FED­ERAL ELEC­TION 2019: Prime Min­is­ter slams Tories’ ‘Se­cret plan’

Lib­eral leader at­tacks ri­vals for not re­leas­ing plat­form as de­bate looms

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - LEE BERTHIAUME

OT­TAWA — Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau took aim at the Con­ser­va­tives on Sun­day for not re­leas­ing their elec­tion plat­form as the ma­jor­ity of fed­eral party lead­ers spent the day cram­ming for Mon­day’s crit­i­cal English-lan­guage de­bate.

The de­bate is in Gatineau, Que., within sight of Par­lia­ment Hill. Trudeau and NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh were the only two lead­ers to spend the day on the hustings shak­ing hands and, in Trudeau’s case, at­tack­ing the Tories, though nei­ther strayed far.

Con­ser­va­tive Leader An­drew Scheer and Green Leader El­iz­a­beth May were ei­ther in or en route to the na­tional cap­i­tal to pre­pare for Mon­day night’s tele­vised de­bate, ar­guably the most im­por­tant event of the cam­paign so far.

Bloc Québé­cois Leader YvesFranço­is Blanchet and Peo­ple’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier are also tak­ing part, the first time all six lead­ers will square off on the same stage.

Mon­day’s de­bate is also to be the last time any of them will de­bate each other in English.

Trudeau made a quick bus trip to an area just out­side Belleville, Ont., where he planted trees to high­light his en­vi­ron­men­tal plan, in­clud­ing a prom­ise to plant two bil­lion trees.

He then went on the of­fen­sive, at­tack­ing Scheer for promis­ing to can­cel the Lib­er­als’ price on car­bon be­fore com­par­ing the Tories’ re­fusal to re­lease their plat­form to that of On­tario Pre­mier Doug Ford.

“I can talk about what’s in our plat­form be­cause we have re­leased our full plat­form,” said Trudeau, whose party and the Greens have re­leased cost es­ti­mates for most prom­ises and how they in­tend to pay for them.

“An­drew Scheer is keep­ing his full plat­form and it’s cost­ing a se­cret. You know who else did that? Doug Ford. He kept it se­cret from Cana­di­ans and then turned around and cut health care, cut ed­u­ca­tion, cut ser­vices for peo­ple who need it.”

Af­ter promis­ing a fully costed plat­form, Ford’s Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives in­stead re­leased a list of prom­ises about a week be­fore On­tar­i­ans went to the polls in June 2018. The list did not in­clude de­tails on how the PCs would pay for their vows.

Upon tak­ing of­fice, the Ford gov­ern­ment — a con­stant tar­get for Trudeau — moved to cut fund­ing for pub­lic-health ser­vices, new child-care spa­ces and autism sup­port. It also an­nounced in­creases to class sizes, among other things.

Scheer has re­fused to be pinned down on the tim­ing of the Con­ser­va­tive plat­form re­lease, say­ing only that it will be un­veiled “with plenty of time for Cana­di­ans to make de­ci­sions, to go through it.”

Tory spokesper­son Si­mon Jef­feries said Sun­day that the party plat­form will be fully costed when it’s re­leased and that some of the Lib­er­als’ sig­na­ture prom­ises don’t have dol­lar fig­ures at­tached.

The NDP re­leased their plat­form in June, sev­eral months be­fore the elec­tion was even called. How­ever, Singh has not yet re­leased a cost­ing of the plat­form or a fis­cal plan. A party spokesper­son has said that will come in the next few weeks.

The Peo­ple’s Party of Canada has sim­i­larly an­nounced some tax mea­sures, but not year-byyear fis­cal es­ti­mates.

Even as Trudeau was at­tack­ing the Tories on Sun­day, Singh was en­list­ing one of his party’s most re­spected el­der states­men, Ed Broad­bent, for a tour of an Ot­tawa farm­ers’ mar­ket.

The mar­ket is in Ot­tawa Cen­tre, which Broad­bent rep­re­sented in his short se­cond stint in pol­i­tics from 2004 to 2006. Lib­eral Cather­ine McKenna won it from Broad­bent’s NDP suc­ces­sor Paul De­war in 2015 and the New Democrats would like to take it back.

Un­der grey skies, Singh and Broad­bent, who led the fed­eral New Democrats from 1975 to 1989 and re­mains a force within the party even at age 83, shook hands with mar­ket-go­ers.

Broad­bent praised Singh for his per­for­mance dur­ing last week’s French-lan­guage de­bate. Asked what ad­vice he would give Singh ahead of Mon­day’s English-lan­guage de­bate, Broad­bent re­sponded: “To be him­self.”

FRANK GUNN THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Fed­eral Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau plants a tree with his sons Hadrien, right, and Xavier at the Frank Con­ser­va­tion Area in Plain­field, Ont., on Sun­day.

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