Poilievre recently spoke to students in Vancouver at an event co-hosted with Conservatives at the University of British Columbia. Later that Thursday, he addressed a rally crowd that his campaign said swelled to more than 1,000.
Not only is the Conservative faithful flocking, but also those who don’t typically frequent political events, including the under-40 crowd.
“The Poilievre movement has taken off all across the country, and it’s only the beginning,” tweeted Sen. Leo Housakos, a co-chair on his campaign.
Many said that was the largest crowd they have seen in five years, when reality TV star Kevin O’Leary ran for the party’s top job in 2017.
“He is certainly a different breed of politician,” one said of Poilievre. “He’s speaking to a lot of the frustrations that young people have in this country.”
Railing against the price of a home is one of his go-to messages. In Vancouver, Poilievre also pledged to uphold free speech at universities, at one point joking that a sudden loud sound was censors coming to get him.
He added special recognition of historical figures like Winston Churchill and John Diefenbaker in his speech.
Longtime Conservative strategist Melanie Paradis, who is remaining neutral in the race, says Poilievre’s crowds are impressive, comparing them to the support seen around Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
However, Paradis said crowd size can be misleading.
“Andrew Scheer won the 2017 leadership in church basements. Nobody took pictures of his rallies,” she said Friday.
“When you don’t see people out and about, that’s not indicative that nothing is going on. Rather, they’re like a duck: They’re smooth and calm on the surface, but they’re kicking their little feet as fast as they can under the water.”