The leader of the federal Conservative Party says he doesn’t like the profanity-laden flags used to attack Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he understands the reason behind them.
Pierre Poilievre told reporters on Friday he doesn’t like the flags and he doesn’t like rage. The anti-Trudeau flags became particularly well known during February’s “Freedom Convoy” protests.
“We have to ask ourselves: ‘Why are people so angry?’ And the answer is that they’re hurting,” he said at a press conference in Ottawa.
Poilievre’s comments come after a blog post by former party leader Erin O’Toole, who said he hopes to see “fewer profanity-laden Trudeau flags” in the new year.
“These flags and the hyper-aggressive rhetoric that often accompanies them are slowly normalizing rage and damaging our democracy,” wrote O’Toole in the post.
“The proliferation of these types of political displays … are a sign that we are slowly becoming desensitized to political stunts and aggressive rhetoric whether it comes from the left or right.”
When asked about the flags and O’Toole’s post, Poilievre said many Canadians feel angry because they are hurting and believe that the Trudeau government is out of touch.
“I have never seen so much hurt and so much pain and suffering in our population during my nearly two decades in politics,” he said.
“Let’s tell people to be more civil, but as political leaders, let’s actually try to solve the problems that have upset and angered and hurt people so badly.”
If elected as Canada’s next prime minister, Poilievre promised to “bring people together and give them hope that tomorrow can be better.”
“Let’s make this a place where people feel their hard work pays off, where they’re respected, where their leaders don’t talk down to them and point fingers at them,” he said.