Liberals go on attack after Pierre Poilievre interview by Rex Murphy: 'He does not have a plan'

It is not the first time that Liberals launch an impromptu attack against Poilievre since he has been rising in the polls

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OTTAWA – Liberals are trying to steal some of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s shine after he was voted Newsmaker of the Year by editors across the country and blasting him for everything he did not say during a year-end discussion with the National Post’s Rex Murphy.

On Tuesday, Liberal MPs Steven MacKinnon, who is replacing Government House leader Karina Gould during her maternity leave, and Mark Gerretsen convened the media in Ottawa to criticize the lack of scrutiny regarding Poilievre’s policies if he forms government.

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“What we’ve seen in the last few days is Mr. Poilievre choosing some very comfy, fuzzy, little interview spaces where he can spew his right-wing stuff without really having any kind of aggressive questioning,” MacKinnon told reporters.

Rex Murphy sat down with Poilievre on Friday to ask him about his first year as leader of the Conservative party and why he thinks the Liberals are down in the polls. They also discussed a range of issues, such as Canada’s energy policies, crime, and parental rights in schools.

The 40-minute video of their discussion, released on Tuesday, is available here.

Poilievre also offered year-end interviews in recent days to the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley in which he discussed more in detail his position on the Israel-Hamas war and talked about immigration, inflation and free speech with True North’s Andrew Lawton.

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MacKinnon said he did not hear Poilievre offer more specifics on his housing plan, which Liberals have been arguing would build less than their recent proposals, or what he is proposing exactly to reduce emissions after he scraps the carbon tax that is in place.

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“Mr. Poilievre, if you actually listen to what he says, stands for nothing other than to try to take down the current prime minister,” added Gerretsen. “If you actually stop and listen as we did… you actually end up hearing nothing. And, you know, we find that concerning.”

It is not the first time that Liberals launch an impromptu attack against Poilievre since he has been rising in the polls. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault notably crashed the Conservative party convention last September to call Poilievre a climate denier.

During the fall session, Liberals have been more actively attempting to draw parallels between Canada’s Conservatives and Trump-style politics south of the border.

Gerretsen argued that “something’s changed” in the Conservative party in the past four months, pointing notably to the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement that Conservatives have voted several times against, despite saying it supports Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“It’s about a Conservative Party of Canada that is more based, like MAGA alt-right Republicans that we see in the United States like Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene,” he said.

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When reporters pointed out that Conservatives have been leading every public opinion poll for more than almost a year now, MacKinnon referred to a little word play from former Conservative prime minister John Diefenbaker to dismiss the validity of the polls.

“Diefenbaker said poles are for dogs, and there’s going to be an election at some point in the future. We’re going to be very happy and very confident to put our plans and our specifics in front of Canadians and let Mr. Poilievre try and get away with these tropes,” he said.

MacKinnon said Liberals were not going to “sit here and listen to Mr. Poilievre’s reductive talk” without a fight, and wanted to “to highlight the fact that Mr. Poilievre does not have solutions.”

“Once Canadians will gather around the table for the holidays, I hope they won’t be talking about Mr. Poilievre – because that would be a boring evening – but if they do, they should keep in mind that he does not have a plan,” added MacKinnon.

People hoping for a friendlier version of the House of Commons in 2024 may be disappointed, if that press conference is any indication of the year to come.

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