Poilievre visits convoy camp, claims Trudeau is lying about 'everything'

Leader of the Conservative Party Pierre Poilievre rises during question period on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press - image credit)
Leader of the Conservative Party Pierre Poilievre rises during question period on Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press - image credit)

The Conservative leader is facing questions after stopping to cheer on an anti-carbon tax convoy camp near the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where he bluntly accused the prime minister of lying about "everything."

In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Pierre Poilievre of welcoming "the support of conspiracy theorists and extremists."

In videos posted to social media, Poilievre is seen thanking and encouraging protesters who have camped out in a self-described convoy-style "hold the line protest" since the carbon tax increase on April 1.

"Everyone hates the tax because everyone's been screwed over," Poilievre is heard saying in the video, which shows protesters with "Axe the tax" and "F--k Trudeau " signs and flags.

"People believed his lies. Everything he said was bullshit, from top to bottom."

Poilievre, who has been beating Trudeau's Liberals in the polls since last summer, then claimed the prime minister's policies haven't helped the middle class, as promised.

WATCH | Poilievre visits anti-carbon tax protest site on provincial border

In another video from his visit, Poilievre is seen leaving a RV with a drawing of the black and white Diagolon flag on the door.

According to RCMP documents tabled at the Emergencies Act inquiry last year, the national police force believes Diagolon is a militia-like network whose supporters subscribe to an "accelerationist" ideology — the idea that a civil war or the collapse of western governments is inevitable and ought to be sped up.

The group's founder disputes that characterization and argues it's a fictitious meme.

Poilievre's visit with the protesters has caused a stir among his political opponents.

Tommy Everett/Facebook
Tommy Everett/Facebook

"Every politician has to make choices about what kind of leader they want to be," Trudeau said when asked about  Poilievre's comments during a media availability Wednesday.

"Are they the kind of leader that is going to exacerbate divisions, fears and polarization in our country, make personal attacks and welcome the support of conspiracy theorists and extremists? Because that's exactly what Pierre Poilievre continues to do, not just when you see him engaging with members of Diagolon but also when he refuses to condemn and reject the endorsement of Alex Jones."

Jones, a notorious broadcaster who has been ordered to pay more than a billion dollars in damages to the families of the Sandy Hook victims after claiming the school shooting was a hoax, reiterated his support of Poilievre.  In 2012, an armed man killed 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, most of them children between the ages of six and seven.

WATCH | Trudeau says Poilievre is welcoming 'support of conspiracy theorists and extremists'

"This is the kind of man who's saying Pierre Poilievre has the right ideas to bring the country towards the right," said Trudeau  during a stop in the Toronto area, where he was touting his recent budget. Recent polling suggests last week's budget release hasn't done much to sway voters.

"So the fact that Pierre Poilievre hasn't stood up to condemn that endorsement, the fact that he continues to encourage the kind of divisive approaches to Canada that I don't think Canadians want to see, really shows that he will do anything to win."

Poilievre's team says they don't follow Alex Jones 

In a statement issued to CBC News, Poilievre's spokesperson Sebastian Skamski said "we do not follow" Jones "or listen to what he has to say."

"Unlike Justin Trudeau, we're not paying attention to what some American is saying," said the statement.

Skamski did not respond to CBC's question about whether Poilievre was aware of the Diagolon symbol.

Skamski said Poilievre noticed an anti-carbon tax protest while driving between stops in Atlantic Canada.

"As a vocal opponent of Justin Trudeau's punishing carbon tax which has driven up the cost of groceries, gas, and heating, he made a brief, impromptu stop," he said.

"If Justin Trudeau is concerned about extremism, he should look at parades on Canadian streets openly celebrating Hamas' slaughter of Jews on Oct. 7."

The comment appears to cite a recent pro-Palestinian rally on Parliament Hill. Ottawa police say they're investigating allegations of hate speech after widely shared video showed a man on a megaphone praising Hamas' attack on Israeli civilians that killed more than 1,200, according to Israeli figures. More than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in Israel's military campaign since then, health officials in the territory say.

WATCH | Poilievre 'purposefully trying to divide Canadians,' Singh says

In a separate news conference, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh accused Poilievre of deliberately dividing Canadians.

"A leader shouldn't be someone that is irresponsible with language, that stokes division, that stokes hatred," he said.

"He is someone that's been endorsed by the likes of Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson. This is a divisive person who is giving life to and giving breath to folks to continue his irresponsible approach, to his divisive approach."