Canada’s Trudeau hits out at new Conservative leader Poilievre

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has criticised the new leader of the opposition Conservative Party, saying Pierre Poilievre’s rhetoric and policy positions, including on the economy, do not amount to “responsible leadership”.

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Trudeau congratulated Poilievre on his victory and said his governing Liberals would continue to work with lawmakers across party lines when Canada’s Parliament resumes next week.

“But this doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be calling out highly questionable, reckless economic ideas. What Canadians need is responsible leadership,” Trudeau said.

“Buzzwords, dog whistles and careless attacks don’t add up to a plan for Canadians. Attacking the institutions that make our society fair, safe and free is not responsible leadership.

“Fighting against vaccines that saved millions of lives, that’s not responsible leadership. Opposing the support and investments that have helped save jobs, businesses and families during the pandemic, that’s not responsible leadership.”

Poilievre, a right-wing populist and career politician who has been a parliament member since the mid-2000s, was elected as the new head of the Conservative Party of Canada on Saturday.

The Ottawa-area MP has opposed coronavirus vaccine mandates, backed anti-vaccine convoy protesters who occupied the Canadian capital earlier this year, and questioned the independence of the Bank of Canada.

Poilievre has also cast himself as a defender of working-class Canadians, slamming Trudeau for soaring inflation – which he has dubbed “JustinFlation” – and government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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