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Poilievre flags cost and health care as key concerns in northwest B.C.

Conservative candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Ellis Ross and federal opposition leader Pierre Poilievre spoke to the media and the workers of Daybreak Farms in Terrace on the morning of May 17, 2024. (Prabhnoor Kaur/ Black Press Media)

Cost of living and healthcare are two of most concerning issues for northwest British Columbians, according to federal opposition leader Pierre Poilievre following a door-knocking campaign in Northwest B.C.

“Cost, cost, cost,” Poilievre said, speaking to Black Press during his visit to Terrace on May 17.

“People can’t afford the rent, the food — they can’t afford their lives,” he said. To alleviate the pressures, Poilievre has proposed abolishing the carbon tax, which he believes will lower the cost of gasoline, heating and groceries. “We want to axe the carbon tax to bring down gas, heat and grocery bills,” he said.

Addressing the housing crisis, he outlined plans to speed up the municipal permit processes, free up land and reduce taxes and charges for builders. “We’re going to require 15 per cent more home building as a condition of getting federal funds,” Poilievre said.

He also called for fiscal responsibility to combat inflation and reduce financial burdens on Canadians. “We’re going to fix the budget by capping spending and cutting waste to bring down inflation, interest rates, and income tax,” he said.

Ellis Ross, the current BC United MLA for Skeena and who is leaving provincial politics to become the federal Conservative candidate in the next federal election for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley riding, accompanied Poilievre on his Northwest visit, adding that healthcare was another significant issue brought up by residents.

People are concerned about the shortage of doctors and nurses leading to closures of ERs in Prince Rupert and Kitimat, he said.

Poilievre proposed a “common sense plan” to allow foreign-trained healthcare professionals to take a “blue seal exam” to quickly validate their qualifications and start working in Canada.

Poilievre acknowledged both government regulations and professional bodies act as barriers. He compared his proposal to the successful “red seal” program for trades which allows for standardized certification across provinces.

“Why can’t we do the same thing with the [medical] professions? A hip replacement in Ontario is the same physiological procedure as one in British Columbia,” Poilievre said.

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Prabhnoor Kaur

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