The Carleton MP's trip to B.C. has been eventful thus far.
After sharing the stage with some of his biggest political rivals in Vancouver for Lunar New Year celebrations, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre pulled absolutely no punches a day later at the Association for Mineral Exploration’s annual conference.
In both a speech at the event and a media availability held shortly after, Poilievre took the opportunity to slam the Prime Minister (and the NDP, who are supporting Trudeau’s government) on a variety of different topics.
Before jumping into his (more or less roundly applauded) criticism of Trudeau, however, Poilievre recalled advice from someone he respected: “I was always talking, and he said, Look at that fish on the wall. If it had kept its mouth shut, it’d still be alive. It still didn’t stop me.”
It sure didn’t. Here are the five themes we picked up on during Poilievre’s stint at AME Roundup.
This isn’t a huge surprise, given that provincial conservative governments have tried to hold the federal government accountable on this bill, which established the Impact Assessment Act . The Act pledges to approve or disallow future infrastructure projects based on their impact on human health, the environment and local communities.
Poilievre alleges that the Act has just bogged down industry projects. “C69 makes it impossible to get anything built in this country,” he said. “I’ll repeal that and replace it with a law that consults First Nations and protects the environment but gets projects built.” Perhaps predictably, the room full of mining executives wasn’t exactly against that proclamation.
While Poilievre waxed poetic about how crime is raging on the streets of Vancouver and B.C., he fully blamed repeat offenders and “Trudeau’s catch and release bail policies.” The Conservative leader insisted that there aren’t a lot of criminals in Canada, and instead rattled off stats from the BC Union of Mayors report last year that found that 40 offenders in Vancouver were arrested around 6,000 times total last year.
Under a Conservative government, “Violent offenders caught with guns and other crimes will be behind bars until their trials occur and until it can be confirmed they’re safe for release,” said Poilievre.
Past Conservative governments and their leaders haven’t always been seen as having the best interests of young people at heart. You can bet that, going into the next election, Poilievre will do everything he can to make sure that’s not true this time around. The Calgary native repeatedly hit on the housing crisis in Vancouver and how prices of just about everything have shot up.
“35-year-olds who did everything we asked them to do, in Trudeau’s Canada, they live in their parents’ basements or in 400 square foot apartments spending 2,500 a month on rent,” said Poilievre, who added that a Conservative government would require every federally funded transit station to have high density right around it, so young people don’t have to own cars. He also said that he’d sell off 15 percent of federal buildings and convert them into affordable housing for young people across Canada.
Along with the obvious dismantling of the Carbon Tax, which is loathed by right-wing politicians across the country, Poilievre pledged that life in general would get a lot less expensive with him in charge.
“We need technology rather than taxes to fight climate change,” said Poilievre. “Trudeau and the NDP believe the way to fight climate change is to increase the cost of traditional energies like oil and gas that Canadians need to power cars and heat homes. I believe the answer is to lower the cost of carbon-free alternatives, speeding up approvals for electric dams, electric car battery production and carbon storage. I will unleash production of more carbon-free energy and incentivize that with financial instruments.”
Asked whether he had met with the newly minted leaders of Vancouver and B.C., Ken Sim and David Eby, and what he thought about the direction they are currently taking their jurisdictions in, Poilievre only answered to the former.
I met [Sim] yesterday at the Lunar New Year celebration, we had an informal handshake, and we exchanged some friendly words,” said Poilievre, who noted that he had called Sim to congratulate him on his win in October. “And what that win symbolizes is that the people of Vancouver have rejected the radical agenda of Trudeau and the NDP. They had an NDP mayor in Vancouver who was imposing Trudeau-style policies of catch and release, fighting against the police and raising taxes and red tape. The people of Vancouver have rejected that, and I think that means they’ll be voting for a Conservative agenda to reduce crime and the cost of living.”