Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Pierre Poilievre’s Fundraisers Draw Scrutiny Amid Attendance by Prominent Lobbyists

Despite publicly criticizing the influence of lobbyists in politics, Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre has been found to host fundraisers attended by several prominent lobbyists. . Since becoming the leader in 2022, Poilievre has headlined approximately 50 fundraisers, some in Canada’s wealthiest neighborhoods and exclusive clubs, attracting lobbyists and business executives who paid up to $1,725 each to attend.

These events, although legal and common in Canadian politics, have raised questions about Poilievre’s stance on lobbyists, especially following his recent criticisms of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for similar practices. Last week, Poilievre published an opinion piece in the National Post calling corporate lobbyists “useless and overpaid” and accused them of securing “undue handouts, privileges, and protections” from Trudeau’s administration. In his piece, Poilievre vowed that businesses would “get nothing from me unless they convince the people first.”

The fundraisers Poilievre attended included guests such as a billionaire oil tycoon, an airline executive, and a vice president at AtkinsRéalis, formerly known as SNC-Lavalin. CBC News reviewed the Conservatives’ fundraising reports filed with Elections Canada, cross-referencing attendee names with the federal lobbyist registry, and found that over 25 active federal lobbyists have attended these events since 2022.

Despite Poilievre’s public disapproval of lobbyists, he told the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade in March that his “daily obsession” as Prime Minister would be “what is good for the working-class people of this country,” distancing himself from what he perceives as the undue influence of corporate lobbyists.

The NDP ethics critic Matthew Green criticized Poilievre for what he sees as hypocrisy. “This is a guy who is not who he says he is,”

In response to queries about these fundraisers, Sarah Fischer, a spokesperson for the Conservative Party, defended Poilievre, stating that he makes himself “available across the country at rallies, visiting small businesses, lumber yards, and factory floors.” Fischer emphasized that there is “no need to attend a fundraiser to get access to Pierre Poilievre.”

The fundraising practices of Canadian political parties have been a contentious issue. Following a 2016 scandal involving Prime Minister Trudeau, the Liberal Party changed its policy to limit fundraisers to publicly available spaces and to allow journalist access. The government also amended the law in 2018 to enhance transparency in political fundraising.

As Poilievre continues to raise substantial funds for the Conservative Party, which out-fundraised other parties in the most recent quarter, the debate over the role of money and influence in Canadian politics remains a hot topic. Critics argue that these fundraisers offer privileged access to politicians for those who can afford to pay, potentially at the expense of ordinary Canadians.

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