Poilievre has investments in Bitcoin as he promotes cryptocurrency

The Tory leadership candidate, Pierre Boulevard, has a personal financial interest in cryptocurrencies which he touted during his campaign as a hedge against inflation.

The Ottawa-area MP’s assets include Purpose Bitcoin, a Canadian exchange-traded fund that holds cryptocurrency, according to its May 4 disclosure to the Federal Ethics Commissioner.

Poilievre’s campaign denied that encouraging investment in cryptocurrency puts him in a conflict of interest.

“Mr. Poliver spoke with the Office of the Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Commissioner prior to publicly commenting on the policies related to Bitcoin and Bitcoin,” his spokesman Anthony Koch said in an email.

“The office authorized him to do so without a problem.”

The campaign presented an email from the Office of the Ethics Commissioner from November stating that interest in bitcoin “does not preclude you from commenting on cryptocurrency in general, participating in discussions and voting on public policies related to cryptocurrency regulation.”

The commissioner’s office also said Poilievre was free to host talks with other MPs “on the matter because any policies or regulations will apply to you as one of a broad category”.

Poilievre suggested preventing the Bank of Canada from developing its own digital currency and said Canadians should be free to use alternative currencies for payments.

“We need good money again – as well as the freedom for buyers and sellers to choose #bitcoin and other technologies,” he tweeted on April 1.

In March, he held an event at a restaurant in London, Ontario, and paid for his shawarma with bitcoin. And at an event in April in British Columbia, he made a donation of Bitcoin to the BC SPCA, accompanied by a dog wearing the Bitcoin logo.

“The Boliver government will welcome this new decentralized, bottom-up economy that allows people to control their money from bankers and politicians,” his campaign said in a press release.

Since then, the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has plummeted, exposing Poelivry to criticism from opponents who say encouraging Canadians to invest in something volatile is reckless.

The value of the Purpose Bitcoin ETF has fallen by nearly 40 percent over the past six months.

The House of Commons Conflict of Interest Act requires MPs to report assets and liabilities over $10,000. But it does not require them to disclose the value of their assets or when they were purchased.

Poilievre’s campaign said his Bitcoin holdings were close to the disclosure limit.

In his disclosure, Poilievre also reported his holdings of exchange-traded funds based on stock indices in Singapore and Switzerland. His campaign said he is required under the Conflicts of Interest Act to publicly disclose these ETFs, but not his holdings in a Canadian stock index fund.

“Mr. Poilievre’s largest investment to date is in the Canadian Index Fund that tracks TSX,” the campaign said.

The co-founder of the ethics advocacy group Democracy Watch said MPs should be barred from owning assets like Bitcoin.

“It is clearly unethical for MPs or candidates to lead the party to advocate for changes that would help the companies they invest in, and the best way to stop that is to prevent MPs from investing,” Dave Konacher said in an email.

During last week’s leadership debate in Edmonton, Poilievre was challenged over his earlier comments on Bitcoin. Brampton, Ont., mayor and leadership candidate Patrick Brown said he should not encourage investing in the “magic internet money.”

“People can make their own investment decisions,” Poliver said in response to a question from Leslyn Lewis, an Ontario Conservative MP and leadership candidate.

“I simply said that they should be free to decide if they want to use Bitcoin. I don’t want to be like communist China and ban Bitcoin or other technologies.”

Canadian investors are already free to invest in cryptocurrencies. In fact, Poilievre is not the only deputy who invests in cryptocurrency. At least seven others announced Bitcoin or other crypto assets in their disclosures, including:

Ben Loeb (Governor, Ontario): Bitcoin.

Chandra Arya (Liberal, Ontario): Stock options for Coinbase Global Inc.

Talib Noor Muhammad (liberal, British Columbia): Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stacks, Coinbase Global Inc.

Joël Lightbound (liberal, Quebec): Purpose ETF Bitcoin, Purpose Ether ETF, Bitcoin and Solana.

Scott Davidson (Conservative, Ontario): Evolve Cryptocurrencies ETF, held by the pair.

Tony van Benenen (liberal, Ontario): Ethereum.

Terry Beach (liberal, British Columbia): Ethereum.

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