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Pierre Poilievre made his Question Period debut as Leader of the federal Conservatives and the Official Opposition on Tuesday, challenging the federal government on issues of affordability.

Encouraged by a standing ovation from Conservative MPs, Mr. Poilievre asked whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will cancel tax increases on workers and seniors.

However, neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were in the House so the question was answered by Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who congratulated Mr. Poilievre on his first question as Opposition Leader.

He said he expects the session of the Commons to show two competing visions – the Liberal plan to support Canadians who most need help and the vision of the Conservatives who don’t care about Canadians.

He cited the dental plan and increase in GST credit recently announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a $4.6-billion affordability program. (The Globe’s Bill Curry reported here on the new session and the program.)

Mr. Poilievre disputed the suggestion that Conservatives don’t care about Canadians, citing rising housing costs, and food prices at the same time as increasing taxes on heating and gas. He asked what the government will do to help Canadians pay their bills.

Other ministers, including Families Minister Karina Gould and Housing Minister Ahmed Hussein, backed up Mr. Boissonnault.

At one point during Mr. Poilievre’s debut, Speaker Anthony Rota asked members to calm down so individual members could be heard. “We had started so well,” he said. “I just want to continue and make sure that everybody knows that when somebody is talking we normally stay quiet, listen and then we can ask questions or answer after.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Liberal House Leader Mark Holland and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held news conferences to talk about the new session. There were no similar news conferences featuring Mr. Poilievre or a Conservative representative, nor any featuring Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet or a party representative.

Mr. Poilievre issued a statement saying the federal government lacks a plan to fix inflation.

Mr. Holland, asked during his news conference how Mr. Poilievre would affect the tone of the House said Canadians are facing difficult times, and, in a reference to the Conservative leadership race, that if the circus continues “they’ll have to see who will buy tickets.”

Mr. Singh, asked about Mr. Poilievre at a news conference, said he had concerns about the record of the new Conservative leader, during his time in the former government of Stephen Harper and after.

Specifically, Mr. Singh said Mr. Poilievre had opposed a March, 2022, motion advanced by Mr. Singh that called for an expansion of a proposed Liberal surtax of 3 per cent on banks and insurers to include profitable “big oil companies and big-box stores,” and also opposed an increase in the federal minimum wage. The NDP leader also cited Mr. Poilievre’s opposition to the Liberal affordability program announced last week.

“He’s shown very clearly that he’s not, in any way, on fundamental issues, in the same realm of what I believe needs to happen for people, for workers, for families. So I don’t see a way to work together with someone who is so fundamentally opposed to making life better for people.”

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a media availability on Parliament Hill, attended Question Period and was scheduled to attend the CUPE National Executive Board meeting.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


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