Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre visited Penticton on July 12 to meet with the public and address the Bank of Canada’s interest rate hike announcement.
The main focus of his speech castigated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government for the last eight years, attributing increases in inflation, housing costs, grocery costs and to the government’s policies and in particular the carbon tax.
“After eight years of Trudeau life costs more for our seniors, our youth and our workers after his inflationary carbon taxes and deficits have driven up the cost of everything,” said Poilievre.
Poilievre also pointed to how recent polling found that most young Canadians no longer believe they will ever be able to afford a home.
He promised a number of measures that he said would address those issues, including cutting the carbon tax and reducing income taxes as well as balancing the budget to go after inflation.
To address the lack of housing in the nation, he said that Conservatives would sell off federal land and buildings and then cut the bureaucracy involved in getting building permits to make Canada the fastest place to get one.
During questions and answers following his speech, Poilievre doubled down on his comments made earlier this year, where he likened the homeless crisis in Kelowna to that of a “third-world country”.
“It’s just incredible that places like the downtown east side of Vancouver, Peterborough, Kelowna, parts of Toronto, parts of Calgary have had these tent cities go up that if you were looking at them, you didn’t know where you were, you might think you were in a third world country,” said Poilievre. “Not only were these scenes not visible to us or not around eight years ago, they weren’t even imaginable.”
The cause for those tent cities and the growth in the homeless population Poilievre laid at the feet of Trudeau’s economic policies, the increased cost of housing, and on the current government’s policies regarding illicit substances and crime.
He also said that the Conservatives would focus on putting substance users into treatment over providing them with a safe supply.
When asked specifically about the dramatic rise in grocery bills for everyday Canadians, Poilievre initially pointed to the increases in supply chain costs from the carbon tax, before responding to how reports have pointed to how companies are raising prices beyond just supply chain costs or inflation.
“Our economy is controlled by fewer and fewer powerful corporations that combined with the skyrocketing carbon tax on the farmers who make the food and the truckers who ship the food is driving up the cost on those who buy the food,” said Poilievre. “So we need to axe the tax and open up more competition in our economy so that Canadians can bring home affordable groceries.”
Poilievre ended his speech on a hopeful note, as he drums up support for the Conservative Party ahead of an eventual election.
“There was at a time when everything seemed possible in Canada, you worked hard, you could achieve anything. It didn’t matter where you came from, it matter where you were going. It didn’t matter who you knew, it mattered, what you can do. “
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