Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said he’s prepared to crack down on auto theft and illicit exports of vehicles if he’s elected Prime Minister.
Poilievre discussed a variety of issues during a press conference held at a Montreal port on Tuesday, most notably, addressing Canada’s growing problem of auto thefts.
“After 8 years of Justin Trudeau, car thefts are up 300% in Toronto and 100% in Ottawa and Montreal. Nationally, car thefts are up by more than a third since his Liberal government took office,” said Poilievre.
“Canadian cars are being stolen at historically high rates, many of which are being shipped overseas,” he added.
Poilievre pointed out the connection between car thefts and increased insurance premiums, noting that car theft claims rose 329% in the first six months of last year, “adding $700 million dollars in extra costs on your auto insurance which is up by $129 a year just to pay for the Trudeau car theft crisis.”
According to the Journal de Montreal, the federal Port of Montreal only has five agents available to inspect all the containers which pass through the port annually, the same port where the bulk of these stolen cars are exported overseas.
Additionally, the port is only equipped with a single X-ray scanner which is often out of service, leading the Canadian Border Service Agents only able to check less than 1% of all containers that pass through the country.
“Common sense Conservatives will reverse Trudeau’s reckless policies that have turned our federal ports into parking lots for stolen cars. By making it much harder to ship cars overseas where they can be sold, this violent get-rich-quick scheme that gangs around the country have been taking advantage of will no longer be possible,” said Poilievre in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Justin Trudeau has failed to protect your property. I will bring home stolen cars. Let’s hit the brakes on car thieves and protect our federal ports.”
He also criticized the Trudeau government’s heavy use of consultant agencies to solve management problems.
“The consultants are making off like bandits,” said Poilievre. “Trudeau is spending $15 million dollars a year just on CBSA management consultants alone.”
“If you want to drive a truck, you need to know how to drive. If you want to be a barber, you need to know how to cut hair. If you want to be a manager, you need to know how to manage. And if you don’t know how to manage, I’m going to fire you.”
The conservative leader said that he would take the money saved after firing consultants and put it directly towards putting CBSA officers on the front lines of the port to be “boots on the ground.”
He also said with the money saved they could invest in X-ray scanners which could find stolen vehicles much more easily in cities like Montreal, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Halifax.
Poilievre also touched on news that Trudeau had invited Nazi veteran Yaroslav Hunka to a reception the prime minister was hosting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which brought the scandal of Hunka’s invitation to the House of Commons from last September back into the spotlight.
Trudeau had previously claimed that his office knew nothing about the invitation and laid total responsibility at the feet of former House Speaker Anthony Rota.
“Justin Trudeau said that the Speaker of the House of Commons should resign for having invited the former Nazi to the Ukrainian President’s event. Does that mean that Trudeau will apply the same demand to himself?” Poilievre asked.
“Is Justin Trudeau going to call on himself to resign? Or is this just another example of where he’s above the rules that he applies to everyone else? I’m sure it is.”
While speaking about the Russia-Ukraine war more broadly Poilievre suggested Canada could be of help to Ukraine by donating older missiles that the country will no longer use but that the Ukrainian military has expressed interest in.
He said that Canada will save on the cost of having to dispose of them while being able to help Ukraine defend itself.
Poilievre also said he would sell natural gas to Europe, which would take the power away from Russia, which currently supplies much of the continent with gas and uses the proceeds to fund its attack on Ukraine.
“My common sense plan would sell Canadian natural gas. I will repeal Bill C-69, replace it with a law that consults First Nations, protects the environment but gets natural gas liquefaction facilities built so that we can send that gas to Europe to break European dependence on Putin,” said Poilievre.
“Turn dollars for dictators into paycheques for our people in this country.”