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Boris Johnson 'full of excitement' about Poilievre's Tories, but urges 'program' for climate change

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the Conservative Party of Canada during a visit to Ottawa.

He was interviewed alongside former Australian leader Tony Abbott by John O’Sullivan, the latter of whom helped found the National Post.

Johnson, who led the UK’s Conservative Party until his MPs removed him from power in 2022, said it was “fantastic” to be in Canada.

“There’s this incredible sense that the Conservative Party [of Canada] is not only resurgent but poised for victory.”

He added, in an apparent dig at his successor Rishi Sunak: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this dynamism of this Canadian conservatism could somehow communicate itself to the UK?”

Johnson made the remarks at the Canada Strong and Free Networking Conference on Wednesday.

He, Abbott and O’Sullivan agreed on most topics – including Western support for Ukraine and Israel – but Johnson’s passion for the net zero movement put him at odds with his interlocutors.

He said he was once a “massive climate change skeptic” who used to “write terrible things” about environmentalism.

But, he added, once he gained power he “got the scientists in” to discuss the climate and found himself persuaded by their arguments.

<who> Photo credit: NowMedia

“It’s possible it’s a load of nonsense,” he said. “But it’s also possible … what these scientists were telling me, they were saying – you know, the graphs were absolutely… certain.”

He then said he chose to believe the scientists after choosing to “take a bet of Pascal’s wager.”

“If I’m wrong, I haven’t really lost anything,” he added. “If I’m right, then … it will have saved humanity … a great deal of misery.”

He said that, “as conservatives,” it’s crucial not to tell young people “that we’re junking the whole agenda.”

“Elections are won by the party that really owns the future,” he said. “I’m full of excitement about what’s happening here in Canada but I think that people want to see that there’s a plan and a program to deal with this problem in a proper conservative way.”

The former journalist did inject some of his trademark irreverence into the debate, however, suggesting that Canada “could definitely do with some global warming” given that “it’s barely spring here.”

But he urged conservatives to back technology, including nuclear power, as a way to reduce carbon emissions.

Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre, who has made the carbon tax central to his political platform, has also said he wants to use technology – including hydro dams, nuclear power stations and tidal energy systems – to bring down emissions.

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