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Liberal government failing Yukoners on affordability, guns: Poilievre

Federal Conservative leader spoke with the News at Pelly Construction ahead of rally in Whitehorse
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre stops off at Pelly Construction in Whitehorse on Sept. 15. (Matthew Bossons/Yukon News)

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre is arguing that Liberal Party of Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has failed Yukoners on affordability and guns.

“It’s punished them for heating their homes, driving their trucks and eating food from grocery stores. They’re also banning hunting rifles, which takes away the alternative source of feeding themselves,” Poilievre told the News on Sept. 15.

That Friday afternoon, the federal Official Opposition leader attempted to woo about five dozen people at Pelly Construction off the Alaska Highway on the heels of his party’s national convention in Quebec and before giving an election campaign-style speech to a packed room at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre during a rally that evening in Whitehorse.

His comments about, if elected, banning the Bank of Canada from creating a central bank digital currency and prohibiting his MPs and ministers from any involvement in the World Economic Forum led to eruptions of cheers at the rally.

READ MORE: Poilievre takes verbal shots at Liberal MP while backing hunters at Yukon rally

One supporter took her son, who will be able to vote in a couple of years, out of school to see Poilievre that afternoon.

Another participant, who is not a party member, wanted to hear what Poilievre had to say at the construction company’s site. He referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as a “plandemic” because he believes it was planned.

Lianne Rood, Conservative MP for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, a southwestern Ontario riding, and Bob Zimmer, Conservative MP for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies in British Columbia, joined Poilievre at the events.

WATCH: Poilievre pledges to ‘bring home’ more businesses like Pelly Construction

Rood told the News the Yukon is “absolutely” being targeted by the party as a swing riding.

“What I’m hearing from folks on the ground here is that they are tired of the current Liberal government, and they don’t feel that they’re represented by their Liberal Member of Parliament right now. So, they’re looking for a change,” Rood said.

The Conservatives are currently riding higher in the national polls than their competition.

For the 2021 federal elections, the party under former leader Erin O’Toole booted candidate Jonas Smith for his vaccine stance, so Smith ran as an independent and Barbara Dunlop replaced him. In the end, Brendan Hanley of the Liberals took the Yukon seat.

Hanley voted against Bill C-21, which passed the House of Commons in May after the Liberals backed down on some changes to the pending firearms legislation.

Poilievre gave a seven-minute interview to the News while at the construction company’s site.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks with the <em>News</em> at Pelly Construction in Whitehorse on Sept. 15. (Matthew Bossons/Yukon News)
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks with the News at Pelly Construction in Whitehorse on Sept. 15. (Matthew Bossons/Yukon News)

Reporter: Are your values Yukon values? And if so, how?

Poilievre: They are Yukon values of hard work, family and freedom. I’m here to stand up for hunters who are under attack by Justin Trudeau’s hunting rifle ban. And, you know, he wants to ban all civilian firearms ownership, which would make it impossible for a lot of people in Yukon to feed themselves.

So many people here rely on hunting, not just as a pastime or a recreational tradition, but as a way of feeding their families after food prices have rocketed under Trudeau. So, my common-sense plan repeals the gun ban, and instead goes after repeat violent gun criminals.

The other way I’d say is I stand up for the right of Yukoners to heat their homes. So, I’ll be axing the carbon tax to lower the cost of heat, gas and groceries.

Reporter: With Russia and China as major threats on the global stage, how do you plan to enhance Arctic security?

Poilievre: We’re going to reinforce our military by removing back-office bureaucracy and procurement boondoggles and putting money instead into frontline resources for our brave men and women. We’re going to have a stronger Arctic presence with our armed forces.

Secondly, we’re going to fast track the approval of mines that will allow us to develop our northern economies and create a stronger economic and human presence in the North that reinforces our claim and strengthens our sovereignty.

Reporter: How will your policies fix the need for affordable housing in the Yukon?

Poilievre: We need more homes. My proposal increases homebuilding by 15 per cent per year, which would have the effect of doubling the annual per home completions within five years.

We would go from rebuilding 200,000 homes a year to 400,000 homes a year in the fifth year of my plan.

Reporter: In the Yukon, how many homes will you build and by when?

Poilievre: I have to look more carefully at that. It’s harder to drill down to individual markets.

But I will be providing building bonuses to local governments in Yukon that succeed in building more homes.

Reporter: How will your policies help bring an end to the [substance use health] emergency declaration here in the territory and keep people alive?

Poilievre: We’re going to stop the disastrous Trudeau policy that has caused this nightmare.

I’m going to stop giving out tax-funded drugs and start giving treatment and recovery services. Detox, treatment and recovery are the only way to bring home our loved ones drug free, save lives and end the crime, chaos, drugs and disorder Trudeau has brought to our communities.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre rallies with hundreds of supporters at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre in Whitehorse on Sept. 15. (Matthew Bossons/Yukon News)
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre rallies with hundreds of supporters at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre in Whitehorse on Sept. 15. (Matthew Bossons/Yukon News)

Reporter: The Yukon has seen close to half of its community health centers either close or reduce services over the summer. So, how will your government prevent those kinds of closures and ensure that people are getting the health care they need when they need it?

Poilievre: We need more doctors and nurses and the answer is actually simple. It’s hitting us right in the face.

My common-sense plan is to bring in a national blue seal test that will allow immigrant doctors and nurses to take an exam, prove they’re qualified and get to work within 60 days of applying. And that way we can have thousands of immigrant Filipino nurses, for example, countless doctors that are on the sidelines, let’s bring them into the system so that places like Whitehorse have doctors.

Reporter: Do you know who the next Conservative candidate will be in the Yukon?

Poilievre: I don’t. No, and in fact, I won’t be choosing them. The people that are the members of our party in the Yukon will choose whoever they want, and I’ll respect their decision.

Even if I had a preference, I wouldn’t state it.

We want it to be a common-sense candidate that will help us, you know, bring home a Canada that frees Canadians to earn a powerful paycheque; that buys affordable food, gas and homes in safe neighborhoods.

Editor’s note: The interview transcript above has been edited for length and clarity.

— With files from Matthew Bossons

READ MORE: Poilievre’s Conservative’s national council acclaims Yukon Party chief of staff

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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