Source: Facebook

Vancouver business leaders are applauding Pierre Poilievre’s no-nonsense message to end corporate welfare, the head of a city trade group says.

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Bridgitte Anderson says the Conservative leader’s keynote address, his first to a trade and commerce group since winning the Conservative leadership in 2022, hit on important points for beleaguered business owners.

Poilievre addressed the Vancouver Board of Trade Friday morning with a pledge to end corporate handouts and make big businesses work for Canadians and not the promise of government cash. 

“My message to corporate Canada is that when I’m prime minister, if you want any of your policy agenda pushed forward, you’re going to have to convince not just me but the people of Canada that it is good for them,” Poilievre told the crowd of over 300 business leaders. 

“When I meet with resource companies and they come to Ottawa, all they do is sign up to the Liberal government. They have no backbone and no courage. I want to see corporate leaders fighting for their workers and fighting for the paycheques instead of sucking up to the very people who are blocking these jobs and destroying them.” 

Despite his uncharacteristically critical tone, Poilievre touted free enterprise and that message resonated with business leaders in the room who gave him a standing ovation. 

In an interview with True North, Anderson said Poilievre made his “no more easy time in Ottawa” message clear and it’s getting a reaction from the business community. 

“I would say business leaders in Vancouver reacted to that call for accountability and no more easy time in Ottawa. I think Mr. Poilievre made it clear that he is supportive of a free enterprise system but he does want to see average Canadians get ahead,” Anderson told True North. 

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade represents over 5,000 members, a majority of which are small- and medium-sized businesses suffering from affordability issues, according to Anderson. 

“They are job creators. The couples that have the corner stores or the small retailers. I think that message probably aligned really well with what many of our members have been feeling,” she said. 

Anderson told True North that the struggling businesses are looking for solutions. 

“Hearing some solutions,regardless of political stripe,is really important. It’s a very, very complex time, whether we’re talking about mental health and addiction or we’re talking about the complex crisis in housing,” explained Anderson. 

“To hear any political leader come forward with solutions that will end in some meaningful change, I think that’s what connected with the crowd here.”

During the one-hour speech and moderated conversation, Poilievre laid out his plan to make it easier to do business in Canada by cutting taxes and ridding the culture of government handouts. 

While speaking before the board, Poilievre also announced that he was calling on BC NDP Premier David Eby to pause the upcoming provincial carbon tax hike and then “axe the tax” altogether.