Pierre Poilievre drew a large crowd in the Foothills Tuesday evening.
Thousands of individuals from Calgary and area came to Spruce Meadows April 13 to hear the Carleton riding MP speak. Numbers from campaign officials estimate the total between 5,000 and 7,000.
So many people were interested, in fact, that the main event was delayed due to substantial amounts of traffic in the area. Individuals even parked their vehicles in the ditch alongside Highway 22X when the parking lots became full.
Poilievre has been travelling across the country on his campaign to become the next leader of the federal Conservatives ahead of the leadership vote on Sept. 10.
Foothills MP John Barlow was the emcee for the evening and introduced Poilievre as "the next prime minister of Canada."
In his half-hour long speech Poilievre took aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on various fronts, including COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccine mandates, the Ottawa occupation and trucker convoys, foreign oil, inflation, federal carbon tax, bitcoin and more.
"Lately, people haven't felt so free in this country, have they?" Poilievre asked the crowd during his remarks. "Whether it's the 14-year-old girl suffering depression after separating from her sporting and social activities for two long years. Whether it's the waitress who mortgaged her house to start a business only to have it locked down again and again until she couldn't afford to open it up anymore. Whether it's the hardworking trucker who delivered goods and services across the border every single day without a vaccine for two years and suddenly Justin Trudeau suggested he was going to spread a virus even though that same trucker all alone, by himself in the cab of his truck all day long. And when he stood up, spoke out and raised his voice in a peaceful and democratic protest he was called a criminal by people like Justin Trudeau and Jean Charest."
He continued to say that the pandemic was used as an excuse by the Liberal government to take control of people's lives and freedoms.
The crowd erupted when Poilievre said if elected, Conservatives under him would get rid of the "billion dollars being wasted on the CBC."
Poilievre also told the crowd he would cut red tape for farmers and law-abiding gun owners and build pipelines in all directions.
Many attendees waved "Pierre for PM" signs and Canadian flags.
Kata Milas, from Black Diamond, said she only heard about the event the day before it was happening, but she wanted to come out and hear what Poilievre had to say.
"I do really like him and respect him as a leader for the Conservatives," she said. "I think it was pretty good, he said a lot of good things, but he didn't say everything, he didn't acknowledge everything that's going on."
Milas said that the topics addressed by Poilievre were the obvious – COVID-19, inflation and carbon tax. Although she agreed with everything he had to say, Milas said she would like to hear the candidate's perspective on other, less buzz-worthy issues.
She added that she plans to purchase a federal Conservative membership to vote in the fall leadership race.
"I think, at this point, I'm willing to do anything to contribute, whether it pans out that way or not and for anybody that's fighting for a better Canada and for freedom and prosperity," said Milas. "Canadians deserve better than what we've had."
Poilievre has been considered a front-runner in the race in which Haldimand-Norfolk MP Leslyn Lewis, former Quebec Premier Charest and Brampton, Ont., Mayor Patrick Brown are also running for the top spot.
"I'm running for prime minister to make Canada the free-est nation on earth so that you can take back control of your life," he exclaimed to loud applause.
After the conclusion of his speech, hundreds of attendees lined up to get a photo with Poilievre.