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Poilievre Commends Quebec City as Party Convention Commences, Sets Sights on Bloc Québécois

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre launched his party’s convention in Quebec City by praising its beauty and role in the founding of Canada, as he tries to gain ground in the province.

“City of 400 years. Historic city. One of the most beautiful cities in the world,” Mr. Poilievre said in French while addressing his caucus on Sept. 7.

“It’s really appropriate that the founding city of our country is hosting the convention of the founding party of Canada.”

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Mr. Poilievre was alluding to the Quebec Conference of 1864, which was part of the process leading to the creation of the Canadian Confederation of 1867.

The Tory leader accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of wanting to “erase” Quebec City by removing its depiction in the new Canadian passport. In the new passport design, all the historic symbols were removed and replaced with generic images of nature.

The Conservatives have also directed their criticism at the Bloc Québécois ahead of and during the convention. Mr. Poilievre said while Mr. Trudeau wants to “erase” the city, Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet has “forgotten” it.

“What is Mr. Blanchet up to? He’s fighting for the independence of Catalonia,” he said, referring to the Bloc leader’s visit to Spain.

“Go talk to a thousand people in downtown Quebec and ask them what their priorities are,” Mr. Poilievre said. “How many will tell you their principal priority is Catalonia’s sovereignty?” The Tory Leader argued that Quebecers are currently more preoccupied with cost-of-living issues.

Mr. Blanchet reacted on social media by saying that this “obsession with exaggerating or frankly insulting” is only playing well with Mr. Poilievre’s base.

“A bit suburban Ottawa close-minded, this criticism of an international vision,” he said.

Bloc House Leader Alain Therrien said the attacks could be due to the Bloc doing well in the polls and also suggested Mr. Poilievre’s style doesn’t resonate with Quebecers.

“Quebecers expect that we have a lofty [attitude]. [Tories] sometimes have rough words for us. I don’t really see a reason to get involved,” said Mr. Therrien while speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Sept. 7.

According to an Aug. 21 poll by Pallas Data, the Bloc is ahead in the province with 29 percent of the popular vote, but the Conservatives are gaining ground, just four points behind. The Liberals are close behind the Bloc with 28 percent of Quebecers’ support.

Neil Sharma contributed to this report.

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