In a first for Canada, Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre is campaigning for Canadians to embrace bitcoin to give people control and autonomy over their own finances.
In front of a large crowd, unprecedented for a leadership campaign, the longtime MP and Conservative finance critic said: “We need to give people the freedom to choose other funds. If the government is going to misuse our money, we should have the right to choose to use other better quality species.
As Canadian elites watch nervously, Canadian politics changes daily, almost beyond recognition.
Some observers have suggested that the Freedom Convoy’s bitcoin fundraiser in February – which raised over C$1 million – may have accelerated the pace of interest in bitcoin.
“Cryptography has become a pressing – and increasingly polarizing – issue for government and central bank policymakers. Political tensions and regulatory issues came to the fore during the Trucking Convoy protests in February, when supporters tried to circumvent government restrictions on donations by using cryptocurrencies. –Mark Rendell and David Parkinson of The Globe and Mail
Pierre Poilievre’s campaign crosses the country to packed houses wherever he goes. Its main messages are:
- I’m running for Prime Minister to give you back control of your life and restore freedom.
- People with big headlines told us we would have deflation – at the same time they printed money to cause inflation. Why should we believe them now?
- Giving people back control of their lives and control of their finances.
- Take control of money away from politicians and bankers and give it back to the people.
- Make Canada the freest country on Earth.
Bitcoin is a major part of Poilievre’s campaign themes of financial security and self-reliance. In his role as Conservative finance critic, Poilievre has repeatedly raised Bitcoin in Parliament, mostly to yawn and glassy-eyed.
He also argued that the combination of skyrocketing government deficits and central bank money printing will be the primary cause of future inflation in the Canadian economy.
“As an MP and finance critic, he has long been a thorn in the side of the Bank of Canada, challenging its execution of monetary policy and railing against its decision during the pandemic to launch easing. quantitative (QE) program, under which he bought more than $300 billion in bonds from his own government. –Rendell and Parkinson
Poilievre said a government led by him would extend the Auditor General’s power to the Bank of Canada and push for a review of its monetary policies.
“Mr. Poilievre has been very critical of the Bank of Canada, accusing it of acting as an ATM for the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic through the bond purchase program central bank policy measures, also known as quantitative easing (QE).He also mocked the institution for its incorrect inflation forecasts over the past two years, and recently called it a “financially illiterate,” added Rendell and Ian Bailey of The Globe and Mail.
Poilievre said he would oppose a CBDC, arguing that it would give the government more power to monitor people’s spending and that public digital currencies would compete with commercial bank deposits.
The Bank of Canada has been working on a digital currency pegged to the value of the Canadian dollar for several years and is awaiting a decision from the federal government on whether to move forward.
Bringing Bitcoiners on board
I spoke with prominent Bitcoiners to get their thoughts on Poilievre’s candidacy.
Samson Mow is working with his new company JAN3 to promote state adoption of bitcoin and is the architect of El Salvador’s Volcanic Bond.
“I watch Pierre Poilievre’s campaign with interest. Poilievre seems to understand the importance of bitcoin and its potential, both as an asset and as a future currency. He also seems to understand the importance of issues such as government monetary policies to fight inflation, such as quantitative easing.
Jonathan Hamel, a Montreal-based bitcoin analyst and investor and keen observer of the political scene, told us that in Quebec, where politics is often different from the rest of Canada, the crowds that come to see Poilievre are just as numerous and enthusiastic.
In an interview, Hamel told us:
“When I was invited to speak before the House of Commons Finance Committee in 2018, as an MP, Pierre Poilievre was the only MP who showed real interest and asked relevant questions.
BTCsessions is a Calgary-based bitcoin advocate and podcaster who provides help and advice to Bitcoiners on his website.
“As for Poilievre, I’m cautiously optimistic,” he says. “I was disappointed in the politics, as were many Bitcoiners,” he said. BitcoinMagazine.
“However, I am encouraged by Pierre’s knowledge of monetary history and the pitfalls of indiscriminate money printing, as well as his continually refined messaging around Bitcoin itself.”
“Poilievre seems knowledgeable about bitcoin, a complicated subject, and is clear about the different types of ‘crypto,'” BTCsessions added.
Hamel sees Poilievre’s campaign as part of a new conservatism sweeping across Canada. When asked if he thinks Poilievre can sell bitcoin adoption to Canadians, he replied, “Poilievre’s support for bitcoin contributes to his appeal as a ‘refreshing’ next-gen conservative voice. “
“Support for ‘sound money’ is a bigger issue – for the first time in history people are realizing there is a link between central bank policies and the dilution of their purchasing power [inflation]. This is no longer a fringe issue of “gold bugs” or libertarianism. Poilievre seems very attached to this.
The victory is not in the bag
Despite Poilievre drawing unprecedented crowds in a leadership campaign, the Conservatives’ rules are complicated.
Unlike a general election, a Conservative Party leadership contest uses instant voting (IRV) – a type of ranked preferential vote counting method also sometimes called alternative or preferential voting.
Each federal riding can score a maximum of 100 points and at least one other candidate has suggested he might get 100 points per riding while Poilievre may have more votes concentrated but not necessarily evenly distributed among the 338 ridings.
To vote, supporters must register with the party by June 3. The vote will take place on September 10, 2022.
What happens next
The phrase “A week is a long time in politics” can hardly express the frustration of Canadians who have to wait until 2025 before they can vote for a new federal government.
The next election is likely to be at least three years away, as the ruling Liberals have struck a deal with another party, the NDP, to keep them in power until at least June 2025.
The Liberal government hopes this will give them time to build more homes and that the current spike in inflation will subside.
According to Hamel, “From what I can tell, there’s a lot of interest around Poilievre’s campaign not just for his Bitcoin stance but for his proposals in general.”
“Poilievre represents the revival of the conservative movement (it’s now ‘cool’ to be conservative). It becomes the “counter-culture” on campuses but also in the alternative media. Basically what progressives were like in the 2000s,” he added.
A comment from the Washington Post stated that in Canada it is often taken for granted that political parties will be unimpressive and unambitious, and that Canadians, when they vote, will do so more out of rote partisan loyalty than out of a belief that they actually affect the course of their country.
He added: “For the Conservatives who fill his rallies, voting for Poilievre is a vote to get out of this cycle, and therefore the most exciting vote they’ve cast in years.”
Greg Foss is a longtime financial expert and bitcoin strategist at Validus Power. Along with other Bitcoiners, Foss is watching the Poilievre campaign with interest:
“As far as I know, Poilievre truly believes in his mission to put Canadians in control of their own finances. It’s unusual to see a politician being so blunt about his beliefs.
Meanwhile, longtime commentator Rex Murphy is amazed at the transformation of Canadian politics in a relatively short period of time, from boring to exciting at a new political direction.
“It’s not the wedding at Cana, but for some it’s close to an equal transformation. It belongs to the category of things, like turning water into wine, that are not meant to happen, things that challenge the common order of nature.