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'Stand on the side of the common people,' Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre tells caucus


In a speech to his caucus ahead of the holidays, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said it is his party's job to "stand on the side of the common people."

Ahead of a closed-door meeting, Poilievre spoke to Conservative parliamentarians in front of the media, telling his MPs and senators that it is their job as the Official Opposition "always to stand on the side of the common people."

"Their paycheques, their savings, their homes, their country," Poilievre said, asking his caucus to spend some time during the break reflecting on how Conservatives can do that in the new year.

"I hope you have a wonderful break with your families, a time to renew and rebuild your energy to come back in fighting form on behalf of Canadians," Poilievre said. "But it's also a time over Christmas to think of the less fortunate, those who have less, those who are struggling more. Unfortunately, those people are more numerous than ever before."

During his remarks, delivered first in French and then in English, the Conservative leader capped off his first fall sitting at the helm of the party by delivering a laundry list of ways he thinks Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals are failing.

From the cost-of-living crunch prompting some Canadians to turn to food banks, to young Canadians "stuck in their parents' basements" because of housing unaffordability, Poilievre called for "legal limits" on federal spending to try to bring down inflation.

"The cost of government is driving up the cost of living," he said, repeating one of his most-used talking points since becoming party leader.

Poilievre also spoke about public safety concerns, from the growing number of drug overdoses in Canada, to the ongoing contention over the Liberals' gun control legislation Bill C-21 and their push to considerably expand the number of firearms that would be prohibited.

"So instead of putting time, money, and resources into attacking Indigenous people, hunters and farmers, Conservatives will protect those people's rights and go after the real criminals to keep Canadians safe," said Poilievre.

The Conservative leader also spoke about his concerns over the state of the Canadian health-care system, which he said was coming apart "at the seams."

"It boils my blood to sit in a waiting room with my daughter, who's got from time to time a migraine headache, while she waits and waits along with the other little children because of doctor shortages," he said. Poilievre vowed that if his party was in power he'd work with the provinces to allow more qualified immigrants to practice medicine, more quickly.

"It is true that Canadians are hurting, but it is our job as the Official Opposition to turn that hurt into hope. To inspire people that a real improvement in their lives is possible, that the dream that brought them here as immigrants or the dream with which they were raised when they were born here, can be rekindled," Poilievre said. "That is our purpose my friends."




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