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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, wife Anaida and son Cruz arrive at a Conservative caucus meeting in Ottawa on Sept. 12.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

New federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre plans to move into Stornoway, the residence provided for the head of the Official Opposition.

“Of course he will be moving into Stornoway,” Anthony Koch, Mr. Poilievre’s spokesperson, said in a text message in response to a Globe and Mail query.

Mr. Koch said the timing of the move into the mansion in Ottawa’s affluent Rockcliffe neighbourhood is uncertain at this time. Mr. Poilievre has been an Ottawa-area MP since 2004, and has lived with his family in the capital region.

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Mr. Koch did not respond to requests for comment on the Conservative Leader’s views on the planned move.

Whether to commit to Stornoway is an issue that has bedevilled previous opposition leaders.

In 1997, Reform Party leader Preston Manning moved in after previously saying Stornoway should be turned into a bingo hall and its proceeds used to pay down the national debt.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, who has previously visited Stornoway, said Mr. Poilievre’s plans to move into the residence suggested that his comments on affordability challenges facing Canadians may have been politically expedient, but not heartfelt.

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“If you want to live a good life, you don’t get any better than Stornoway – an in-house cook to make your meals, an endless booze budget, the parties there are very swanky,” said Mr. Angus.

“If Pierre Poilievre was really serious about shaking up Ottawa, he could send a clear message by staying out of Stornoway,” he said. “This is about living the high life and getting the taxpayer to pay for it.”

Mr. Angus said Mr. Poilievre calls anyone who disagrees with him elitist or a gatekeeper. “This is as elite as it gets. I have been to a couple of functions at Stornoway and it’s pretty fancy.”

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Reform Party leader Preston Manning takes a walk with his wife, Sandra, at Stornoway on June 10, 1999.Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Stornoway was built in 1913 and became the official residence for the leader of Canada’s Official Opposition in 1950. Its upkeep is publicly funded.

The National Capital Commission – the federal Crown corporation whose responsibilities include managing official residences – spent about $170,000 on repairs and renovations at Stornoway before Erin O’Toole, the former leader of the Conservatives, moved in with his family in September, 2020.

There was a cost of about $20,000 to prepare for interim leader Candice Bergen’s move into the residence, though she was only going to be leader for a number of months.

The residence, according to the National Capital Commission website, is on 0.42 hectares of land, and covers 9,500 square feet. The NCC website says Stornoway is in “fair condition,” but requires $1.25-million of work over the next 10 years to address deferred maintenance.

Meanwhile, Quebec MP Alain Rayes, who announced this week that he was leaving the Conservative caucus over the confrontational style of politics associated with Mr. Poilievre, said constituents in his Richmond-Arthabaska riding are receiving texts calling for his resignation.

Mr. Rayes, who supported Jean Charest in the leadership race, provided a copy of the text, which says he has decided not to fight the inflation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Mr. Poilievre’s united team, and urges recipients to call his office and seek his resignation.

Mr. Koch did not respond to requests for comment on the text.

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