Pierre Poilievre to announce Conservative leadership bid, Baird to chair campaign

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Pierre Poilievre to announce Conservative leadership bid, Baird to chair campaign


OTTAWA–Pierre Poilievre is expected to formally announce his bid to lead the Conservative Party later this month and already has the backing of two party heavyweights.

The Star has learned that John Baird, who held senior cabinet roles in Stephen Harper’s government and at Queen’s Park, will chair Poilievre’s campaign.

Jenni Byrne, a veteran organizer who served at the Conservative’s 2015 campaign manager, will have also have a senior role in Poilievre’s campaign.

Neither Poilievre nor Baird responded to a request for comment Monday. But Byrne touted Poilievre’s backstory — born in Alberta, fluently bilingual, representing an Ontario riding — when asked about her involvement with his campaign.

“He has fought the fight for the conservative cause for years,” Byrne said in a statement.

Poilievre has been rumoured to be organizing for months, but recently dodged questions about his ambitions for the party’s leadership.

Speaking to reporters in December, he delivered a campaign-style statement about who outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s replacement needs to be.

“We need someone who will stand up, fight back and win — stand up for our principles, fight back against the corrupt Liberal cabal, and win the next election,” Poilievre said outside the House of Commons on Dec. 16.

More to come.

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