Rob Shaw: Poilievre launches attack ad on worsening B.C. homelessness

Rob Shaw: Poilievre launches attack ad on worsening B.C. homelessness

The worsening homeless and tent encampment situation in British Columbia has caught the attention of federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, who has launched a new attack that blames the policies of the federal Liberal and provincial New Democrat governments for worsening the situation.

The new ad shows photos of locations in B.C. cities, like Vancouver, Abbotsford and Kelowna, highlighting the difference between the relatively clear sites nine years ago and the proliferation of tents and homelessness in the same spots today.

“It’s everywhere and it’s getting worse every day,” Poilievre told CHEK News.

“And B.C. has a double problem in that not only do British Columbians have to live under the economic vandalism of Justin Trudeau, but then it’s compounded by the tax and spend NDP government which is making it even worse.

“So that’s why British Columbia probably has the worst homeless problem anywhere in Canada.”

Poilievre said his repeated visits to Vancouver Island over the last several months have highlighted the issue for him as well in cities like Nanaimo and Campbell River. In Victoria, tents on Pandora Avenue have returned in even greater numbers after a sweep last month of the area.

“It’s a real nightmare,” he said. “And it doesn’t have to be this way. These are the obvious consequences of deliberate, radical, wacko policies of Trudeau and the NDP to drive up the cost of living, and double housing costs while giving out free drugs. We need to reverse all that.”

Watch the full story below:

The new Conservative ad caused ripples in B.C.’s political scene Thursday, as parties here wrestle with the issues of homelessness, poverty, drug addiction and crime in the run-up to an October provincial election.

“I think it’s absolutely true,” said BC Conservative leader John Rustad, whose party is not affiliated with Poilievre but is nonetheless surging in the polls in British Columbia.

“When you look at the situation in every community around the province, it’s no longer just about the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, it’s all over the place. You’re seeing tents, you’re seeing continual open drug use, it’s been a complete disaster. These policies of decriminalization and safe supply, they need to come to an end.”

Poilievre said he would redirect funding from government’s safe supply drug programs into drug detox and treatment, cut taxes to lower inflation and boost the supply of affordable housing.

Rustad said he would turn safe injection sites into recovery intake sites, expand treatment options, implement involuntary recovery where necessary and transform the treatment system.

BC United has promised five regional recovery communities, involuntary treatment for some, and an expansion of the Red Fish Healing Centre model to other communities where mental health and addictions are treated together.

The BC NDP has proposed expanding the existing treatment system into a seamless experience from detox through to housing, as well as conducting a review of how to handle those with the most complex addictions and mental health issues.

Premier David Eby, who promised visible improvements to homelessness and street disorder when taking office 18 months ago, on Thursday blamed B.C.’s continued rising population and housing prices as undermining his efforts.

“You are seeing these impacts right across North America,” he said.

“These are profound challenges, and challenges of our time. What I would love to hear is the proposals on how you are going to solve these things.”

Watch the full federal Conservative ad below:

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