Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Jean Charest has cast doubts on rival Pierre Poilievre’s high membership sales, calling the numbers “Pierreinflation.”

The former Quebec Liberal premier made the comments on CTV’s Question Period, after he was asked about his own membership sales numbers.

“At the rate it’s going, we call it ‘Pierreinflation’ in terms of recruiting members,” said Charest. “I think he’s recruited members in the state of Maine and New Hampshire if you’re to follow his logic… He keeps inflating the numbers, no one believes the numbers.” 

Poilievre campaign advisor Jenni Byrne had previously announced that their campaign had sold 311,958 memberships.

According to Charest, the number of memberships does not matter because “you can have 10,000 members in a riding, it’s worth 100 points… If you have 100 members in another riding, it’s worth 100 points. It’s 100 points per riding.”

“We’ve based our campaign on having a broad-base of support across the country in all ridings because that’s the way the race was designed so that whoever would win would have the broadest base of support across the country.”

Charest says he has sold “tens of thousands” of memberships in key areas like Atlantic Canada, Vancouver, Calgary, rural New Brunswick, urban Ontario as well as Quebec, giving him “the points needed to win.”

The Charest campaign has however not revealed the number of memberships that they have sold. Patrick Brown’s campaign announced they have sold over 150,000 memberships. 

“The sales discussion is nothing more than a PR game. We won’t be playing it,” said Charest’s director of communication Michelle Coates Mather when asked by True North if they would share the number of memberships they sold.

Mather added that “total membership sales do not decide the winner of the race.”

As for the basis of Charest’s claim that Poilievre’s numbers are false, Mather said that “the fact is no campaign knows for sure how many memberships they sold and won’t until the party completes the processing which won’t be done until July.”

According to the Conservative Party’s executive director Wayne Benson, the party now has “well over” 600,000 members, which is far greater than the previous record of 269,469 members the party had in its 2020 leadership race.

The party also said that the high number of membership sales has resulted in them being “a few weeks behind in terms of processing”, however party President Robert Batherson said they are still planning to have their new leader announced on Sept. 10.

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