Poilievre takes campaign tour through city

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Blaming the federal government for inflation — or “JustinFlation,” as he called it, eliciting loud cheers — Pierre Poilievre brought his campaign to Winnipeg Monday evening.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/05/2022 (192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Blaming the federal government for inflation — or “JustinFlation,” as he called it, eliciting loud cheers — Pierre Poilievre brought his campaign to Winnipeg Monday evening.

More than 1,800 people pre-registered to see the federal Conservative party’s leadership front-runner speak at the Victoria Inn. The conference room was full despite a Colorado low sweeping outside.

“I think Pierre is a lot better choice than what we have now,” said Andre Valcourt, a nurse in the audience.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Pierre Poilievre speaks to supporters on his party leadership campaign at Victoria Inn in Winnipeg Monday.

“I think he stands for the working people.”

Poilievre has made headlines for taking aim at major Canadian institutions and touting populist views. He’s called Bank of Canada senior officials “financially illiterate,” and earlier this month, he said he’d fire Tiff Macklem, the central bank’s governor, if he becomes prime minister.

Valcourt worries about inflation and thinks the Bank of Canada has “failed miserably” at keeping prices in check.

“I think it’s going to happen where people won’t be able to afford their fuel costs, won’t be able to afford things,” he said.

Some have compared Poilievre’s politics to former U.S. president Donald Trump’s. On Monday, the Calgary native addressed the crowd as “people who are ready to take back control of our lives and make Canada the freest country on earth.”

He spoke positively about the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa on controversial Canadian psychology professor Jordan Peterson’s podcast earlier this month.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Supporter and former MLA, Cliff Graydon came out to hear Pierre Poilievre speak in Winnipeg Monday.

On Monday, he reiterated his promise to remove vaccine mandates — “this is not medical science, it’s political science,” he said — and defund the CBC, should he become prime minister.

Attendees the Free Press spoke to didn’t see Poilievre as a far-right leader.

“Anything that’s not left anymore, the left calls it far right,” Valcourt said.

Laura, 33, didn’t feel comfortable sharing her last name because she believes mainstream media has vilified certain groups throughout the pandemic.

“We’re told by all our liberal friends that all of a sudden we’re misogynist white supremacists, when actually we just care about inflation, we care about affordable housing,” she said.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Pierre Poilievre greets supporters after speaking at his party leadership campaign earlier this year.

She and her friend Laurelle said they don’t feel represented by the current government and mainstream news. There isn’t enough dialogue allowing for different opinions on things like COVID-19 vaccination, among other issues, they said.

“We care about the environment, we care about human rights, we care about the same things as the people on the left do,” Laura said. “We want to have a conversation about it, but it doesn’t happen in the mainstream.”

She believes Trudeau’s public remarks have amplified divisions across the country over the past two years.

Laurelle, like others in attendance, worried about Canada’s financial future and the rate of inflation.

“It’s very concerning for people who have kids and people who could barely pay their bills before the pandemic, never mind now,” she said.

Jeannette Garand, a Métis grandmother, is impressed Poilievre — or his team — have answered her three emails to him.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Supporters Andre Valcourt and Andrea Mercado at the Pierre Poilievre party leadership campaign at Victoria Inn in Winnipeg Monday.

“Everything that he says is what I believe in,” she said, adding she’s opposed to the vaccine mandate for truckers.

Selkirk-Interlake-Eastern MP James Bezan introduced Poilievre Monday. Marty Morantz, Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley MP, and former provincial infrastructure minister Ron Schuler, who was removed from cabinet after not disclosing his vaccine status during the pandemic, were among local politicians in attendance.

Poilievre is running against five others for the top Tory spot. Others include Jean Charest, a former Quebec premier; Patrick Brown, mayor of Brampton, Ont.; Scott Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis, Ontario MPs; and Roman Baber, a former member of Ontario’s provincial parliament.

Candidates have until Friday to sell party memberships. Poilievre is touring: he spent Sunday in Thunder Bay and has a meet and greet planned in Saskatoon Tuesday evening.

The federal Conservatives will announce a new leader Sept. 10. The winner replaces Erin O’Toole.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Supporters sign up for party membership at Victoria Inn in Winnipeg Monday.

Candice Bergen, Portage-Lisgar’s MP, is interim leader.

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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