Poilievre says answer to COVID-19 economic troubles is business, not government

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre says Canada’s recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19 will be led by the country’s workers and not government programs.

“I think the government’s emphasis needs to be on supporting jobs. Income assistance is a last resort. What people really want is a paycheque. The only way we can pay our bills as a country is if we have workers in their jobs producing output,” he told Kamloops media on Tuesday.

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Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod has spent the past two days with Poilievre in Kamloops, touring the Ontario MP around, meeting with business leaders and First Nations representatives.

At a press event held in St. Andrews on the Square, Poilievre had harsh words for Trudeau, criticizing the prime minister for proroguing parliament, avoiding accountability on the WE charity scandal and his handling of the country’s economic recovery.

“A lot of the jobs we lost during the lockdown do not appear to be coming back. We have the highest unemployment now in the G7,” he said.

In August, Canada’s unemployment rate hit 10.2 per cent, compared to 5.9 per cent in August 2019 and the OECD country average of 7.7 per cent.

Poilievre said the Conservative Party, under the new leadership of Erin O’Toole, wants to remove government obstacles to encourage businesses to build up again, hire more people and pay higher wages.

“We think we need to work together to bring a recovery — a worker-led recovery,” he said, noting that agenda item as O’Toole’s focus as Trudeau prepares to deliver a speech from the throne in the fall.

The Carleton MP said there is “no government program that can replace the mighty power of our 20 million workers,” and dismissed the idea of guaranteed basic income, which the Liberal caucus plans to vote on as a priority resolution at its convention in November.

Poilievre said he also believes Trudeau is trying to force a snap election.

“We don’t think Canada needs an election right now,” he said.

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