In the end, the first shot in the Conservative leadership contest wasn’t fired by Rona Ambrose, Peter MacKay, Jean Charest, or any of the other media darlings. It was fired by wee Pierre Poilievre.
Yes, the man they call “Skippy” on Parliament Hill has scored first, in the form of a well-informed exclusive in the Toronto Star announcing that John Baird and Jenni Byrne will have senior roles in the soon-to-be-announced Poilievre-for-leader campaign. It’s a strong hit for Poilievre, who is better known for parrying blows in the House of Commons as Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary. Baird and Byrne are big business in the Conservative Party and their endorsement is meant to send a message to those still sizing up their prospects—the big guns are off the organizing menu.