The Riverbelle Restaurant in downtown Trail was jam packed with Pierre Poilievre supporters July 13 when the Conservative leader made a stopover in the city before heading to another rally in Castlegar.
Poilievre’s wife Anaida was the first to enter, giving the audience a talk on their early lives, how they came to meet, and their vision for Canada before introducing her husband to a roaring crowd.
After giving a rousing speech with jabs at his political opponents, Poilievre and Anaida left for the next stop, Kalesnikoff Lumber in Castlegar. There they toured Kalesnikoff’s Mass Timber Facility and spoke to employees.
“Our government should work for our people in this country, in other words — bring it home,” Poilievre said at Kalesnikoff. “Bring home lower prices, bring home powerful paycheques, bring homes you can afford, bring home safety, bring home the Canada that we love based on the common sense of the common people united for our common home.”
The stops were part of a tour throughout the province where Poilievre painted the Conservatives as the “common sense” party and talked about cutting the carbon tax, reducing income taxes and balancing the budget to go after inflation.
He promised a number of measures he said would address housing issues. They include selling off federal land and buildings to make way for housing, cutting bureaucracy involved in getting building permits as well as federal funding bonuses for cities that increase building permits allowing for faster housing construction.
In an interview after the Kalesnikoff tour, Poilievre said his first focus would be on big cities whose housing problems trickle down to smaller communities. But building bonuses would apply to small communities as well.
“The more towns like Castlegar and Trail and Cornerbrook, Newfoundland build, the more federal infrastructure dollars they will get to accommodate that building.
“If local governments allow more building, that will generate federal tax revenue — from the workers that have the jobs building, to the GST on new home sales — we will give that money back to the local community council so that they can make sure there are roads and parks and other infrastructure to bring it home.”
Although Poilievre had vacationed in the East Kootenays several times in his youth, this was his first trip to the West Kootenay.
“It’s a beautiful spot,” he said. “I wish I could stay here and read a book, sit at a local coffee shop and enjoy it.”
Poilievre then headed to an evening engagement in the Vancouver area as soon as his Kalesnikoff tour was over. Poilievre’s trip to the West Kootenay came one day after he made another stop in Penticton.