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Pierre Poilievre heavy favourite to be CPC leader

There are five candidates still in the race and members have until Sept. 6 to get their mail-in ballots into the party.
Pierre Poilievre 3
Conservative leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

For months experts and observers have said the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership role is Pierre Poilievre’s to lose.

There are five candidates still in the race and members have until Sept. 6 to get their mail-in ballots into the party.

As of earlier this week, just over half of the nearly 700,000 ballots had been returned. The new CPC leader will be announced at a convention on Sept. 10.

In the final days before the decision is made, experts like Nelson Wiseman, a University of Toronto political science professor, still expect it to be a predictable outcome a week from Saturday.

“The dye has been cast. Pierre Poilievre is going to be the leader of the Conservative Party,” said Wiseman.

“Essentially we’re going to have a coronation.”

Despite confidence Poilievre will win, nothing is official until all the votes are counted. Meanwhile, former Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s team says they still see an avenue to victory.

Wiseman says regardless of who takes over, this has been a divisive race and unity will be a big job for the new leader.

He doesn’t expect the party will split as some are fearing, but he notes whoever wins will take over a CPC that’s tied or ahead of the Trudeau Liberals.

“We have a party that doesn’t even officially have a leader and it’s very competitive,” explained Wiseman.

A Leger poll in August, conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies, suggests 44 per cent of Conservative voters believe Poilievre would make the best party leader. Charest, his chief rival, is backed by 17 per cent.

The poll was conducted online between Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 among 1,500 adult Canadians drawn from Leger’s representative panel. It cannot be given a margin of error because online polls aren’t considered to be a statistically representative sample.

Twenty-two per cent of Conservatives said they didn’t know which of the five candidates would make the best leader, while eight per cent said none of them would.

With files from the Canadian Press. 

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