Federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre said many Central Albertans, like other Canadians, feel they are falling behind economically as their wages are eaten up by taxes and inflation and their resource-sector jobs are “under aggressive attack.”
On Wednesday, Poilievre promised an invited crowd of about 200 Red Deer -area residents to cap government spending if he’s elected Prime Minister, and defend Alberta’s resource sector against foreign oil imports.
“I told them I would bring down inflation and taxes so their hard work pays off,” said Poilievre, who spoke to the Advocate on Thursday, after addressing gun laws, our “catch and release” justice system and other issues with area farmers, small business owners and entrepreneurs
Poilievre said Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen had invited these people to a town-hall-style meeting just outside the city. He feels the crowd was receptive to his message about keeping violent offenders in jail, protecting hunting rights, and reversing the federal Liberal government’s tax hikes and inflationary spending that are causing “a cost of living crisis.”
Poilievre also spoke about his plans to get more homes built, and to make it easier for foreign-trained doctors and nurses to work in Canada.
He said he would implement a “blue seal standard” of medical testing to expedite equivalency testing for foreign-trained doctors so they can begin practising medicine here.
Poilievre noted that he’s not advocating recruiting doctors from Third World countries, but rather allowing those who are already here and are “driving cabs and pouring coffee” to get back to doing what they were trained to do.
While he would also like to have more Canadian-trained doctors help fill the country’s shortage of 40,000 medical practitioners, he said the medical licensing body is “gate-keeping” by not allowing enough physician residencies to go around.
Poilievre recently heard from a Canadian doctor who went to Ireland to train and then couldn’t get a residency in Canada. He said she had to complete her training in California — and is still having trouble practising medicine in her home country.
The opponent of the carbon tax also spoke against Canada’s oil imports from Saudi Arabia and other places when Alberta’s oil industry “has the best environmental standards in the world.”
Experts are predicting we will still be using 60 to 100 million barrels of oil a day in 20 years, said Poilievre, so even if we are all driving electric cars, oil will still be needed to make everyday products, from cell phones to pens and medical equipment.
The Calgary native feels “it’s great to be back home in Alberta” where he has seen a lot of old friends this week. While this province has traditionally voted Conservative, he believes his message is getting a positive reception from other provinces — including Quebec, where the forestry industry is also “under attack…. They have the same issues…”
Poilievre is counting on common Canadian concerns about the rising cost of living, including inflated grocery prices and taxes, to help get him elected.