Source: Facebook

Supporters flocked to see Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre at the Calgary Stampede, where he spoke about his optimistic vision of Canada’s future if elected Prime Minister. 

The Tory leader grew up in Shawnessy, a neighbourhood in south Calgary, and said some of his best memories are from the city. 

“It doesn’t matter where you came from in Alberta because this is a province that is more interested in where you’re going,” he began his speech on Saturday night. 

The federal leader said the promise of Canada feels broken, and that Canadians feel a long way from home. He pointed to the high costs of housing, food prices, and the rising number of Canadians accessing food banks. 

“When they go to the grocery store, they cry at the checkout because they can’t afford the price tag.”

The situation is even worse outside of Alberta, Poilievre said, pointing to the 256 homeless encampments in Toronto, including 50 new ones in the last three months. 

“The good news is that life was not like this before Justin Trudeau, and it won’t be like this after he’s gone.” 

Poilievre told supporters that a Conservative government would stop overspending and money printing,  axe the carbon tax, and champion Canadian energy.

“Instead of creating more cash, we’re going to create more of what cash buys, grow more food, build more homes, and produce more Canadian resources,” he said. “Here in this country, we know how to do it. We need to unleash the unmatched might of the free enterprise system.”

He also committed to increasing inspections of shipping containers which are being used to transport stolen Canadian vehicles. Additionally, Poilievre promised to implement a Tax Reform Commission with a three-point mandate to find tax cuts for Canadian-made products, cutting administrative and compliance burdens, and lowering taxes for the working class. 

The Tory leader’s speech highlighted Trudeau’s absence, which comes as some speculate whether he will resign after the Liberals lost a Toronto stronghold in a byelection last month. This marks the first time Trudeau missed the Stampede since the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Don’t feel offended, Calgary, that Justin Trudeau is hiding from you,” Poilievre joked. “He’s actually hiding from his own caucus, terrified to meet with the people who are supposed to be his greatest supporters.”

The crowd laughed when Poilievre talked about cutting funding for the CBC and converting the state broadcaster’s headquarters into housing. Supporters likewise applauded and jeered when he referred to Jyoti Gondek as an “incompetent NDP Liberal mayor.” 

According to recent data, Gondek is the least popular politician in Canada, falling even further in the polls than Trudeau. The numbers follow a breach in a major water feed main in Calgary which took weeks to be fixed while Calgarians were placed under water restrictions and encouraged to report those who didn’t comply. 

Poilievre closed his speech by painting an image of Canada much like a decade ago when food and homes were affordable, the economy was flourishing, and firearms owners didn’t fear confiscation of their legally acquired property.