Goodridge 'cautiously optimistic' in election as living cost fears boost Tories

Goodridge said worries and fears about being able to pay for everything from groceries and heating to mortgages and rents dominated most conversations with people in 2023.

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Conservative MP Laila Goodridge is hoping for a federal election well before the expected Oct. 2025 date. In an end-of-year interview, the Fort McMurray-Cold Lake MP said worries and fears about being able to pay for everything from groceries and heating to mortgages and rents dominated most conversations with people in 2023.

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She does not expect support for the federal Liberals, which have seen their support plunge in major polls for months, to rebound. At the same time, the Conservative Party and Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre saw their support in polls grow throughout 2023 as living costs also stayed high.

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“I am cautiously optimistic that there will be an election sooner rather than later,” said Goodridge, adding “a new prime minister” is at the top of her Christmas wishlist. “People are making tough choices between eating and heating. They are seeing their paycheques go less and less far as time goes on. They’re looking for a change.”

The last year ended strongly for Poilievre and the Conservative Party. Poilievre spent 2023 attacking the Liberals on the costs of food, heating, housing and rent at massive rallies and through a savvy social media campaign. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted in an interview with The Canadian Press that Poilievre’s messaging had been strong.

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The website 338Canada, which aggregates polls across the country, put support for the Tories at 39 per cent as of Dec. 31. The Liberals followed at 27 per cent. The NDP finished third at 19 per cent.

Trudeau has said in year-end interviews he is not resigning and he is optimistic about his chances of winning the next election. Goodridge believes the momentum that the Conservatives witnessed in 2023 will continue into 2024.

“People are fed up after eight years of Justin Trudeau and this Liberal government,” she said. “They’re looking for a change and they’re pretty clear that they want a Conservative government to take back the reins and get the budget under control.”

Goodridge promised that a Conservative government would scrap the federal carbon tax and prioritize fiscal restraint in government spending. She praised Indigenous-owned businesses operating in the oilsands, such as the Fort McKay Group of Companies and Bouchier Group, as important for economic reconciliation.

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She added this work is important for the success of the Pathways Alliance, a coalition of oilsands companies pushing for an oilsands carbon capture facility in the Cold Lake area. Kendall Dilling, president of the Pathways Alliance, said in July that Pathways needs federal investment to succeed.

Goodridge also slammed Steven Guibeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, as an “ecoactivist” who ignores communities like Fort McMurray and opposes development of the oilsands.

“He has made no qualms about the fact that he dislikes the oil industry, dislikes the energy industry and wants to see an end to the use of all fossil fuels,” said Goodridge. “It’s been incredibly difficult for this region and this industry.”

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