At age 38, Pierre Poilievre is undefeated in five elections and has served for 13 years as the Member of Parliament for Carleton (formerly Nepean-Carleton). As the Conservative Shadow Minister of Finance, he is responsible for holding the Trudeau government’s insatiable spending appetite to account. He is also a member of the finance committee, which provides input for the annual federal budget.
Prior to the last election, Poilievre served as Minister of Employment and Social Development—the largest department in the federal government—where he oversaw the successful rollout of the increased Universal Child Care Benefit. The department he led is also responsible for Old Age Security, housing, job training, Employment Insurance and poverty reduction.
In 2013, Poilievre became Minister of Democratic Reform responsible for drafting the Fair Elections Act and stickhandling it through Parliament. It cracked-down on the undue influence of money in politics, made it easier for people to vote, and required they show identification before doing so.
That law built on his work as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board President, wherein he helped then-Minister John Baird pass the Federal Accountability Act through Parliament. Later, he served as the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary (2008-2011), during which he co-authored the Conservative 2011 election platform, which helped the party win a majority government and led to spending reductions, tax cuts, and a balanced budget.
Poilievre has become known for championing causes brought to him by constituents:
In the fall of 2017, two Carleton residents – Kimberley Hanson and Madison Ferguson – brought to Poilievre’s attention that the Liberal government had changed its eligibility criteria for diabetics claiming the disability tax credit. The DTC allows a disabled person to claim a tax credit worth up to $1500 per year. Poilievre took their case public and began asking questions in Question Period and at parliamentary committees. A few days later, advocates representing other Canadians with mental conditions – such as autism, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia – also came forward to say their constituents were also seeing increased rejections, and wondered if the eligibility criteria for their illnesses had changed. After months of intense criticism, the Liberal government was forced to reverse their unfair tax on disabled people.
In 2016, he worked with the Liberal government to help save the life a local small businessman. Colin Perera was in the late-stages of kidney failure when his nephew in Sri Lanka offered to come to Canada to provide an organ transplant. Immigration Canada denied his visitor visa. After Poilievre learned of the problem, he worked with the Immigration Minister, John McCallum, to secure a rare ministerial permit so the nephew could enter Canada for the operation. (Colin had his surgery in the spring of 2016.)
Also in 2016, Poilievre championed the request for an updated childcare policy from Kellie Brennan, a single mother of eight kids and a Canadian Armed Forces Captain. When Captain Brennan was deployed away from home overnight, the military would reimburse her a maximum of up to $75 per day for childcare. That simply wasn’t enough for eight kids – meaning Kellie had to choose between her kids and her career. Her situation got the attention of National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who said he would look into the issue.
Similarly, a Canadian Armed Forces Major from Osgoode informed Poilievre that the government prevented him from spending time with his new baby, when it denied his parental leave under Employment Insurance. Major Jim Duquette’s benefits had expired while he was on military deployment in the Middle East. According to the rules, prisoners could defer their benefits while in jail, but soldiers could not defer benefits during a mission. Poilievre convinced the government to introduce the Fairness for Military Families Act, which allows soldiers to defer their parental leave until after they return from military missions, giving them precious time off with their small children.
In 2005, an Osgoode farming family brought the idea of a Children’s Fitness Tax Credit to Poilievre, who shared it with then-Opposition Leader, Stephen Harper. He campaigned on and implemented the tax credit in 2006. It allowed families to claim up to $1000 per child in sports registration costs. (The Trudeau government has since cancelled it.)
Poilievre lives in Greely, Ontario, a village in south Ottawa.