The leaders of the Freedom Convoy movement held a press conference Sunday, where they suggested CPC leader Erin O'Toole should step down and allow either Pierre Poilievre or Leslyn Lewis to step in as leader of the party.
When asked who they would like to see lead the Conservative Party, they collectively said that either MP Pierre Poilievre or MP Leslyn Lewis would be suitable for leadership.
"If they were smart, they would pull Erin now. Right now. Get him out of there," said Benjamin Dichter, spokesman of the convoy. The group said they would then favour installing an interim leader.
"We all think that Pierre resonates with the vast majority of Canadians in his opposition to Justin Trudeau," Dichter continued.
The convoy group also clarified that the movement is non-partisan and that they do not endorse Poilievre or Lewis, but feel they would be better suited to lead than O'Toole.
Most Conservative Party MPs have warmly welcomed the convoy, such as the former leader Andrew Scheer. "Thank you truckers! Trudeau is attacking personal liberty and threatening everyone's ability to get groceries because of his overreach on vaccine mandates," Scheer said. "He is the biggest threat to freedom in Canada."
Poilievre has been notably vocal on his support of the truckers and even defended them against accusations of extremism.
"I think is interesting is that when there's a left-wing protest on Parliament Hill, we don't see the liberal media going through every single name of the people who attends to try and find one person that they can disparage the whole group with," Poilievre told the media Thursday.
"CBC, for example, has been accused by its own employees of systemic racism. And yet, we don't see the media here generalize that everyone who works at the CBC is a racist. Whenever you have five or 10,000, people who are part of any group, you're bound to have a number who have or say unacceptable things," Poilievre continued.
"They should be individually responsible for the things they say and do. But that doesn't mean we disparage the thousands of hard-working, law-abiding, and peaceful truckers, who quite frankly, have kept all of you alive the last two years by filling your grocery shelves with the food that you eat and filling your homes with the products that you rely upon" Poilievre told reporters.
"So I think that it is possible to hold individually responsible anyone who says or does anything unacceptable while showing support for the hard-working, law-abiding, peace-loving truckers who are fighting for their freedom and their livelihoods, and on whom we have depended for our very existence over the last two years."
In contrast to his caucus, when Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was asked whether he supports the convoy, he dodged the question four times. Following this incident, O’Toole published an op-ed in the Toronto Sun, titled "It's time for solutions, and it's time for Canadians to come together." This was not particularly well received.
"Truckers are our neighbours, our family, and most importantly, they are our fellow Canadians," O'Toole says in the op-ed and offers a vague stance on the vaccine mandate. Now a new federal government policy threatens the jobs and livelihoods of some of the same truckers who we were thanking a year ago.
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