Poilievre concludes three-day Manitoba tour in Winnipeg

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre hosts supporter event at Victoria Inn

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Conservative Party of Canada leadership front-runner Pierre Poilievre. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre visited Winnipeg Saturday morning to host a meet-and-greet with local supporters.

He spoke about eliminating the federal carbon tax, ending vaccination mandates and restoring western Canada’s oil and gas sectors.

“(The carbon tax) is not working… the war against our energy sector is driving up the cost of living for everyday consumers and farmers,” he said, adding that provincial governments are free to impose their own taxes, but he will axe it federally.

“(Western Canada) needs to have a stronger voice and more local autonomy.”

A crowd of roughly 60 people responded to his words with cheers and applause.

Norma Warecki shakes hands with Conservative Party leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

The meet and greet took place at the Victoria Inn on 1808 Wellington Ave., and was his final stop after a three-day visit to the province. Previous stops included Morris and Brandon.

The events are part of a coast-to-coast effort to gather votes and outline his campaign, members of his team said.

Poilievre has seen support from Manitoban voters, where they have sold 12,363 new memberships and raised more than $260,000 from 1,742 people, said Anthony Koch, Poilievre’s press secretary.

They have enlisted support from nearly 312,000 new conservative party members, Poilievre said.

In April, Poilievre revived calls to ship oil from the Port of Churchill. He proposes transporting oil as solid bitumen pucks that do not require pipelines or tankers. Indigenous communities in the region spoke out against the plan at the time, citing concerns about environmental risks.

Earlier this week, the federal and provincial governments announced a combined $147 million investment to restore a northern railway to Churchill formerly used to carry goods to the community. The funding could bring Poilievre’s plan closer to reality.

Volunteers put up placards at the Victoria Inn and Convention Centre. (Daniel Crump / Winnipeg Free Press)

“First of all, we have to work with First Nations people to ensure they are the main beneficiaries,” Poilievre said during a post-event interview. “Second, it has to be privately funded… (we should) quickly approve an environmentally responsible plan… and then let the investors and businesses partner with First Nations.”

Blockades have been a common tactic of railway and pipeline protests in Canada in recent years, with some ending in violent clashes with police.

Poilievre made it clear he supports all Canadian’s rights to protest but said police forces need to enforce the law in situations where protesters impede mobility.

The same rules apply to the Freedom Convoy, he said.

“I supported the peaceful, law-abiding protesters… while simultaneously condemning anybody who broke laws, blockaded critical infrastructure or behaved badly,” he said. “You have the right to protest, you can make as much noise as you want, but you can’t take away people’s freedoms.”

After leaving the event, Poilievre and his team planned to board a plane to Thunder Bay and continue east across the country, his team said.

tyler.searle@freepress.mb.ca

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