Graham Hughes The Canadian Press Throughout his speech at the Liberal Party of Canada convention, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attacked his conservative opponent Pierre Poilievre at many times.
As Pierre Poilievre's Conservatives continue to gain ground in polls across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took advantage of his appearance at the convention of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC) to attack his opponent on many occasions.
“When there are populist politicians like Pierre Poilievre who say that everything is broken, that everything must be scrapedand starting from scratch may seem tempting. But this is not what will bring more stability to our societies, on the contrary,” he insisted in front of a crowd of some 400 frenzied activists in Trois-Rivières.
The PLC loses currently points in polls across the country, except in Quebec. Pierre Poilievre's Conservatives rank in third position — behind the Bloc Québécois — but have been rising quietly for several weeks. Elsewhere in the country, the PCC’s lead is considerable.
The Liberal leader highlighted the Conservative Party's positions regarding abortion, accusing the party of “recruiting anti-abortion MPs” to this day. “Pierre Poilievre talks a lot about freedom, but the freedom of women to choose what to do with their bodies, that doesn’t interest him,” he said.
The Minister of Transport and lieutenant of Quebec, Pablo Rodriguez, also did not mince his words towards the Conservatives, some time before the Prime Minister's speech. “What is Pierre Poilievre’s party doing? The guy who eats apples? It takes us backwards on women's rights, on the fight against climate change! They don’t even know how to write it,” he booed in front of the liberal activists.
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Mr. Rodriguez was referring to the viral video in which Mr. Poilievre ate an apple while answering questions from a journalist.
Earlier in the day Saturday, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Diane Lebouthillier also threw an arrow at the PCC during a round table on the cost of living and access to housing. “The Conservative leader talks about housing cooperatives as shacks[cabins],” she said.
In his speech, the Prime Minister did not spare the Bloc Québécois (BQ): “While we are having [important conversations] in the House of Commons, what is the Bloc talking about? From the budget for Year 1. Well, let’s see! », he turned into ridicule. Only a few people in the room laughed.
“Don't let anyone forget that in the House of Commons, the greatest number of Quebec MPs are not the Bloc MPs, it's those of the Liberal Party for three elections in a row,” added the MP for Papineau.
The activists behind Trudeau
“Justin!” Justin! Justin! » chanted the approximately 400 people present while awaiting the Prime Minister's speech early Saturday evening.
Despite recent calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give up his place at the head of the party, force is to admit that the leader remains the man for the job for his activists. When he arrived on stage, the crowd of liberal activists got excited, brandishing party posters, to loud, enthusiastic shouts and whistles.
“I think we went through very difficult times, with COVID, for example. No matter who would have been in power, it would have been very difficult,” believes Joan David Gonzaly, an activist met by Le Devoir at the congress on Saturday. He says Justin Trudeau is doing “a very good job.”
The young Colombian, war refugee, affirms that the PLC is the only party whose “democratic values” support him. “With an opponent like Pierre Poilievre and the populist approach that is approaching, it’s something that is really scary,” he confides.
The same goes for Anne Patricia Akesse, another activist came to Trois-Rivières for the event. “[The drop in the polls] does not worry us at all. We know [the party] is doing a good job. The crisis that is affecting Canada today is across the entire world,” she said. “Yes, the chef is still an asset,” she adds.
The bad polls don't worry Ala Scoarta, another liberal activist, either. Especially since the PLC has made very good moves in the education and health sectors, she believes. “I believe Mr. Trudeau [is the right person to lead the party]. You have to trust him,” she told Devoir.
Federal dental insurance
Three panels were scheduled during the day on Saturday at the PLC congress: one on economic development in the regions of Quebec, the second on the cost of living and housing, then a round table on the leadership of the Canada in the world and the Francophonie.
During the conference on the cost of living and housing, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Jean-Yves Duclos, stated that a announcement regarding national dental insurance would be made “in the coming weeks.”
This program is one of the main aspects of the agreement between the Liberals and the New Democratic Party ( NDP) which allows the Liberals to maintain their minority government. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has often said that if a dental insurance program is not implemented next year, his party would consider withdrawing from the alliance between the two parties.
“In a few weeks, we will announce the start of the most significant aid program for middle-class families. It will help nine million families,” Minister Duclos said during the panel, without giving further details.