Less than a week after naming his new cabinet vowing a renewed focus on the concerns of Canadians, the one name Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn’t keep out of his mouth on Monday was Pierre Poilievre.
At an event announcing multimillion-dollar joint federal-municipal investment towards building more homes in Hamilton, Ont., Trudeau brought the Conservative leader up multiple times, from panning his housing, health and homelessness policy proposals, to distilling his leadership style down to “cuts and be angry,” while vowing the Liberals intend to take a different tact.
“His answer to everything is cuts and be angry, that’s not Canada. That’s not how we build a stronger future… Canadians roll up their sleeves and get to work, and build and invest in themselves and their communities. That’s what we do, we partner with people. We don’t pick fights with mayors,” said the prime minister, who was donning a bandage in the middle of his forehead.
It was the result of bumping his head over the weekend while playing with his kids, his office confirmed to CTV News.
“That’s where the anger that he is drumming up is dangerous for Canadians, who would much rather work hard and build a strong future than throw up their hands and say, ‘Oh, it’s all terrible, it’s all broken, let’s all stay home.’ No. That’s not who Canadians are,” Trudeau continued.
“So I won’t be stirring up anger, I will be pointing out where his proposals are irresponsible and unserious. But, I will stay focused on solving the challenges Canadians are facing, rather than exploiting them for political gain, like Pierre Poilievre does.”
This lengthy retort was in response to a question about Trudeau’s repeated referencing of Poilievre, and whether the prime minister was threatened by his leadership or what he’s tapped into. Trudeau said no, his focus is on Canadians who are having a hard time making ends meet.
Though, during the event Trudeau slammed the Conservatives for pulling themselves “entirely out of the housing business for 10 years” as contributing to the current supply crunch; criticized their position on tent encampments; and chalked their opposition to dental care up to hypocrisy and being “completely disconnected.”
“Why would you say that dental care is fine for MPs and their families, and it’s not inflationary for people to send their kids to the dentist if you have money to do it? But to let low-income people and people who are otherwise struggling, have kids with a brighter smile, and vote against that in the name of protecting from higher inflation, when inflation has steadily been going down, that’s him making baseless arguments, completely disconnected from fact,” the prime minister said.
These latest comments build on a renewed messaging approach launched last week— an effort by an embattled minority Liberal government to reset the agenda—seeking to present a clear contrast between what a re-elected Trudeau team would offer and what a vote for Conservative change could mean for the country.
With still several hot weeks left before the fall sitting of Parliament will see the two leaders square off across the aisle in question period, both men have been travelling across Canada to drum up support.
Poilievre, at his own campaign-style stops this summer, has offered his fair share of anti-Trudeau rhetoric, while proposing his own contrasts to how a government led by him would be better for the country.
“After eight years of Justin Trudeau, things are going very badly for the people of Sudbury and all across Northern Ontario. The stories that I have heard in places like Kenora, Timmins and Thunder Bay have both shocked and broken my heart… Something new is happening in Canada: tent cities, tent cities in almost every town, village, and metropolitan centre. Something that was almost unheard of eight years ago before Justin Trudeau, but what do you expect people to do? They can’t pay 100 per cent increase in rent,” he said at a Sudbury, Ont. “Axe Trudeau’s Tax” rally over the weekend.
“This is the misery and brokenness that people are living as a result of eight years of Justin Trudeau. But, the good news is that it wasn’t like this before Justin Trudeau and it won’t be like this after he’s gone. A common-sense Conservative government will reverse his policies and bring home the Canada we know and love,” Poilievre said.