Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s only plan to combat the high cost of living is to stoke Canadians’ fears, encourage their anger and promise to cut programs that help make their lives better.
“His answer to everything is cuts and be angry,” Trudeau said Monday in Hamilton, Ont., where he was making a housing announcement.
“That’s not Canada. That’s not how we build a stronger future. That’s not how we’ve gotten through the challenging times we’ve had in the past.”
The prime minister criticized Poilievre for opposing the new federal dental care program. Trudeau said that program has allowed hundreds of thousands of families to send their children to the dentist for the first time.
“He chose to vote against, and to stand against and try to block … in the House, the delivering of dental care for vulnerable Canadians,” Trudeau said. “Why would you do that?”
WATCH: Trudeau says Poilievre is ‘stirring up anger’ for political gain:
While the rate of inflation dropped from a June 2022 high of 8.1 per cent to 2.8 per cent in June 2023 — a rate well within the Bank of Canada’s desired 1 to 3 per cent range — the cost of living for many Canadians has remained high.
Food prices were up 8.3 per cent in June this year compared to the same month last year and the cost of shelter also increased that month by 4.8 per cent year over year.
And while it’s true that gas prices fell 21.6 per cent year over year in June, the Bank of Canada’s recent run of interest rate hikes to tame inflation contributed to a 30.1 per cent rise in the cost of servicing a mortgage.
Trudeau enabling cities to block housing: Poilievre
Since becoming leader of the Conservatives, Poilievre has attacked the Liberal government and Trudeau over efforts to rein in the cost of living.
A number of polls show the Conservatives’ lead over the Liberals widening. A reporter asked Trudeau Monday if he feels threatened by Poilievre’s leadership.
“No. What is of concern to us is the fact that there are so many people having trouble making ends meet,” Trudeau said. He was in Hamilton to announce his government would work with the city to build and repair 214 homes at a joint cost of $64 million.
“You don’t solve problems by scaring people, by stirring up anger,” Trudeau said. “He’s hoping that he’s going to be able to get votes out of it, but that’s not how you build a stronger economy.”
A spokesperson for Poilievre dismissed Trudeau’s housing announcement, insisting that Trudeau’s policies were enabling “local government gatekeepers” to “block housing construction.”
Citing remarks the Conservative leader made on June 9, the spokesperson said Poilievre would get rid of obstacles to building homes, balance the budget, bring down inflation and help ensure housing is affordable.