Source: Isaac Lamoureux

Over 3,000 people – including Alberta’s premier – gathered in Edmonton to cheer on Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s crusade against the carbon tax.

The 750 available chairs at the Edmonton Expo Centre filled long before Poilievre came on stage, with the rest of the attendees squeezing together in standing room only space. 

This Spike the Hike rally was the biggest one to date, confirmed Poilievre spokesperson Sebastian Skamski, although he commanded a similar turnout when he was campaigning for the Conservative leadership in Edmonton in 2022, MP Shannon Stubbs said. 

Throughout the night, a clock on the right side of the centre counted down, not to Poilievre’s anticipated arrival, but to the moment of the upcoming carbon tax increase on Monday.

Throughout his 45-minute speech, Poilievre addressed many of his main talking points. He talked about building more homes, eliminating the carbon tax, removing vaccine mandates to employ more doctors and nurses, opposing numerous bills such as the Online Harms Act and the “no more pipelines” act, stopping safe supply programs, and more.

Poilievre committed to ending deficits at the federal government level. He said that the Liberal government printed $600 million of cash in three years, increasing the money supply by 32% while the economy only grew by 4%. 

Later in his speech, he asked the crowd, “How much money did we print?” 

When one attendee gave the correct answer – $600 million – Poilievre threw them an “Axe the Tax” t-shirt, one of the pieces of Poilievre-branded swag the Conservatives have been selling as the leader criss-crosses the country ahead of next year’s federal election.

Poilievre, who was born in Calgary, spent much of his speech talking about oil and gas, an issue near and dear to Alberta.

Stubbs told True North a Poilievre government would not snub her province like the current government does.

“That’s why I feel inspired every day with him as a leader in the first place. It is because he does value Alberta, he values Albertans, he values our contribution to the country,” she said. “He knows that Albertans have an outsized impact that lifts the entire country up for the best interest of all Canadians.”

Poilievre was clear that resistance to the carbon tax isn’t just a western phenomenon, however.

“Across the country, we are seeing an outbreak of common sense,” he said.

Poilievre said 70% of premiers and Canadian citizens have called Trudeau to spike the hike. 

“But they wouldn’t have had the courage to do it had there not been a trailblazer leading the way in your common sense conservative leader, the great Danielle Smith,” he added.

He called on Smith to join him on stage, asking her if she’d be willing to join his call to all candidates of the Alberta NDP leadership race to write Justin Trudeau and tell him to ‘spike the hike.’ 

“100%,” said Smith. “I can’t believe that this city voted NDP with all the Conservatives in this building. But you have the power to call all the NDP leadership candidates and all the MLAs to tell their boss, Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa that he should axe the tax and spike the hike.”

Poilievre cracked a joke about equalization payments as he thanked Smith for her support.

“I know that Alberta’s usually used to giving to Ottawa, but here’s one gift that I’m bringing back from Ottawa,” said Poilievre as he handed Smith her own Axe the Tax t-shirt, which she put on before she left the stage and held up her own “Spike the Hike, Axe the Tax” sign.

Poilievre hit on his usual talking abouts regarding inflation, which he says is an “immoral tax” that he would combat by capping government spending and cutting waste.

“It means big government and small citizens. And that is exactly what has been the design of our prime minister,” Poilievre said. “He said he admires the basic Chinese communist dictatorship. He said he admired the leadership of Fidel Castro. He said that he wanted to seize the bank accounts of law-abiding people for protesting. He tried to censor the internet.”

Stubbs said that Poilievre will fight for oil and gas workers, natural gas, and pipelines, accelerating traditional energy development and being able to export it worldwide. Poilievre echoed the sentiment in his speech, talking about how he would use Canada’s natural resources to help clean the atmosphere, as it is a much cleaner gas than that of Russia’s and other foreign countries. 

After the rally concluded, Pierre waited as hundreds of attendees lined up to meet him. The line lasted for over three hours, as Pierre spent minutes with each person hearing their concerns and desires.