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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Canada’s Trudeau takes aim at new Conservative leader Pouillet

Canada’s Trudeau takes aim at new Conservative leader Pouillet
Canada’s Trudeau takes aim at new Conservative leader Pouillet

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticized the new leader of the opposition Conservative Party, saying Pierre Poilever’s rhetoric and policy positions, including on the economy, do not amount to “responsible leadership”.

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Trudeau congratulated Poilievre on his win and said his governing Liberals will continue to work with lawmakers across party lines when Canada’s parliament resumes next week. .

“But that doesn’t mean we won’t call out the most questionable, reckless economic ideas. Canadians need responsible leadership,” Trudeau said.

“Buzzwords, dog whistles and reckless attacks do not add up to a plan for Canadians. Attacking the institutions that make our society fair, safe and free is not responsible leadership.

“Fighting against vaccines that have saved millions of lives is not responsible leadership. Opposing the aid and investments that have helped save jobs, businesses and families during the pandemic is not responsible leadership. .

Pierre Poilever, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Pierre Poilievre was elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada on Saturday. [Patrick Doyle/Reuters]

Poilievre, a right-wing populist and career politician who has been a member of parliament since the mid-2000s, was elected Saturday as the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Ottawa-area MP has opposed the coronavirus vaccine mandate, supported anti-vaccine marchers who occupied Canada’s capital earlier this year, and questioned the independence of the Bank of Canada.

Poilievre has also cast himself as a defender of working-class Canadians, criticizing Trudeau for soaring inflation — which he has dubbed “Justin inflation” — and the COVID-19 pandemic. Government expenditure during

“Right now, we have people who can’t afford to pay for their children’s meals … we have countless young people still living in their parents’ basements, stuck in tiny apartments,” the new leader told the Conservative caucus on Monday. said during the meeting. .

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Poilievre also issued a “challenge” to Trudeau, whose Liberals struck a deal with the left-leaning New Democratic Party in March to prop up his minority government until 2025, asking him to He went on to pledge to freeze any new tax increases, particularly for workers and seniors. .

“There will be no compromise on this point – the Conservatives will not support any new tax increases and we will fight tooth and nail to prevent the Coalition from introducing any.”

But despite his rhetoric, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the country’s largest union with 700,000 members nationwide, said Poilievre would be “a disaster for working people.” “.

“Perry is a career politician who has been collecting a six-figure salary on the public dime since the age of 24, and he spends every minute of his time in office fighting for fair wages, decent pensions and a better life for working people. spends fighting against.” CUPE national president Mark Hancock said in a statement on Saturday.

“He’s not a worker, and he certainly doesn’t understand what it means to be a member of the working class.”

While the former Conservative leader has moved back to the center after winning the party’s top post in an attempt to win votes from the Liberals in the general election, one expert recently told Al Jazeera that she expected Poilievre to “completely “Next” will go on.

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But one possible shift could be to be more specific on his views, said Lori Turnbull, director of the School of Public Administration at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

“Since he’s going to be leader of the opposition, he’s going to have to say something in parliament, ask questions of the prime minister, and put some legislation in place that isn’t about vague ideas of independence,” he said. They said.

Trudeau has seen his popularity decline since the Liberals first came to power under his leadership in 2015, and in recent months, he has been the focus of right-wing ire over his government’s COVID-19 and economic policies, among other things. have become.

An Abacus data poll in late July showed 51 per cent of Canadians disapprove of the government’s record – the highest disapproval rating since that vote seven years ago.

After the Liberals failed to win a majority in the last two federal elections, experts have questioned whether Trudeau should stay on as party leader, or step aside in favor of other Liberal MPs before the next vote.

But the Toronto Star newspaper reported last week that Trudeau has informed his cabinet that he intends to lead the party into the next contest.

The Canadian Parliament will resume on September 20.

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