Poilievre says ‘corporate lobbyists’ in Ottawa are ‘utterly useless’

Click to play video: '‘Utterly useless’: Poilievre says corporate lobbyists not acting in Canadians’ interests'
‘Utterly useless’: Poilievre says corporate lobbyists not acting in Canadians’ interests
Speaking at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Friday, Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre called out corporate lobbyists for not acting in the interests of Canadians, calling them “utterly useless.” He added that as prime minister, he would require corporations to convince Canadians that their policies are beneficial – Mar 8, 2024

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre told a Vancouver business networking breakfast that “corporate lobbyists” in Ottawa are “utterly useless” and said he would focus on Canadian workers if his party forms government.

Speaking to the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Friday morning, Poilievre accused corporate interests of failing to stand up for workers, and vowed to make business leaders work harder to get community buy-in for their projects.

“My message to corporate Canada is that when I’m prime minister, if you want any of your policy agenda pushed forward, you’re going to have to convince not just me but the people of Canada that it is good for them,” Poilievre told the business crowd.

“When I’m prime minister, my… daily obsession will be about what is good for the working-class people of this country.”

Click to play video: 'Pierre Poilievre speaks at Vancouver Board of Trade event'
Pierre Poilievre speaks at Vancouver Board of Trade event

His speech comes as the cost of living remains high and after Canadians identified affordability as their top priority for political leaders to focus on in polling done exclusively for Global News by Ipsos in January.

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Poilievre noted it was the first time he addressed a chamber of commerce since becoming Conservative leader in September 2022 — while claiming to have spoken at 110 “shop floors” and five local union halls.

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The reason, he explained, was his feelings toward “corporate lobbyists” in Ottawa who have been “utterly useless” in advancing the interests of Canadians.

Conservative leaders across Canada have long sought to win over union members — if not union leadership — and draw them away from rival political parties.

The efforts have had mixed results. Former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole made repeated appeals to union members, partially inspired by the U.K. Tory party’s success in luring blue-collar voters to the blue tent.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford received endorsements of multiple large private sector unions in the lead up to his majority victory in the province’s 2022 election.

Last month, Conservatives in the House of Commons unanimously supported a Liberal government bill that would ban “replacement workers” from being employed during strikes or lockouts at federally regulated workplaces.

The Conservative support for the bill came despite pushback from some voices in Canada’s business community, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Poilievre’s economic message to the Vancouver business crowd centered around his pledge to balance the federal budget, although was scant on details about how a Conservative government would achieve that goal, or how fast they would cut spending.

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He did repeat a pledge to divert spending from foreign aid — which he suggested was being given to “dictators” and “terrorist” groups, without citing examples — to increase Canada’s military spending.

Poilievre also said the Conservatives would dramatically scale back the federal government’s reliance on outside consultants and contractors — spending that increased under the previous Conservative government and continued under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal administration.

With a file from the Canadian Press.

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