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Ahead of Fall Session, Poilievre Discusses Soaring Housing and Food Expenses

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre says meetings between Liberal ministers and grocery executives over the high cost of food is “more political theatre.”

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre says a meeting this week of federal cabinet ministers with grocery executives over the high cost of food is simply a show.

“This is more political theatre,” Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa on Sept. 17.

“Under Justin Trudeau, onions are up 69 percent, cabbage is up 70 percent, carrots are up 70 percent, lettuce is up 94 percent. So, my question to Mr. Trudeau is now he’s going to hold a big meeting to reverse the massive increase in onions, cabbage, carrots, and lettuce?” he added.

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The opposition leader went on to say that the only way to stop food inflation is to curtail the policies that have led to it.

“The only way to reverse [inflation] is to cap the spending, balance the budget, and bring down inflation and to axe the carbon tax to lower the cost of heat, gas, and food,” said Mr. Poilievre.

Mr. Poilievre also focused much of his comments on the cost of housing.

“Housing costs have doubled, rent has doubled. The needed mortgage payment and down payment for a home have doubled,” said Mr. Poilievre. “Nine out of ten young people, for the first time ever in our history, say they will never be able to afford a home.”

Mr. Poilievre went on to say that housing costs are one of the priorities for the Conservatives heading into the fall session of Parliament, which started Sept. 18.

“Conservatives have two main priorities: One, reverse the housing hell that Justin Trudeau has caused for Canadians,” he said. Mr. Poilievre said his party also wants to get rid of the federal carbon tax to help bring down the cost of living.

In addition, he pointed to rising crime rates.

“We will make sure people live in safe neighborhoods with jail and not bail for repeat violent offenders, and with treatment—not decriminalized or tax-funded drugs for those afflicted with addiction,” added Mr. Poilievre.

Liberals’ Priorities

Since the Conservatives are in opposition their power is limited to pushing the government on issues and calling for change. Still, Mr. Poilievre and his party have been pounding on affordability and crime for months, and with Liberals dropping in the polls, there are signs the federal government is listening.

On Sept. 18, Government House Leader Karina Gould told reporters Liberal priorities for the fall are affordability and public safety.

“Our actions in the coming weeks and months are motivated by one thing: Canadians are hurting, and our team will be there to help,” Ms. Gould said.

Federal measures announced in recent days include a promise to drop the GST on new rental construction.

Mr. Poilievre criticized the Liberals’ track record on easing the housing crisis so far, saying the government’s Housing Accelerator Fund has yet to produce results.

“This might actually be the worst year for homebuilding in decades, based on CMHC [Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation] estimates,” he said. “So, what I’m saying to the prime minister is we don’t need more photo-ops. We don’t need more spending. We need to build homes, not bureaucracy.”

Mr. Poilievre said the Conservative plan for housing would involve rewarding municipalities that build more housing and penalizing those that do not.

“I’ll bring in a mathematical formula that gives one percent more funding to a municipality if they beat their housing, homebuilding targets by one percent,” he told reporters. “If they missed their target by one percent, they’ll get one percent less money.”

He said the overall goal is to boost housing construction by 15 percent per year.

“Fifteen percent compounded doubles home construction in five years,” he said. “They don’t have to fill out paperwork for bureaucrats in Ottawa. They just have to get out of the way and let builders build.”

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