Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre is wondering “what’s happening to our cities” following a string of violent attacks and stabbings across Edmonton and Calgary. 

Speaking from Edmonton on Thursday afternoon, Poilievre attributed the crime wave to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “costly coalition with the NDP” and their policies that allow the same repeat violent offenders loose on the street to “terrorize innocent people.”

“We’ve got to replace these crazy catch-and-release crime policies with a common sense criminal justice reform, and that’s exactly what a Pierre Poilievre government will do,” he said.

On Tuesday, Calgary police discovered a corpse in a suitcase. In Edmonton, police confirmed a man found dead in his apartment over the weekend had been shot to death in a homicide. That same day, a teenage boy was attacked in an Edmonton mall and remains in serious condition. 

Over in Surrey, BC, a 17-year old died following a violent attack while taking transit in Canada. And on April 1, a passenger had his throat slashed in another random violent attack in the province. The incident is being investigated as an ISIS terrorist attack by the RCMP.

Meanwhile 16-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes lost his life after being randomly stabbed in an unprovoked attack while waiting at a Toronto subway station last month. 

Poilievre said the situation is the same across Canadian cities following eight years under the Trudeau Liberals. For example, the same 40 offenders were arrested 6,000 times in 2022 in Vancouver, he said. 

“The same 40 people arrested 6,000 times in a year. That’s 150 arrests per offender per year,” he said. 

“You don’t have a lot of criminals in Canada. It’s a very small number that do the vast majority of crime.”

Poilievre said the solution is to end catch-and-release and introduce “jail not bail” for repeat, violent offenders. He said it’s time to ban hard drugs, stop handing out free narcotics, and to instead sue the large pharmaceutical companies “that caused the drug crisis” to pay for the treatment. 

The Conservative leader also touted the Alberta government’s approach to treating addiction in the province. Since forming government in 2019, the UCP has spent millions developing a wide-ranging recovery program unlike anything else in Canada.

That includes six massive recovery communities currently being built by the province. The first of those opened in north Red Deer earlier this year.  It’s nearly the size of a football field, has 75 beds, and the ability to treat up to 300 people per year.

Poilievre said the plan is working.

“It’s bringing down overdose rates, unlike in British Columbia, where the rates have gone up 300%,” he said. “It’s clear from the facts. The debate is over.”


  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.