much social conservatives can trust Poilievre upon limiting themselves to popular issues, recalling how Poilievre once lauded former Prime Minister Stephen Harper for essentially keeping social conservatives quiet when they form part of a coalition. While it is possible Poilievre’s views have changed in the almost two decades since he said that, Lawton also recognizes that when he spoke to Poilievre in 2022 about how he keeps the Conservative Party united, the politician told him that what social conservatives truly seek is freedom, specifically religious freedom.

Whether true or not, Lawton suspects that two things will happen. Publicly, he predicts, backbenchers will be allowed to vote freely in Parliament, but that mechanisms will be put in place so certain things never come up for a vote. Lawton admits he is not sure if Poilievre would succeed in this. The other thing Lawton considers is how Poilievre would leverage his majority – something Harper never did. With only four years in office, however, Poilievre knows that he would have to take immediate action, with Lawton adding that members of the Conservative caucus would likewise be emboldened.

To purchase Andrew Lawton’s Pierre Poilievre: A Political Life, click here.

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