Trudeau, Poilievre face each other in first QP since Conservative leadership race – National

Written by

prime minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre faced with affordability and cost of living i question period on Thursday – their first direct confrontation since the new Conservative leader was crowned on 10 September.

Poilievre, speaking in French, opened with a jab at Trudeau for missing the first two question periods of the session. He said it was “good to see the prime minister,” who he described as “visiting Canada” to “fill up his private jet.”

Trudeau had missed the last two question periods because he had traveled on the three-decade-old Can Force One – the same plane used by many of his predecessors – to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, followed by the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Conservative leader then turned to his question, which focused on the growing affordability crisis. He asked if Trudeau will intervene on the issue and is calling on the prime minister not to raise any taxes.

The story continues below the ad

Click to play video: 'Poilievre takes on Trudeau: 'Ground the jet, park the hypocrisy, and ax the tax hikes''

Poilievre takes on Trudeau: ‘Ground the jet, park the hypocrisy and increase the tax hikes’

Poilievre takes on Trudeau: ‘Ground the jet, park the hypocrisy and increase the tax hikes’

Trudeau responded by congratulating Poilievre once again for securing the Conservative leadership, then shared talking points about what the government is doing to create an economy that “works for everyone”

However, Trudeau didn’t dodge the punches for long – on the third question, he hurled criticism back at Poilievre, including pointing to the Conservative leader’s past support for cryptocurrency.

In response to a question from Poilievre about whether Trudeau plans to “ground the jet, park the hypocrisy and do away with the tax hikes,” Trudeau went after Poilievre for the position he took on the digital currency during the leadership campaign.

“If Canadians had followed the advice of the opposition leader and invested in volatile cryptocurrencies… they would have lost half their savings.”

The value of one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, has fallen significantly in recent months. On Thursday afternoon, it was trading at just over US$19,000, marking a significant drop in value since its all-time high of around US$68,000 last November.

The story continues below the ad

Read more:

Trudeau criticizes ‘buzzwords, dogwhistles’ as Poilievre crowned Tory leader

While Thursday brought some heated exchanges to the floor of the House of Commons, it was not the first time the leaders have traded barbs in the 12 days since Poilievre has been leader of the Conservative Party.

Poilievre’s first speech to caucus as leader included several lobs aimed at the Liberal Party — including his call for it to act on the growing affordability challenges facing Canadians.

“Canadians are short of money and this prime minister is out of touch,” he said in the Sept. 12 speech.

Trudeau unveiled the government’s proposed affordability measures the following day, September 13. The plan has already proved a contentious issue during question period this week as both parties continue to focus on the cost of living.

The story continues below the ad

That The left’s proposal includes money for struggling tenants, a temporary dental benefit for some children under 12 and a one-off increase in goods and services tax (GST). Of the $4.6 billion plan, $3.1 billion is new money – on top of what was already earmarked in the 2022 budget.

Poilievre wasted no time criticizing the proposal publicly, suggesting last week that the spending would not help average Canadians — and could risk making inflation worse.

“It simply adds more fuel to the inflationary fire,” Poilievre said.

Trudeau immediately faced similar questions from reporters, but during his announcement he pushed back on the claim that his plan could exacerbate inflationary pressures.

“I think the most important thing is to understand that there are Canadians out there who are really hurting. … What we’re doing with these specific measures is targeting those who are most vulnerable, those who are hardest hit by increases in inflation,” Trudeau said.

“They are also targeted enough that we are confident they will not contribute to increased inflation.”

Click to play video: 'MPs clash over inflation, affordability as Parliament returns'

MPs clash over inflation, affordability as Parliament returns

MPs clash over inflation, affordability as Parliament returns

Trudeau has also launched some attacks of his own against the new Conservative leader.

The story continues below the ad

While congratulating Poilievre on his leadership victory on Sept. 12, the prime minister quickly turned to calling on Canadians to elect “responsible leadership.”

“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,” he said.

Poilievre has taken a stab at a number of Canadian institutions during his leadership campaign, including calls for the Bank of Canada governor to be fired and criticizes universities for being influenced by the “thought police”.

Trudeau also went after the Conservative leader for his past support for cryptocurrency.

“Telling people they can opt out of inflation by investing their savings in volatile cryptocurrencies is not responsible leadership. By the way, anyone who followed that advice would have seen their life savings destroyed,” Trudeau said.

As the two leaders make their respective cases in favor of their own parties — and against the others — the verdict, which has the strongest appeal for Canadians, won’t come until the next federal election.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

About the author

Leave a Comment