TORONTO—Simon Murray doesn't always vote Conservative, but now he says he is looking to Tory leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre to fight for Canadians' freedoms while tackling issues that Canadians are concerned about.
Murray, a Toronto resident and a former NDP supporter, said he had previously also put faith in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when Trudeau first won the 2015 federal election. But after six years in government, Murray said the Liberals have "let everybody down."
"I don't think Trudeau's government really understands the economics of inflation. ... That's why [Poilievre's] message resonates, because it's just common sense about the economy, inflation, housing, freedom—things people understand. So it hits home with a lot of people," he told The Epoch Times on April 19, during a campaign event for Poilievre at the Roundhouse in downtown Toronto.
During the event, Poilievre, MP for Ontario's Carleton riding in Ottawa, reiterated these campaign promises while speaking to a large crowd that filled a room with a maximum capacity of 600 people. Another roughly 400 people watched a livestream in the next room.
While he touched on a variety of issues, from soaring housing prices to rising energy costs, Poilievre emphasized the value of freedom.
"Most of our ancestors, or most of us, came from places where there was no freedom, where governments dictated what we must do. It took land from the people and confiscated their wealth, limited what they could say, what they could express, and what they could think. And so they came here to take back control of their lives—not for free stuff, but for freedom," he said.
"Canada is free, and freedom is its nationality," he said, quoting former prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Murray, who once worked as an English teacher for three years in China, said Poilievre's message of freedom resonates with the people, whereas the current government is getting "more and more authoritarian and detached" from Canadians.
"What happens if you get more and more authoritarian? Authoritarian with the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], ... I can understand a bit of how that works. When we were there, we had to use a VPN to get on the real internet, and I feel like Canada's going in that way, like we won't have the real internet," Murray said.
"It's really scary," he added. "I left China in 2018, and now it's like I'm back."
He also noted that the Liberal government has failed on a number of issues when dealing with the CCP.
COVID-19 MandatesKim Kiodis, who said she has never voted Conservative, is now giving her vote to Poilievre, believing that he would uphold the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms including the freedom of choice on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination.
Kiodis said both she and her husband lost their jobs during the pandemic due to the government's mandatory vaccination mandates. Now working with the Durham District School Board, Kiodis said the COVID-19 mandates have had severe impacts on children, including her two teenage children, who have "taken a real hit on mental health."
"I'm not against protecting seniors from COVID. But I'm certainly not for keeping children from growth. [I'm] for protecting their mental health, and their mental health has taken such a huge hit," she said.
"There's been a lot of fear mongering, and it's just torn people apart," she added.
"We need change to get Canada back to being united and not divided."
Another Poilievre supporter, who only wishes to be identified as Stephen, said he lost his job in the federal government after 20 years of service due to the vaccine mandate imposed by the Liberal government.
"I'm 50 years old. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself from here on in. And I'm not going to just succumb. I'm not going to just [bow] to the nonsensical mandates as required by our government. So I'm going to do everything I can to support Pierre in this campaign," he said.
Tarquin Wrobel, an 18-year-old who will be voting for the first time, said many in his age group are drawn to Poilievre for his opposition to the COVID-19 mandates. Other than that, Wrobel said, he is also attracted by Poilievre's support for cryptocurrencies and his calls for lowering housing prices for young Canadians.