Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre accused the government of using foreign aid to fund terrorists and dictators in a speech to caucus Sunday.

Poilievre also highlighted his party’s priorities as Parliament returns Monday after the winter break.

Shots at UNRWA, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Poilievre attacked Trudeau for having funded the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), calling the agency a “terrorist organization.” This comes amid allegations that some of its members took part in Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Canada has since announced a pause on UNRWA funding.

“Trudeau’s been funding foreign  terrorists and dictators, calling it ‘aid,’” said Poilievre. “He gave money to UNRWA. We warned what would happen if you gave money to UNRWA.” 

“Justin Trudeau funded the same organization whose members helped carry out the genocidal Oct. 7 attack,” he added. “Justin Trudeau should be ashamed of himself for the way that he has spent our money to fund this terrorist organization.”

Poilievre pledged to make the Liberals’ recent pause in UNRWA funding permanent if he is elected, and said he will also defund the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“We should be building pipelines and roads in Canada, not in Asia.”

Conservative priorities as House returns:

Poilievre said “axing” the carbon tax, “fixing” the budget, building homes and stopping crime will be his party’s four priorities in the upcoming legislative session. 

The focus on crime comes as Canada’s murder rates hit a 30-year high, with small towns and big cities hit by increased lawlessness. 

“The big cities that voted for Justin Trudeau are suffering the most because of his disastrous and costly policies,” said the Conservative leader. 

“Violent crime is up 40%. The number of overdose deaths is up 200%. Forty-thousand Canadians have lost their lives to overdoses after eight years of Justin Trudeau’s policy of decriminalizing crack and heroin and giving out tax subsidized opioids that have heroin level potency.”

Poilievre added that crime is an issue which voters bring up often at his rallies, recounting a man in North Bay who told him his one request is to be able to bring his kids to a restaurant without having to face the possibility of being stabbed in the face.

“That was his request. In small northern Ontario towns people used to leave their doors unlocked before Justin Trudeau brought in catch and release.”

He went on to slam the NDP, which represents parts of Northern Ontario. He accused them of “betraying” their constituents and “selling out” to Trudeau by supporting “catch and release” policies. 

“There’s been the NDP, betraying Northern Ontario and Vancouver Island and the British Columbia Interior. Selling out their people, selling out the working class, to support his policies of catch and release, of banning hunting rifles, of quadrupling the carbon tax and doubling housing costs.”

“That is the misery that they have helped bring about.”

Poilievre also took aim at the car thefts, amid Canada becoming a new hot spot for them. 

The federal government announced last week that a National Summit on Combating Auto Theft will take place in February, bringing together “leaders from key jurisdictions and sectors to ensure a coordinated response to this issue.”

Poilievre criticized the proposal as a make-work project that will do nothing but cost money.

“There’s going to be another meeting, thank God. Politicians and bureaucrats and lobbyists will all come together. They’ll send you the bill for their hotel rooms,” he said.

“My friends, we don’t need another summit, we need a common sense plan to end the theft and stop the crime and that is what Conservatives will do.”

Poilievre also reiterated his party’s plan to address crime.

“We will end Justin Trudeau’s catch and release system, which has unleashed crime and chaos in our communities. We’re gonna stop the crime by stopping the criminals. Very simple. The root cause of crime is criminals. Put the criminals in jail, you have less crime,” he said.

“It will be jail, not bail. Jail, not bail for repeat violent offenders.”

Poilievre also discussed ending “safe supply” drug policies, housing affordability, lowering taxes and government spending, inflation and recognizing foreign credentials in his speech – while repeating his promise to scrap the ArriveCAN app.

The Conservative leader also took aim at Trudeau’s lavish Caribbean vacation as well as at “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” ideology that places race above merit. 

“You’re all just back from your $9000 a night stay with friends like most Canadians, right? That’s what our Prime Minister said. Can you imagine that? He said, ‘like most Canadians, I stayed with friends.’ An $89,000 vacation for free from friends,” Poilievre said.

“Wow, jeez, I think I have the wrong friends.”

Poilievre also defended the meritocracy, lobbing a shot at race-based hiring.

“Home is a place that judges people based on their work and their merit, not their race or their connections to government,” he said.

“Home is a place where government is servant, and not master. Where the people are in charge, and the leaders have the humility to do the job for them. Home is a place where the government minds its own business, and does its basic job well, while allowing free people to fulfill their full potential.”