Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre covered a lot of ground during a brief visit to Kelowna on Oct. 11.
Speaking to reporters at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, with Okanagan Lake as the backdrop, Poilievre answered questions about inflation, crime, the carbon tax, pronouns, and the Israel-Hamas war.
“Here in Kelowna we just got the numbers from the food bank,” he added. “The highest in 41 years and the food bank directly attributes that to the inflation crisis. That’s a crisis Justin Trudeau and the NDP have caused.”
Poilievre also addressed the housing crisis in the city and said many people have been forced to live in tents because they cannot afford rent.
“A very large tent city now right on the trail (Rail Trail) which grows constantly. Before Justin Trudeau that tent city wasn’t there.”
Poilievre added the Liberal’s inflationary policies have doubled the cost of housing and driven up food prices faster than at any time in the last forty years.
He said a Conservative government would incentivize cities across the country to speed up and lower the cost of home building.
The Conservative leader also spoke about Kelowna’s crime rate, stating there are 10,000 thousand crimes per 100,000 people, the highest in the country.
“An astonishing amount of crime,” he said. “That’s one crime committed for every 10 citizens that live in Kelowna.”
Poilievre criticized the Liberal-NDP coalition for implementing automatic bail (Bill C-75) for repeat, violent offenders.
“So my common sense plan is to make repeat, violent offenders ineligible for early bail or parole. They’ll stay in jail where they can’t commit crime.”
He added the Conservatives would provide treatment instead of free drugs for those dealing with substance use issues.
Poilievre also criticized the Liberals for decriminalizing hard drugs and going after lawful hunters and farmers rather than securing Canadian borders to keep illegal guns and drugs out.
Poilievre made a promise that a Conservative government would get rid of the carbon tax, introduced by the Liberals in 2019.
“If you tax the farmer who makes the food and the trucker who ships the food, you tax all those who buy the food.”
Poilievre said Canadians are paying more for foreign food rather than less for Canadian food, and that getting rid of the tax will lower gas, heat, and grocery bills.
“My plan on the environment is technology and not taxes. So, where Justin Trudeau and the NDP want to raise the cost of traditional energy that is still needed, I want to lower the cost of carbon-free alternatives.”
Poilievre was asked about legislation being introduced by the Saskatchewan government requiring educators to inform parents if their child wishes to be called by a different name or pronoun.
“Conservatives support parental rights,” Poilievre said. “We believe that parents are the final authority in raising their kids and parents need to be informed of what goes on in their children’s lives.”
This past summer the New Brunswick government made it mandatory for parental consent before educators can use chosen names or pronouns for kids under 16.
Poilievre also accused the prime minister of interfering in such decisions.
“It’s time for Justin Trudeau to butt out and let provinces run schools and parents raise kids.’
“We unreservedly condemn Hamas for this attack,” Poilievre said of the current situation in Israel. “Our hearts break for every lost, innocent life both Palestinian and Israeli.”
He called on the federal government to take action against Hamas including severe sanctions on Iran, which is the sponsor of Hamas, and to criminalize the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) the terrorist arm of the Iranian government.
“That coordinates support for Hamas and Hezbollah. It is perfectly legal right now for Iran to use Canada as a staging ground for the IRGC which is the worst terrorist organization in the world,” Poilievre added. “
He said the conservatives are calling on the Trudeau government to ban the IRGC.
“So that Iran can no longer use our country to carry out its evil works.”
Poilievre added he was not surprised Canada was left out of a statement by five of the G7 countries condemning Hamas.
“World leaders don’t take Justin Trudeau seriously. They think he’s a joke…that he has no idea what he’s talking about on matters of foreign policy.”
Poilievre will also attend a ‘Bring It Home’ rally in Oliver this evening (Oct. 11).