Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre tours Newfoundland with promises to cut carbon taxes
Federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre was in Newfoundland and Labrador on Thursday to rally support for his bid to become Canada’s next prime minister.
Poilievre started the day on the island’s west coast at Corner Brook to meet with local residents before making his way to the Royal Canadian Legion in Clarenville – some 500 kilometers to the east. He refused to take questions from the media, opting to speak only to a full house of around 100 supporters and the province’s progressive conservatives about his plans if he were to become Canada’s next leader.
The opposition leader has compiled a list of problems he promises to fix.
Among them is the scrapping of the carbon tax to not include household heating oil, which threatens province residents from July 1 on top of already high consumer prices for the fuel.
“We put a motion in the House of Commons to say, ‘Listen, the NDP and the Liberals want to triple, triple, triple the tax and apply it to your heating, your petrol, your groceries and everything else,'” Poilievre said .
“But, for God’s sake, show some compassion. At least take it off people’s heating bills.
That Liberal MP was Ken McDonald, representing the Avalon horseback riding in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The federal Liberals’ plan is to implement the tax but reimburse provincial residents in quarterly installments. The party estimates that 80 percent of people will get back more money than they deposit. That wasn’t good enough for the ruling Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party, which has urged Ottawa to reconsider.
Also on Poilievre’s pledge list were building more homes to ensure younger generations can buy their own, increasing local food production, defunding the CBC, approving natural gas projects in Newfoundland and Labrador, doubling the province’s oil production and imposing a spending cap on government.
“I will limit government spending with a new dollar-for-dollar law that requires the government to find a dollar in savings for every new dollar in unbudgeted spending,” Poilievre said.
“We know there’s a lot of waste out there that they need to reduce, but there’s no incentive for them to reduce it because they just fit the bill.”
Among the faces in the crowd on Thursday were some familiar with provincial politics.
Former PC leader Ches Crosbie sat in the front row during Poilievre’s speech.
“I supported him for the leadership campaign and I support him to become the leader of the country and prime minister,” Crosbie told CBC News.
“There’s a lot of ordinary Canadians here, including working-class people, including all kinds of people doing the same thing. They see in Pierre someone who will turn the country back into the free country it once was.”
Crosbie has been a vocal critic of the pandemic restrictions since leaving the provincial party, speaking out in support of the Ottawa protests last year and donating to a crowdfunding campaign for the so-called Freedom Convoy.
Also present Thursday night were current PC MHAs Lloyd Parrott, Craig Pardy, Jeff Dwyer and Tony Wakeham, who is on his own campaign for the province’s Tories leadership.
Pardy said he was there to hear what Poilievre had to say as some of the issues affect his constituents.
“We have people who find it very difficult to make ends meet. Add the carbon tax to them, add the carbon tax to the coming heating oil and I don’t think they can make ends meet,” he said.
“I’m not a proponent of tackling climate change and environmental issues by taxing people more.”
Myron Wheaton traveled from Frederickton in the Gander Bay area to hear Poilievre speak and to have a brief chat with the leader of the opposition after his speech. A line wrapped around the room to give residents a chance to meet in person with the man vying to be their next prime minister.
Wheaton said he had been a Conservative voter all his life and became an incorporated member of the Conservative Party of Canada when Poilievre ran for leadership.
His biggest takeaway from Poilievre’s speech was the abolition of the carbon tax.
“I burn wood and oil. This is very important to me,” Wheaton said.
“Scrap it all together… We suffer. We are really suffering.”
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