Shuswap residents had an opportunity to meet federal Conservative Party and Opposition leader Andrew Scheer Wednesday during a lunch stop at Marine Park in Salmon Arm.
An area of the park was cordoned off by a ribbon of Conservative blue, as approximately 100 party faithful, local politicians and others gathered within for a bite to eat before settling down on lawn chairs and blankets to hear Scheer speak.
The Saskatchewan MP,who was elected as party leader in May of this year, is currently crossing the nation with his family in tow, working to boost his profile and the Conservative brand, while discrediting the spending, taxation and immigration policies of Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.
Scheer began his Salmon Arm speech, however, with a little NDP-bashing.
“We know that you’ve got some turbulent times ahead in B.C,” said Scheer. “Coming from Saskatchewan, we know what it’s like when the NDP provincially, so you have our best wishes and our deepest sympathies right now.”
Scheer then drilled into Liberal polices, how they are an attack on the middle class and will plunge the nation into “$10-, $20-, $30-billion dollar deficits.”
“And one of the things that motivates me so much… was a driving thought that I had when I looked at my five kids, I decided early on that I couldn’t let Justin Trudeau do the same thing to them that his father did to my generation,” said the 38-year-old Scheer, adding Trudeau’s spending on political ideology now will leave future generations with the bill.
“You know, I grew up in a middle class family,” Scheer continued, stating his mom was a nurse while his father worked for a newspaper. “We didn’t have everything. But with some sacrifices and some responsible choices, my parents were able to give me and my sisters a great quality of life… The lesson there… whether our families have been here for many generations or whether we’ve arrived in Canada more recently, the value that unites us all is that we work hard today so that future generations have a better quality of life.”
The Conservative leader then shifted into taxes, and how his party is fighting Liberal tax measures that will hinder the ability of small businesses to create jobs for young people and “taxes on corporations (that) are making it harder for people to open up shop.”
“We don’t support lower taxes just because we want to get a positive editorial from the Financial Post,” said Scheer. “We lower taxes so that families have more at the end of the month to spend on their priorities.”
Scheer then shifted his focus to immigration. He said the Conservatives “don’t want a strong and stable immigration and refugee policy based on the rule of law,” but a system that “allows those who play by the rules, who wait their turn, who follow the process properly to come to this country.”
This prompted applause and shouts of “yeah” from the predominantly white, silver-haired crowd.
Scheer went on to say Canada’s immigration system is one of the most compassionate in the world, but what the Liberals are allowing is not compassionate.
“Because as people come across the border illegally, they’re coming from safe and secure places like Minnesota, North Dakota, upstate New York,” said Scheer. “There are people who have to wait now even longer in refugee camps around the world. There is nothing compassionate making someone in Africa or the Middle East, who would be killed if they left those camps, wait longer while people cross illegally. There’s nothing compassionate about that and Conservatives, will fight to make sure our refugee policy takes that into account.”
After his speech, Scheer stepped down from the podium to meet with attendees, shaking hands and taking pictures with them, before continuing on his tour of the province.