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Poilievre makes campaign-style stop in South Okanagan

Click to play video: 'Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre makes stop in  Penticton'
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre makes stop in Penticton
WATCH: Pierre Poilievre made a campaign-style stop in Penticton, B.C., on Wednesday. He spoke about growing up visiting the area as a child and the current cost of living in Canada. – Jul 12, 2023

On a smoky day in the South Okanagan, Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre filled the air with campaign promises.

He also tried clearing the air on a controversial tweet he made about Kelowna earlier this year.

Sporting a new look without his regular glasses, the MP from Carleton, Ont., who is actually from Calgary, talked about reducing inflation and taxes plus selling off federal buildings and lands to create more housing.

Click to play video: 'Poilievre, Conservatives move ahead of Trudeau, Liberals in latest Ipsos poll'
Poilievre, Conservatives move ahead of Trudeau, Liberals in latest Ipsos poll

“When I was a kid growing up in the west, my folks would bring us here (to Penticton) for a little camping trip,” said Poilievre.

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“I remember those great days. We didn’t have a ton of money. My folks were teachers, but they could afford to throw us in the car and drive us out here, throw up a tent and get a campfire going.”

Poilievre added that while growing up, if he could ever afford it, he wanted to have a cottage — an eastern Canadian term, with cabin being the western Canadian preference — along Okanagan Lake.

He then transitioned from past tense to today.

“That was a time when everything seemed possible. You worked hard, you could achieve anything,” he said. “That’s the country I want for my kids and all Canadians. But, lately, that’s not the country we’ve seen.”

Click to play video: 'Poilievre says Canada needs more news, media online for more competition'
Poilievre says Canada needs more news, media online for more competition

The Conservative leader said the carbon tax eats into take-home pay and that housing costs have doubled lately, “to the point where nine in 10 young people believe they’ll never be able to afford a home.”

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“This is a brand-new problem. This is the first generation of young people in the history of Canada that believe they will never be able to afford a home.”

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Wanting Canada “to become the fastest place on Earth to get a building permit,” Poilievre said his government would sell 6,000 federal buildings and tens of thousands of acres of federal land, “so that we can build the millions of homes that are needed.”

At the end of his speech, Poilievre was quickly asked what he thought about Penticton after comparing Kelowna to a third-world country.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau jabs Poilievre over ‘disastrous byelection’; Conservatives warn of mortgage defaults'
Trudeau jabs Poilievre over ‘disastrous byelection’; Conservatives warn of mortgage defaults

That contentious comparison happened in late May. It was his response after seeing a 57-second video on TikTok of someone cycling beside the city’s homeless encampment along the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Poilievre’s tweet — which made national headlines — said “These images are not from a faraway third-world country. This is Kelowna. After eight years of Trudeau and the NDP.”

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On Wednesday, he gave a muted response.

“I think both of these places are the most beautiful in the world. What I said of Kelowna is that it’s just incredible that places like Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, Peterborough, Kelowna, parts of Toronto, parts of Calgary have had these tent cities go up,” he said.

“If you were looking at them and you didn’t know where you were, you might think you were in a third-world country.”

Click to play video: 'Why Trudeau and Poilievre need to woo Canadians this summer'
Why Trudeau and Poilievre need to woo Canadians this summer

Asked to clarify, Poilievre said “All of Canada is first-world. And we want to keep it that way.”

The Conservative leader also attacked a regional MP, saying Richard Cannings (NDP, South Okanagan-West Kootenay), was in the pocket of the federal Liberals.

“The NDP and the local MP have sold out Penticton, Trail and the many local communities in this riding. The NDP member here doesn’t work for South Okanagan-Kootenay; he works for Justin Trudeau,” said Poilievre.

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“He signed a deal with Justin Trudeau to go into a costly coalition.”

Click to play video: 'Pierre Poilievre compares Kelowna to third-world country'
Pierre Poilievre compares Kelowna to third-world country

Contacted by Global News, Cannings refuted Poilievre’s comments.

“Well, of course, it’s completely bogus,” said Cannings. “The NDP is using its power in this minority Parliament to actually get things done for Canadians to make life better for Canadians who are struggling.

“We’re bringing in dental care for the first time. The Liberals and Conservatives both voted against that. Pierre Poilievre had government-funded dental care all his adult life and yet he’s voting against it for kids, for people with disabilities, for seniors.

“We’re certainly not in the pocket of Mr. Trudeau.”

Click to play video: 'Poilievre says he’d remove ‘red tape’ on housing permits if elected prime minister'
Poilievre says he’d remove ‘red tape’ on housing permits if elected prime minister

Cannings also noted that the conservative-esque B.C. Liberals brought in a provincial carbon tax 15 years ago. Eliminating the federal carbon tax, he said, would have no effect on British Columbians.

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“It’s frustrating for us, having to react to these unfair and untrue accusations,” he said.

“For the last eight years, the Conservatives are getting frustrated because they’ve managed to do nothing.”

Asked if the NDP would work with the Conservatives if they were elected to run the nation, Cannings said it’s possible.

“We’ll work with anybody,” he said, “who will help us bring forward good policies to help Canadians.”

Click to play video: 'MP Richard Cannings takes issue with Pierre Poilievre comments'
MP Richard Cannings takes issue with Pierre Poilievre comments

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