WATCH: Poilievre says Trudeau Liberals to blame for high gas prices

Poilievre says attacks on the energy sector by the Trudeau Liberals are directly responsible for higher prices at the pump.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Conservative leadership front-runner Pierre Poilievre released a video on Sunday explaining why the Trudeau Liberals are to blame for high gas prices.

"While it is true that the conflict in [Ukraine] has driven up prices, it is not true that government policies have nothing to do with the final prices that you pay at the pump," said Poilievre.

Poilievre said that taxes by federal and provincial governments have added 52 cents per litre paid directly to taxes, or a third of the full cost. This does not include recent additions from the Trudeau carbon tax.

"They do nothing for the environment, but they do make your life more expensive," said Poilievre.

The second way that Trudeau has increased gas prices at the pump has been by attacking Canada's energy sector.

"Before the so-called experts pull their hair out and get angry, let me explain why this fact is indisputably true," said Poilievre, who said that "while oil prices are set internationally and calculated in American dollars, the prices we pay here in Canada depend on the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar.

"What makes up that purchasing power? The exchange rate. The exchange rate is determined largely by our exports and imports. When foreign countries buy Canadian goods, they have to convert their dollars into ours, driving up the exchange rate of our money."

"Typically, energy prices have driven a high dollar in Canada. Over the years, when energy prices have gone up, the Canadian dollar has as well. Why? Because Canada's number-one export is energy. The result was, that consumers were protected from the higher oil price because the Canadian dollar could out-bid international buyers for petroleum products, and make it more affordable for Canadian consumers here at home. That was when our dollar was strong.

"Now, fast forward to the present. Right now, oil is about $110 American, and yet the Canadian dollar is only worth .80 cents US.

In other words, said Poilievre, the Canadian dollar is no longer rising with the price of energy.

"If it had, we'd be at roughly parity today," with the US, along with a stronger purchasing power that would put gas prices at about 20 percent lower in Canada.

Poilievre says attacks on the energy sector by the Trudeau government is directly responsible for this.

The third thing causing high prices at the pumps for Canadians is the government's printing of hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Money printing devalues our currency relative to what it would otherwise have been. It is true the American government is printing money as well, and that is why both countries have insane levels of inflation. But as my mother used to say, just because your friend is jumping off a bridge, doesn't mean that you have to.

"We don't have to follow the insane money printing policies of the US. During the Harper era, we rejected this approach, and we managed to come out of the great local recession stronger and better than the Americans and without any major spikes in inflation."

"Money printing means more dollars chasing fewer goods, which drives up prices. That's why everything is getting more expensive, including the price of gas.

For those three reasons, Poilievre says, the Liberal government is to blame for the high gas prices that Canadians are paying.

Poilievre said that the solution to these problems would be "a Poilievre government" that he says would put forward a "common-sense action plan to make your dollar go further."

This would include methods such as axing the carbon tax, something he says rival Jean Charest supports.

It would also include "unleashing the production of responsible Canadian energy" by repealing Bill C-69 and C-48 that would allow for the production of energy and the construction of "Canadian pipelines with Canadian steel to take Canadian energy to Canadian consumers, creating Canadian paycheques."

Poilievre said that, lastly, he would ensure that his government would stop the "money printing deficits to protect the purchasing power" of Canadian dollars.

"I want our dollar once again to increase in its value and its ability to buy the things that you need to live," he said, adding that the Bank of Canada must return to a simple mandate that keeps inflation low.

"Make more, cost less, with paycheques, not debt," he said.


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