In his first speech to the caucus of his party, newly elected Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre promised to fight for the working class as Canada faces a cost of living crisis driven by inflation.
Elected last weekend, Poilievre ran on a campaign against rising prices and inflation, which he refers to as “Justinflation” after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but reiterated his commitment to working-class people during his first caucus speech in Ottawa on Monday.
Poilievre, who comes from what has been described as a modest middle-class background, claimed that Trudeau’s minority government was out of touch with ordinary working Canadians and urged the government, along with its far-left New Democrat (NDP) allies, not to increase taxes on working Canadians already struggling to get by, CBC reports.
“Canadians are hurting and it is our job to transform that hurt into hope. That is my mission,” the new CPC leader said and highlighted the upcoming increases to the Canadian federal carbon tax that are set to come into effect and increase the price of emissions per tonne from $50 to $170 by 2030.
“I’m issuing a challenge to Justin Trudeau today. If you really care, commit today that there will be no new tax increases on workers, on seniors. None,” Poilievre said and added, “My commitment back is, to the prime minister and his radical woke coalition with the NDP: we will fight tooth and nail to stop the coalition from introducing any new taxes.”
During his campaign, Poilievre spoke at length of people he had met on the campaign trail who had told him their stories, claiming to have met a mother whose sons had died from opioid addiction, workers who could not afford rising fuel costs or afford new boots for work. He also spoke about young people stuck living in small apartments or their parents’ basements despite having degrees because of the high cost of housing.
“We know the problem — the cost of government is driving up the cost of living,” Poilievre said and added, “The government should find a way to save one dollar for any new dollar spent. That’s the proposal we’re going to make.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted to Poilievre ‘s election as CPC leader by congratulating him but claimed Poilievre proposed “highly questionable, reckless economic ideas,” and added, “What Canadians need is responsible leadership. Buzzwords, dog whistles and careless attacks don’t add up to a plan for Canadians.”
Trudeau’s government has substantially increased the Canadian national debt, running massive deficits during the years of the coronavirus pandemic with some estimating the national debt could reach over $1.3 trillion by the end of the year.