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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is flanked by Minister of Housing Sean Fraser, right, and Treasury Board President Anita Anand, left, during a press conference in Oakville, Ont., on April 24.Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Pierre Poilievre over his judgment, a day after the Conservative Leader visited a protest against carbon pricing that featured a “Make Canada Great Again” slogan and a symbol that appeared to be tied to a far-right, anti-government group.

Mr. Trudeau accused Mr. Poilievre of exacerbating divisions and welcoming the “support of conspiracy theorists and extremists.”

“Every politician has to make choices about what kind of leader they want to be,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference Wednesday in Oakville, Ont.

“He will do anything to win, anything to torque up negativity and fear and it only emphasizes that he has nothing to say to actually solve the problems that he’s busy amplifying.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Poilievre stopped at a protest against carbon pricing near the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border while on his way from PEI to Nova Scotia. Video of the protest shows an expletive-laden flag directed at Mr. Trudeau that was a symbol of the anti-vaccine-mandate protests that gripped Ottawa two years ago, as well as an anti-carbon-tax sign and a van with the slogan “Make Canada Great Again” written on it.

“We saw you so I told the team to pull over and say ‘hello,’” Mr. Poilievre said to the protesters in one of the videos posted online. He thanked them for “all you’re doing.”

“We’re going to axe the tax and its going to be in part because you guys fought back,” Mr. Poilievre said in the videos. “Everyone hates the tax because everyone’s been screwed over. People believed his lies. Everything he said was bullshit, from top to bottom.”

When asked to take a picture in front of the flag with the expletive, Mr. Poilievre responded: “Let’s do it in front of something else.”

One of the vans at the protests has what appeared to be a symbol of the anti-government, far-right group called Diagolon. Mr. Trudeau tried on Wednesday to tie that to Mr. Poilievre. The Conservative Leader has previously disavowed the group.

In a statement Wednesday through his lawyer, the group’s leader, Jeremy MacKenzie, said he was Mr. Poilievre’s biggest detractor in Canada. He also criticized Mr. Trudeau, saying “both of these weak men are completely out of touch with reality and incapable of telling the truth.”

Mr. Poilievre’s office defended the Conservative Leader’s visit to the protest in a statement on Wednesday.

“As a vocal opponent of Justin Trudeau’s punishing carbon tax which has driven up the cost of groceries, gas and heating, he made a brief, impromptu stop,” spokesperson Sebastian Skamski said.

“If Justin Trudeau is concerned about extremism, he should look at parades on Canadian streets openly celebrating Hamas’ slaughter of Jews on October 7th.”

During his press conference, Mr. Trudeau also pointed out that Mr. Poilievre has done nothing to reject the endorsement of right-wing commentator Alex Jones earlier this month. Mr. Jones, on X, called Mr. Poilievre “the real deal” and said “Canada desperately needs a lot more leaders like him and so does the rest of the world.”

Mr. Jones was ordered to pay nearly $1-billion in damages to the families of the victims of the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, which he portrayed as a hoax.

“This is the kind of man who’s saying Pierre Poilievre has the right ideas to bring the country toward the right, towards conspiracy theories, towards extremism, towards polarization,” Mr. Trudeau said.

In response to the Prime Minister’s remarks, Mr. Skamski said “we do not follow” Mr. Jones “or listen to what he has to say.”

“Common-sense Conservatives are listening to the priorities of the millions of Canadians that want to axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget and stop the crime,” he added.

“It is the endorsement of hard-working, everyday Canadians that Conservatives are working to earn. Unlike Justin Trudeau, we’re not paying attention to what some American is saying.”

With a report from The Canadian Press.

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