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Charest and Poilievre Debate Gets Bloody

The two front-runners in the race for the Conservative Party exchanged bloody blows during the recent debate.

Poilievre accused Charest of being too critical of the anti-vaccine mandate protest convoy that occupied much of downtown Ottawa earlier this year, saying he was proud to stand with "law-abiding" and "peaceful" truckers who were protesting COVID-19 restrictions.

"Charest learned about the trucker convoy on the CBC like other Liberals and he misrepresented them. He believes I should be censored, cancelled from this leadership," Poilievre said, referring to Charest's past remarks condemning the MP's warm embrace of the protesters as disqualifying.

"I don't share his Liberal viewpoint. The truckers have more integrity in their pinky finger than you had in your entire scandal-plagued cabinet," Poilievre said to Charest.

Charest responded by accusing Poilievre's politics of tearing the party apart.

"I've been a Conservative all my life," Charest said. He said standing against the lawlessness that was on display in convoy protests in Ottawa, Windsor, Ont., and Coutts, Alta., doesn't make him any less of a Conservative.

"I fought and won against the separatists. It's not this guy who's going to intimidate me," Charest said of Poilievre.

Poilievre also brought up Charest's past lobbying work with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant that has been singled out by Western intelligence agencies as an espionage threat.

"If we're going to unite this party, we have to come clean. Mr. Charest needs to come clean about how much money he got from Huawei," Poilievre said.

Poilievre repeatedly asked Charest "How much?" and "Just the number," before the moderators, lawyer Jamil Jivani and journalist Candice Malcolm, had to intervene to stop the cross-talk.

"This is not a student council," Charest said to Poilievre. "Is this the kind of country you want? Where people aren't allowed to talk?" Charest never did say the amount.

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