Pierre Poilievre covered a lot of ground in his first convention address to Conservative members since being elected leader just over one year ago.
Poilievre delivered the keynote address Friday evening at the Conservative Party of Canada’s convention in Quebec City, talking about housing, affordability, freedom, and the “extraordinary” nature of the “common people.”
Poilievre, who was introduced by his wife, Ana, said his party offered the “common sense” choice for Canadians.
“Canadians will have only two options: A common-sense Conservative government that frees hardworking people to earn powerful paycheques that buy affordable food, gas and homes—in safe communities,” said Poilievre.
“Or. A reckless coalition – of Trudeau and the NDP – that punishes your work, takes your money, taxes your food, doubles your housing bill. And unleashes crime and chaos in your neighbourhood.”
Poilievre alternated between French and English throughout his remarks, reiterating what have become consistent themes and lines in his speeches as he’s campaigned across the country over the summer.
One of these was Poilievre’s pledge to “ax the (carbon) tax,” though he also vowed to rein in inflation, which he called a “sneaky tax.”
“Yes, inflation is a tax,” he said. “When governments print money to fund deficits, they raise prices. It is the worst tax, because it is sneaky. Politicians don’t have to vote on it. And because it steals seniors’ savings, workers’ pay cheques and takes food from the mouths of the working poor, it is an immoral tax. It is a silent thief, quietly picking the pockets of the poor.
“It is the thief that reaches into the wallet of the elderly grandmother at the grocery store as her $100 only buys $80 of groceries, and there’s the thief again, as it empties the bank account of the working couple who now need to save for 25 years for a downpayment on a house.”
The Conservative leader said that the best way to bring inflation down is to have a balanced budget, noting that this was historically not a partisan issue.
“Balancing the budget to keep inflation and interest rates low was the unanimous policy goal of every major political party at every level of government right up until the radical departure from fiscal reality under Mr. Budgets Balance Themselves. Mulroney, Chrétien, Martin, Harper and even NDP provincial governments accepted that,” said Poilievre.
“Many common-sense grassroots Liberals and New Democrats still understand the virtue of fiscal discipline even if their leaders do not.”
Poilievre said that his government would be able to balance the budget by, “spending with a dollar-for-dollar law forcing the government to find a dollar of savings for each new dollar of spending it introduces.
“As the great economist Thomas Sowell said: the first law of economics is scarcity—people always want more than there is to have and the first law of politics is to ignore the first law of economics.
“Every time a politician has a bright idea to spend money, he will be forced to root out waste in his bureaucracy to pay for it, rather than just passing the bill to you in debt, taxes and money-printing inflation.”
Poilievre also address home affordability, which has become a cornerstone of the Conservatives’ messaging.
“Under Trudeau, Canadian homes cost over 50% more than in the US and you can buy a castle in Sweden for the price of a two-bedroom home in Kitchener. Toronto is ranked the world’s worst housing bubble and Vancouver is the third most unaffordable housing market on earth, worse than New York City, London England, and Singapore—a tiny island with 2,000 times more people per square kilometre than Canada,” Poilievre said.
“Trudeau’s carbon tax has forced 1.5 million people to food banks and caused a fifth of people to skip meals.”
In regards to more cultural issues, the Conservative leader accused Trudeau of trying to erase Canada’s history – a history, Poilievre claims, Canadians ought to be proud of.
“Justin Trudeau wants to cancel our proud history, erasing it from our passports. Our great military triumphs –gone. The Famous Five who won women’s rights — gone. Even Terry Fox had to go.” said Poilievre.
“Why? Because there can be no heroes but him.”
Poilievre also promised to scrap the highly controversial and costly ArriveCan app that was brought in during the pandemic. The app cost around $54 million dollars to build and was rarely used.
Among other promises, if elected, Poilievre said he would take a “jail no bail” approach to repeat criminal offenders. He also said he would reverse gun bans for hunters and sports shooters and secure the nation’s borders.